The Causes of Burping Without Eating

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Mothers burp infants after eating to release excess gas.
Mothers burp infants after eating to release excess gas. (Image: Barbara Penoyar/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Burping, also called belching, is the process of releasing air from the esophagus or stomach via the mouth. While sometimes noisy or embarrassing, it is perfectly normal. People generally associate burping with a food they have consumed, or the amount that they eat. This is not always the case, however. There are several other reasons for which belching is a reaction.

Aerophagia

Common vapors found in the air or foods that people eat are most often the cause for belching. Aerophagia, or air swallowing, is one of the main reasons why people burp, because of the excess carbon dioxide and oxygen. Burping generally occurs in conjunction with eating or drinking, but may happen otherwise such as when chewing gum or sucking on hard candy. Once air gets into the stomach or esophagus, you will feel the need to release it by belching.

Drinking and Taking Antacids

Carbonated drinks have excess amounts of carbon dioxide, which is a main cause of the need to burp. The buildup of gas can be quite uncomfortable; therefore you will feel it necessary to belch in order to release the gas. The only way to avoid this reason for burping is to avoid drinks such as soda or beer. Taking antacids can also cause a buildup of carbon dioxide, in reaction to the neutralization of stomach acid. This has the same effect as a carbonated beverage.

Acid or Gastroesophageal Reflux

Acid or gastroespohageal reflux causes stomach acid to back up into the esophagus. Usually a person swallows repeatedly in order to try and rid himself of this acid. When this happens, he usually swallows an excess amount of air as well, which causes him to feel the need to belch. Until the material is clear, burping may continue as he seeks some sort of relief.

Chronic Belching

Chronic belching, or burping repeatedly and often, is the result of one of many different factors. Some people swallow air as a nervous habit, which causes them to burp. Gastritis, or inflammation of the stomach lining; peptic ulcer disease; and gastroparesis, or delayed stomach emptying, are all other reasons why a person may have a chronic belching disorder. The care of a physician should be sought to cure each of these.

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