When we are burping infants, we engage in back-patting and words of encouragement to help release the gas in the baby’s stomach. As we get older, however, it is considered impolite or it can be embarrassing to burp in public. Once women reach perimenopause and menopause, burping may be more frequent than it was in the past.
What is burping?
Excess gas in the stomach or upper intestinal tract that is released through the mouth is known as burping or belching. In most cases, it is caused by swallowing too much air. This air typically accumulates in the esophagus and doesn’t reach the stomach. It’s considered normal to burp three to four times after eating a meal or as many as 30 times daily.
A number of situations can cause burping. Do you tend to eat on the run, while driving, at your desk at work, or walking around? None of these activities are conducive to good digestion. Eating while slouched over on the couch or in a position that applies pressure to the stomach can contribute to burping because the food cannot be properly broken down and fermentation can occur.
Drinking too much water or other liquids while eating also can lead to fermentation and excess gas. Other causes of burping include:
- Drinking carbonated or fizzy beverages
- Eating spicy foods
- Presence of stomach ulcers
- Hiatal hernia
- Acid reflux
- Lactose intolerance
- H. pylori infection
- Postnasal drip
- Excess gut bacteria
- Chewing sugar-free gum
- Using a straw
- Excess fructose
- Certain medications, such as pain medications and laxatives
What causes burping during menopause?
One of the main reasons for an increase in burping during perimenopause and menopause is the decline in estrogen and progesterone levels. These changes can reduce the amount of time it takes for food to pass through the gastrointestinal system, which in turn may result in increased gas and bloating and, subsequently, burping.
Another contributing factor may be stress. Elevated stress and anxiety are common in these times of transition, and the increase in stress may impact acid reflux, stomach ulcers, and other digestive conditions.
How can you treat burping naturally?
Burping can typically be significantly reduced naturally by adopting one or more of the following suggestions:
- Don’t drink beer and carbonated beverages. They release carbon dioxide gas.
- Walk after eating. A short, non-strenuous walk after meals aids digestion.
- Eat and drink slowly. You tend to swallow less air when you take your time.
- Don’t smoke. You inhale and swallow air when you smoke.
- Avoid gas-producing foods. Beans, cruciferous vegetables, lentils, onions, whole-grain foods, and certain fruits may cause gas and burping. Eliminate one food at a time to determine which ones may be causing gas.
- Reduce fatty foods. Fatty foods slow digestion. Focus on healthy fats for daily fat consumption.
- Practice stress management. Include stress-reducing habits into your daily routine, such as deep breathing, yoga, meditation, visualization, and enjoyable exercise.
- Avoid hard candy and gum. The increased amount of swallowing associated with eating hard candy and chewing gum can result in swallowing too much air.
- Manage heartburn. Natural remedies such as ginger, aloe vera juice, peppermint tea, and probiotics may reduce heartburn symptoms.
When to call your doctor
Burping typically is not a serious issue. However, if burping is disrupting your daily activities or you are experiencing persistent abdominal pain or diarrhea, then consult with your doctor.
Burping is generally a minor annoyance and may be more common during perimenopause and menopause. Attention to what you are eating and drinking and reducing stress are just a few of the ways to handle it naturally.