Belching or burping is a normal physical response that everyone experiences sometimes. Belching is one of the ways in which a person forces excess air and gasses from his intestinal tract. While occasional belching is not seen as anything harmful, excessive burping may be the sign of stomach problems that could require treatment. Assessing your eating style and overall health can help you determine the cause of your frequent burping.
Swallowing large quantities of air can cause more-frequent belching. People who eat quickly, drink carbonated beverages (such as soda and beer)---especially through a straw---and chew gum may all be more likely to burp on a more-than-regular basis. Smokers are also a risk group when it comes to excessive belching, according to the Mayo Clinic. All of these habits can lead to the swallowing of excess air, which can cause gas pains in addition to burping.
Indigestion and heartburn can cause excessive belching. Heartburn can stem from acid reflux, be the symptom of a peptic ulcer, or a sign that last night's spicy meal did not agree with your stomach lining. When acid moves back up the esophagus from the stomach, as in reflux or heartburn, people often swallow frequently as a way to relieve some of the discomfort and then have to burp, according to the Mayo Clinic. The constant swallowing causes more air to enter the body, which in turn can cause more belching.
A medical condition called gastroparesis can lead to excessive belching. Gastroparesis, sometimes referred to as delayed gastric emptying, is a condition in which food sits in the stomach longer than it should because the stomach's muscles are damaged. Weak stomach muscles are not able to push food to the next stage of digestion. Undigested food that remains in the stomach can cause nausea and vomiting and excessive burping as well.
Treating Excessive Belching
People who suffer from excessive belching can help curb their discomfort by treating underlying problems. Eating more slowly can help limit the amount of air that is swallowed. Drinking "still beverages" without carbonation can also reduce the amount of air and gas that is ingested. Treating heartburn with over-the-counter (OTC) antacids that reduce acid reflux may also lead to fewer episodes of belching. If OTC medications do not reduce the heartburn and burping, a physical examination with a doctor may be in order. Diagnosis of ulcers, gastroparesis and other stomach disorders can lead to appropriate treatment and less belching.