Swallowing air while swimming can lead to excessive burping and belching. While swallowing air is almost unavoidable during your swim, certain triggers can make it worse. If you notice pain with your burping or frequent episodes, talk with your doctor to ensure that it isn't a sign of something more serious.
Having an influx in the amount of air in your stomach causes the stomach lining to stretch. When this occurs, the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, relaxes, explains an article on the website Medline Plus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The LES acts like a trap door at the base of your esophagus. It lets food, liquid and air inside, but isn't supposed to let anything go back up into your esophagus. As air escapes your stomach when the LES relaxes, you feel bubbles sneak up your throat. You may or may not make a sound as the air comes out of your mouth. This burp, or belch, is a normal function of your digestive tract.
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As a swimmer, you may be more prone to episodes of burping during or after a swim. When you take a big breath as you come up for air, you may accidentally swallow some of the air, forcing it into your stomach. Having a full belly before your workout may trigger you to swallow more air. Avoid eating right before you head into the pool. Additionally, consuming certain types of foods may increase the amount of air in your stomach. Avoid carbonated beverages, fruits, vegetables and beans for a few hours before your swim. These foods increase bloating and gas in your digestive tract, according to a peer-reviewed publication on the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website.
Eat your snacks and meals slowly. You may be more prone to swallowing too much air if you scarf down your food. Limit gum chewing or sucking on hard candy. These treats often cause you to swallow more air than normal, according to an article by Mayo Clinic staff on the Mayo Clinic website. It's important to stay well-hydrated during your swimming routines, but avoid consuming beverages through a straw. Drinking water or sports drinks through a straw also ups the amount of air in your stomach, possibly leading to burping during your swim.
Frequent burps while you swim may be a sign of something more serious. Heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD for short, may increase frequency of burping. While several over-the-counter remedies may relieve symptoms, check with your doctor first. He may need to prescribe a medication to treat stomach acid problems, which may help reduce belching.
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Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.