Belching is the act of bringing up air from the stomach. It produces a characteristic sound.
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).
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
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.
Your health care provider will examine you and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:
Diagnostic tests will depend on the findings of the physical examination, and other signs or symptoms you have with the belching.
Burping; Eructation; Gas - 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.
Updated 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.
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