Belching – Excessive Belching

Belching is the noisy expulsion, through the mouth, of gases present in the stomach.



Like flatulence, when it becomes excessive, belching is a typical manifestation of aerophagia (abnormal swallowing of air). For this reason, it especially affects people who make extensive use of carbonated drinks and chewing gum, drink through straws, smoke or tend to eat hastily and talk a lot during meals. The presence of a reduced number of teeth (hypodontia) and excessive saliva secretion (drooling) can also increase the amount of air swallowed.

Within certain limits, belching is a completely physiological phenomenon; just think that normally 70% of intestinal air comes from swallowing, 20% diffuses from the blood and only the remaining 10% is produced by the local microflora.

Disorders Associated with Aerophagia

Swallowing too much air during meals – in addition to causing characteristic episodes of violent belching – can cause abdominal cramps and widespread tension. The increase in the gastric bubble during a large meal can even cause a stabbing pain in the chest, similar to that caused by angina pectoris. Most commonly, it is accompanied by nausea, a feeling of heaviness in the stomach and hiccups.

Other Causes

See also:
Belching – Causes and Symptoms


Belching is often associated with indigestion; in these cases it is the patient himself who seeks relief by voluntarily ingesting air to encourage belching. In reality, the amount of air introduced is always higher than that emitted, which is why this practice ends up dilating the stomach walls even more, triggering a vicious circle between aerophagia and belching. Voluntary aerophagia is also used following surgical removal of the larynx (usually due to the presence of cancer), to be able to speak using gastric air instead of pulmonary air.


Excessive belching may also be connected to the presence of

gastric ulcers, gastritis, hiatal hernia and more generally gastroesophageal reflux. In these cases, however, it is associated with symptoms such as nausea, dyspepsia, heartburn (due to the rise of the acid content in the esophagus) and abdominal pain.


Some drugs used to treat diabetes, such as metformin, can cause belching, especially if taken in high doses; the pressure exerted by the fetus during pregnancy can also cause similar problems.


When excessive belching is not due to pathological causes, it may be useful to consume one's meals more calmly, limit the intake of carbonated drinks, abolish – or at least reduce – smoking and avoid excessively large meals (in particular, dissociated diet advises against consuming foods rich in simple sugars in association with sources of starches, fibers or proteins, as these could ferment in the stomach, slow down digestion and cause – among other things – also the unpleasant belching).

See also:
Medicines for the treatment of aerophagia


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