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Alternative NamesBurping; Eructation; Gas - belching
Definition Return to top
Belching is the act of bringing up air from the stomach. It produces a characteristic (typical) sound.
Considerations Return to top
Belching is most often a normal process. The purpose of belching is to release air from the stomach. Every time you swallow, air, along with fluid or food, is also swallowed. 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.
Complaints of excessive or repeated belching may be the result of unconsciously swallowed 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.
Causes Return to top
Home Care Return to top
Relief may be obtained by lying on the side or in a knee-chest position until the gas passes.
Avoid chewing gum, eating quickly, and eating gas-producing foods and beverages.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Belching is usually a minor symptom and often quite insignificant. However, call a health care provider if the belching is persistent and unexplained, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit Return to top
Your doctor will examine you and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:
Diagnostic tests will be determined by the findings of physical examination and by what additional signs or symptoms, if any, accompany the belching.Update Date: 11/13/2007 Updated by: Christian Stone, M.D., Division of Gastroenterology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.