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Are Belching & Burping – Crimping Your Social Scene?

Friday, March 02, 2012
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Whenever Sameer belched, Savita his wife cringed with embarrassment and disgust. It was one thing when he burped so loudly in the privacy of their home soon after they finished dinner, but when it happened in company or at a restaurant and smelled foul too, it made her want to disappear under the table or leave the room.

Sameer agreed to go with Savita to the appointment she set up with a gastroenterologist as he himself hated the belching and burping. It had lately started turning his wife off and he didn't like to see the unease on her face.

Dr. Deven Shah, their gastroenterologist explained to them that belching, also known as burping, was the simple act of expelling gas through the mouth. He went on "when we eat or drink we tend to swallow some air along with the food, which then reaches the stomach. This gas sometimes causes mild to severe distension and therefore, discomfort. Belching is nature's way of relieving this discomfort."

Dr.Shah clarified that belching a couple of times after meal's is normal and not a matter of concern. But, if it continues through the day and is also accompanied by a foul smell, it should be addressed immediately.

Though this cause-and-effect equation seems simple, there may be several reasons why a person may end up with excessive air in the stomach.

  • Maldigestion - If this is the cause, then one should try and avoid the offending food.
  • Intolerance of a specific food - In most cases, lactose (the milk sugar) has been found to be the causative factor. Again, it's better to opt for foods that do not contain the component one is intolerant to.
  • Consumption of certain (gas-producing) foods which contain starches that are difficult to digest. For example, vegetables like potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, most lentils, beans etc are known to cause bloating. This, however, does not mean that one should eliminate all gas-producing foods because they provide a lot of valuable nutrients too.
  • Disorders of the digestive system - Disorders like hiatus hernia, acid reflux, pancreatic insufficiency etc also cause excessive gas production in the stomach. These can be tackled by taking appropriate medications for the causative factor. Talk to your physician about this.
  • Partial obstruction in the digestive tract - An obstruction means that the emptying of the stomach is partially hampered. If the obstruction is removed either by surgery or a bypass, the problem can be resolved.
  • Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine - This can be treated by taking antibiotics under the guidance of a qualified physician.
If you suffer from excessive belching, analyze the cause and address it today.because, it not only is offensive to others, it is unhealthy too!


So, if you belch noisily several times a day, and it is foul smelling too, or if occasionally the belching also causes bile to backup into your throat you need to do the following:
1.    Talk to your primary doctor and make an appointment with a gastroenterologist.
2.    Avoid eating foods that make you feel gassy and bloated.
3.    Don't eat fried, greasy foods
4.    Exchange fizzy drinks and sodas with fresh coconut water or plain water.
5.    Eat smaller meals, more frequently.




User Comments

12 July, 2010 | Geetanjali Kelkar | Reply

Geetanjali Kelkar Hi Neha,
Pulses and legumes contain galacto-oligosaccharides that cause flatulence or gas formation. This can be reduced by consuming steamed or cooked sprouts instead of raw. Gas formation is also reduced by addition of spices like asafoetida-hing or omum to the preparation. Eggs contain high amount of sulphur and can cause gas formation.

Geetanjali Kelkar
Nutrition Vista

12 July, 2010 | Neha | Reply

Neha I have a uncomfortable feeling in the stomach after eating sprouts or whole pulses. Does these foods too produce gas, also sometimes I feel the same after eating a whole egg?

24 October, 2009 | Kanchan Saggi, Dietitian, | Reply

Kanchan Saggi, Dietitian, Dear Mr. Lalit Data.

Thank you for your Question.
The problem that you’re facing could be due to eating large quantities of food at the same time. If it occurs just once post meal, you should probably ignore it and especially try not to have too much of water immediately post meal. Space it out and don’t take in too much at the same time.
If you see the problem still persisting and have repeated bouts of reflux, then please avoid taking those vegetables or limit its consumption. I also like to suggest you to try eating cucumber after removing the centre portion, the seeds. In case of Onions, it’s bound to produce reflux in people who are sensitive to sulphur compounds, where as, with carrots it’s pretty rare. In any case I advice you to take these vegetables (carrots and onions) in cooked form only, but please be sure to limit the quantity (esp. carrots) as you are a Diabetic as well. Also to ensure good digestion, please chew a teaspoon full of saunf (Fennel seeds) after every meal religiously. Remember to swallow the juice and the fiber after chewing and more importantly take the raw seeds but not which is sugar coated or spiced up.
I hope your doubt has been clarified satisfactorily. In case of any further issues, please feel free to contact us at

Thank you.

24 October, 2009 | Vijayalakshmi | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Hello Mr Datta I would like to clarify a couple of things

1.If you feel there is a gas build up after 15 mts after you eat raw vegetables especially carrots, cucumber, onion etc it is your individual reaction to it and not GERD*. Many people react the same way to the cabbage family or citrus family of vegetables.We suggest that you eat only a small amount raw vegetables of each, at different times, to see if you can eliminate or reduce the symptoms, or even better eat them steamed lightly, instead of raw
2.Being a vegetarian or using less of fat/oil in cooking is a good thing in that you have less chances of getting or precipitating GER or GERD.
3.As a Diabetic it is very important that you eat plenty of vegetables so kindly eat a salad but prepared with vegetables that do not cause a reaction and the rest eat them cooked as lightly as possible.
I hope we have addressed the issue to your satisfaction.Kindly revert if you have any other doubts
Thank you
NutritionVista Team

23 October, 2009 | LALIT DATTA | Reply


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