Contact Us | Patient Portal | Search:
Printer Friendly VersionEmail A FriendAdd ThisIncrease Text SizeDecrease Text Size

Belching

 

Definition

Belching is the act of bringing up air from the stomach. It produces a characteristic (typical) sound.

Alternative Names

Burping; Eructation; Gas - belching

Common Causes
  • Pressure caused by the unconscious swallowing of air
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Home Care

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.

Call your health care provider if

Belching is usually a minor symptom. However, call a health care provider if the belching is persistent and unexplained, 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.

Considerations

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).

Depending on the cause, belching may change in duration and intensity. Symptoms such as nausea, dyspepsia, and heartburn may be relieved by belching.

References

Ohge H, Levitt MD. Intestinal gas. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2006:chap 10.

Rao SSC, Attaluri A. Gaseousness and indigestion. In: Rakel P, Bope ET, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2009. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 3.


Review Date: 10/31/2009
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, 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 rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. 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 treatment of 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. © 1997- 2009 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
MAIMONIDES
MEDICAL CENTER


Home Page
Why Choose Us
Donations
Website Terms of Use
PATIENT
INFORMATION


Visitor & Patient Info
Patient Portal
We Speak Your Language
Patient Privacy
Contact Us
KEY
INFORMATION


Find a Physician
Medical Services
Maimonides In the News
Directions & Parking
FOR HEALTH
PROFESSIONALS


Medical Education
Career Opportunities
Nurses & Physicians
Staff Intranet Access
Maimonides Medical Center    |    4802 Tenth Avenue    |    Brooklyn, NY 11219    |    718.283.6000    |