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Belching

Woman wearing yellow sweater, suffering from belching.

What is belching?

Belching is a very useful and normal physiological process – as long as it happens moderately (up to four burps after a meal). When you belch, swallowed air from the stomach is carried back out through the mouth so that the digestion can run undisturbed. Sometimes a minimal amount of stomach content also comes up, this is then called acid belching. This is not problematic if it only occurs from time to time.

In the 15th century, belching was regarded as a form of praise to the host or cook. But these times are now long gone. Today, loud belching, colloquially called burping, is considered rude in most Western cultures. This is one of the reasons why we find it very unpleasant even if it occurs without physical discomfort.

Female physician interviewing her middle aged male patient, who wears blue shirt.

When is a visit to the doctor necessary?

If belching occurs particularly often, causes you inconvenience or is accompanied by other symptoms such as heartburn, nausea and stomach pain, you should consult a doctor. The same applies if the outcoming air is accompanied by an unpleasant odour. All of this can be an indication of a disease or disorder of the gastrointestinal tract.

What diseases/disorders can cause burping?

First of all: Frequent belching does not always indicate a disease. Therefore, your doctor will ask you about further complaints, accompanying illnesses and your lifestyle habits. A thorough physical examination will also be carried out. Here are just a few examples of the many possible causes.

Female doctor interviewing her young woman patient

Reflux disease

In the case of frequent acid belching connected with heartburn, the first suspicion is usually reflux disease. This refers to the reflux of the acidic stomach contents into the oesophagus. In the long run, this can lead to changes or inflammations of the mucous membrane. Very often the disease is due to a malfunction of the oesophageal sphincter, which can be described as a "valve" between the oesophagus and the stomach. Concurrently, there are a number of other causes that your physician will investigate. Nowadays, this disease can be well controlled by various medications, but in some very rare cases an operation on the oesophageal sphincter might also be needed. In addition, patients can positively influence the symptoms to a certain extent through an appropriate diet.

Gastritis

With symptomatic gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach lining, normal everyday life can become harder. Gastritis patients can suffer from burping, but also stomach pain, nausea, feeling of fullness and other gastric symptoms.

Depending on the cause and duration, there are several different forms of gastritis. There is acute gastritis and chronic gastritis. The chronic variant is further differentiated into types A, B and C.

While acute gastritis is accompanied by clearly noticeable symptoms and is usually quite painful, the chronic form might go unnoticed. Many doctors determine inflammation of the gastric mucosa by ultrasound or a gastroscopy. Then, depending on the type, different treatment methods are available. In some cases, it is sufficient to protect the stomach with an appropriate diet. There are also drugs that block or neutralise the stomach acid. In cases of bacterial inflammation, caused by Helicobacter pylori germs, a special therapy to eradicate the bacterium with different drugs is indicated.

Woman suffering from headache

Functional dyspepsia or irritable stomach

In addition to diseases with organic causes, belching can also be associated with irritable stomach. This functional gastrointestinal disorder is not due to any organic changes in the body. In addition to belching, typical symptoms of irritable stomach include early satiety, upper abdominal pain and the feeling of fullness. In some cases the symptoms are so bad that the everyday life of affected people is severely restricted.

It is likely that there are several interacting physical, psychological and social factors behind irritable stomach. A hypersensitivity of the nervous system of the gastrointestinal area has been described in patients with irritable stomach. Furthermore, disturbances of gastric motility are described as one of the causes for the discomfort.

The aim of the treatment is first and foremost to alleviate symptoms such as abdominal cramps, stomach pain or bloating. The treatment options depend on the identified trigger. Here, in addition to medical support, a good self-observation is required: Do the complaints occur during stress, or after eating certain foods or "just like that"?

In addition to healthy living and eating habits, which may not only balance your life but your digestion as well, selected herbs can also help balance your digestive system – for example Angelica root. Its extracts have shown relaxing effects on the upper part of the stomach and tonicizing effect on slack muscles such as the ones found in the lower, transporter area of the stomach. It is only one of nine highly effective medicinal plants that can be found in the herbal preparation Iberogast®.

Aerophagy

This is a term used to describe the increased swallowing of air without food or carbonated beverage intake being involved. Here, too, there is no organic cause. Often it is a nervous disorder that can be traced back to stress, for example. In babies, aerophagy is physiologically caused and does not represent a disorder.

Close up of a woman having a meal in a garden with her children.

What if your belching isn’t caused by a gastric disorder?

That's good news! Because burping and acid belching can be alleviated to a certain degree without any medical intervention. For many people - let's be honest - it is simply caused by hasty eating and not quite as healthy food. The following tips can be worth a try:

  • Eat slowly - Those who eat more slowly also consume less air and can also enjoy their meals more consciously.
  • Eat healthy - Make sure that your food is as low in fat and sugar as possible - you can achieve a lot with this as high fat food can trigger heartburn, especially if you experience acid burping.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks - These bring additional gases into the stomach - better rely on still water and unsweetened teas
  • Avoid alcohol and nicotine Because these are general irritants of the stomach and can stimulate belching

Can nature provide support against belching?

If the belching is a symptom associated with your irritable stomach, there is a treatment option with a combination of perfectly matched medicinal plants. Iberogast® is a proven solution with 9 herbs, which can help calm sensitive stomach nerves and irritated stomach mucous membranes. Disturbed muscle movements in the gastrointestinal tract can also be normalised. In this way, the stomach regains its balance - and you can concentrate again on the things that are important to you – with the effective power of nature.

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Iberogast®

Disturbances in the gastrointestinal tract are usually not only extremely unpleasant and associated with numerous complaints, they often make a normal everyday life even harder. It’s good that there is Iberogast®: The combination of nine medicinal plants targets both the underlying causes and the annoying symptoms.

All about Iberogast®

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Get the power of nature into your home!

Buy Iberogast® prescription-free from your pharmacy.