Belching is the act of bringing up air from the stomach. It produces a characteristic sound.
Burping; Eructation; Gas - belching
Belching is most often a normal process. The purpose of belching is to release air from the stomach. Every time you swallow, you also swallow air, along with fluid or food.
As the air builds up in the upper stomach, it causes stretching of the stomach that triggers the lower esophageal sphincter muscle to relax. This lets air escape up the esophagus and out the mouth.
Excessive or repeated belching may be caused by unconsciously swallowing air (aerophagia).
- Pressure caused by the unconscious swallowing of air
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
You can get relief by lying on your side or in a knee-to-chest position until the gas passes.
Avoid chewing gum, eating quickly, and eating gas-producing foods and beverages.
See also: Learning to manage the symptoms of GERD
Call your health care provider if
Belching is usually a minor symptom. However, call a health care provider if the belching does not go away, or if you also have other symptoms.
What to expect at your health care provider's office
Your health care provider will examine you and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:
- Is this the first time this has occurred?
- Is there a pattern to your belching? For example, does it happen when you are nervous or after you have been consuming certain foods or drinks?
- What other symptoms do you have?
Diagnostic tests will depend on the findings of the physical examination, and other signs or symptoms you have with the belching.
Mayer EA.Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Dyspepsia, and Functional Chest Pain of Presumed Esophageal Origin. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds.Cecil Medicine. 24th ed.Philadelphia,PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 139.
Reviewed by:David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorousstandards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information andservices. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorialpolicy, editorialprocess, and privacypolicy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch.)
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatmentof any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 2014 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication ordistribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.