Burping a Lot During Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms and Remedies

Burping or belching is a natural action of the body to eliminate gas from the upper gastrointestinal system. It is normal to burp to prevent gas distention. However, excessive burping may be caused by more serious problems that need to be given attention. Certain culture also consider burping as embarrassing, so burping a lot really is quite uncomfortable because of the social stigma of burping in front of other people. The sound is due to the vibration in the esophageal sphincter created as the gas passes through it. When gas is not passed through burping, it may lead to bloating or distention. Burping is also termed as ructus or eructation.

Burping a Lot Remedies

Causes & Reasons of Burping a Lot

The main reason of excessive belching is traced to problems or changes in the gastric function. Belching or burping a lot may be caused by eating habits, food and even pregnancy. Disorders in the stomach, small intestine and gallbladder may also cause excessive burping

Burping a lot after eating

During chewing and swallowing, air enters the mouth and causes air swallowing or aerophagia. This may be involuntary because air normally goes inside the mouth because of respiration. Eating fast may intensify the burping. Burping a lot after eating is also due to the quality of food intake. Some foods normally produce more gas while it is being digested in the stomach and intestines. These foods include:
  1. Cabbage
  2. Chocolate
  3. Lettuce
Aside from the food intake, little production of digestive enzymes as a result of other conditions and food allergies may result to indigestion. This further leads to production of excessive gas and belching. Gas that comes out after eating is mainly composed of nitrogen and oxygen from food.

Burping a lot after drinking

Drinking liquids with meals dilutes the gastric acids in the stomach. In turn, the stomach compensates by producing more acids to effectively digest the food. The end result is producing more gas and burping a lot after eating.
Carbonated beverages such as beer, energy drinks, champagne and soda increase gas (carbon dioxide) in the stomach and cause an individual to burp a lot.

Moreover, drinking antacids causes a chemical reaction to neutralize the acidity of the stomach leading to carbon dioxide production. Metformin and Byetta, both are antidiabetic drugs, also results to burping a lot.

Burping a lot During Pregnancy

Hormonal changes during pregnancy cause a pregnant woman to burp a lot. Progesterone slows down the gastrointestinal motility leading to nausea, bloating and accumulation of gas. Aside from this, the growing uterus also slows down the functioning of the gastrointestinal system. Belching during pregnancy is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

Burping a lot in Babies

Infants are very prone to burping a lot because of feeding patterns. Babies who are bottle-fed are more prone to develop it because of ingestion of air from the milk bottle. Babies sometimes may not be able to release the gas and cause irritability and crying because of bloating. Burping babies after feeding is prevention.

Other Causes of Burping a Lot

Air swallowing that result to burping a lot may also be caused by:
  1. Mouth breathing
  2. Hyperventilation
  3. Gum chewing
  4. Poor fitting dentures
  5. Patients requiring mechanical ventilation or ambu bagging.
Aside from these, certain disorders in the stomach, intestine and gallbladder may lead to burping a lot as a sign. These will be discussed later in this text.

Associated Symptoms of Burping a lot

Burping a lot is characterized by burping in between short intervals. Some people have additional symptoms related to burping and may be a sign of some conditions in the digestive tract.
Associated symptoms of burping include:
  1. Dyspepsia
  2. Nausea and vomiting
  3. Heartburn
  4. Acid regurgitation
  5. Bloating
  6. Abdominal Cramps
  7. Occasionally, diarrhea

Burping a Log - Diagnosis

Although burping is a natural mechanism of the body to expel gas, burping a lot may be a sign of excessive gas formation resulting from other conditions. The following bullets outline the associated disorders causing burping a lot.

Food Intolerances

Intolerance to food such as lactose intolerance involves the absence or lack of specific enzymes to metabolize the sugar. As a result, malabsorption occurs and leaves the fructose and sorbitol in the gut. Presence of sugar increases intestinal bacteria. Consumption of the sugars by intestinal bacteria leads to hydrogen gas formation and subsequently, burping a lot.

Diagnosis includes a breath test to detect hydrogen gas emitted by the bacteria. Stool analysis also helps in determining increased acidity as a result of food intolerance. Lactose intolerance test may also be done.

Acid reflux

Gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the regurgitation of acid from the stomach towards the esophagus. The pushing of the acid causes excessive burping. An endoscopy may be done to visualize the esophageal sphincters to check the functioning. Most of GERD cases have poor sphincter tone that allows stomach acids to go up.

Yeast Infection

Candida albicans in the gastric mucosa interferes with stomach acid production and enzyme production which causes excessive fermentation of food leading to gas formation. People who are frequently constipated, under antibiotic therapy and fond of eating high sugar content foods are at risk for yeast infection. Diagnostic test include endoscopy and culture of gastric contents to determine presence of yeast. A thorough medical history is also helpful to identify risk factors.

Peptic Ulcer Disease

Increase in stomach acidity and presence of ulcers on the stomach or duodenum produces excessive gas leading to bloating and burping. Diagnostic tests include an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) to visualize the esophagus, stomach and duodenum to check any ulceration.

Hiatal Hernia

Hiatus hernia is the protrusion of a part of the Gastrointestinal tract, especially the stomach, into the thoracic cavity via the weakened diaphragm. Compression of the stomach in the chest cavity causes acid reflux and burping a lot. Risk factors for hiatal hernia includes obesity, smoking pregnancy, straining, respiratory disorders that may lead to weakening of the diaphragm, congenital deformities and certain surgical procedures. Aside from belching, hiatal hernia also causes epigastric pain, bloating, I ndigestion, and heartburn.
Hiatal hernia can be diagnosed through palpation of the hernia which causes tenderness on the left upper quadrant of the abdomen. X-ray is also done to confirm the diagnosis with upper gastrointestinal series (a patient drinks barium solution to be traced through x-ray).

H. pylori Infection

Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria that infects the gastric lining and produces ammonia leading to increase in gas production. Diagnosing H. pylori infection includes blood samples for H. pylori antibody testing and stool exam.

Gastritis

Similar to ulcers, any inflammation in the stomach produces chemical gases inside.

Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis is the paralysis of muscles in the stomach which causes delay in gastric emptying and burping with a rotten egg odor. Gastric emptying time and endoscopy is done to confirm gastroparesis.

How to Stop Burping a lot?

The chief causes why people burp a lot is because of problems in the gastrointestinal tract. Eradicating the root cause also eliminates burping a lot. Aside from this, certain treatments are prescribed and suggested such as:

Administration of Gastric Stimulant

Domperidone is a commonly used gastric stimulant to increase the gastric emptying. Faster emptying of food from the stomach to the intestine relieves burping a lot.

Remedies

Home remedies for burping a lot include:
  1. Eat small frequent meals to enhance digestion and limit burping.
  2. Apply peppermint oil to the abdomen to help expel the gas. Expelling most of the gas inside reduces burping a lot.

Prevention

Burping a lot can b prevented by the following measures:
  1. Limit foods that are gas forming such as sweets, chocolates, mint, cabbage, lettuce and root crops.
  2. Avoid fatty and spicy foods.
  3. Avoid foods not tolerated by the body such as food allergies.
  4. Avoid intake of carbonated drinks.
  5. Avoid overuse of antacids.
  6. Eat slowly to prevent air swallowing.

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