Burping, or belching, is a natural process in which air in the digestive system comes out of the body. This produces a distinct sound, although sometimes the sound can be minimized. Sometimes the gas also has a distinct smell. The medical term used for burping is called Erucation.
Whenever a person swallows liquid or solid foods, air is also swallowed. Other actions which cause air to be swallowed are laughing, eating, smoking, sucking, chewing gum, etc. The unconscious swallowing of air is called aerophagia (aero = air, phagia = swallowing).
Babies swallow a lot of air while drinking milk or eating semisolid foods. This is the reason new mothers are asked to hold the baby upright on the shoulder and gently tap on the back after every meal. Once the baby lets out a burp or two, they can be put down on their beds.
Fizz, soda, beer and many other bubbly drinks are made with carbondioxide. This adds extra air to inside the stomach and is expelled out as burp. Sipping hot drinks slowly also causes swallowing of air, causing to belch.
Ulcers and open sores in the inner lining of the stomach can release gas, which comes out as burp. Drugs like ibuprofen, antibiotics and others are known to cause acidity and ulcers in stomach, leading to excessive belching along with other symptoms. Fatty and spicy foods are also reason for the same.
Feasting or fasting:
Both excessive eating and too little eating can lead to excessive acid in the stomach and release of gas. Also, when someone eats very fast, they swallow a lot of air, which eventually comes out as belch.
A protein which breaks down lactose is absent in some people and they are known to be lactose intolerant. These people are not able to fully digest the lactose in milk and some products of milk. This lactose gets fermented in the stomach instead of being broken down into simple starches and other substances. The fermentation releases gas, which is taken out as belch.
When a person is anxious or depressed, they tend to gulp in air without realizing. This results in excessive belching.
It is a condition in which the upper part of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm, tears into the muscles of the upper chest. This can cause acid from stomach to back up into your throat, resulting in sour-tasting burps. People with hiatal hernia also have swallowing difficulty. Healthy habits like right eating, maintaining healthy weight, quitting smoking and good sleep may provide relief to such people.
Bacteria in stomach:
Excessive good bacteria can lead to soreness and swelling inside the stomach. Infectious “bad” bacteria are also responsible for inflammation and soreness. Both conditions may result in excessive gas formation, bloating and burping.
There are many other medical and non-medical causes of burping. Some cultures consider burping of a guest as a sign of contentment of having the food prepared by the host and take it as a compliment. Many of the western cultures consider burping as bad manners and feel embarrassed when they burp in a gathering.