How to Deal with Smelly Burps
Burps / Belching is usually harmless and simply a sign that there is too much air in the stomach. But sometimes improper digestion can make our burp smell like rotten eggs due to the build-up of Hydrogen Sulphide gas. Hence these burps are also called as sulphur burps.
While the formation of gas and its release either through belching or flatulence is normal, the problem is when it starts to happen too frequently and smells bad.
Hydrogen sulphide gas is produced when bacteria in the oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract break down food. This can result in foul-smelling burps or flatulence.
Sulphur burps can be caused by many conditions including stress, reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and bacterial infections like H. pylori. Certain foods can also cause sulphur burps such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, garlic, dairy products, milk and beer.
Burping a few times is normal but burping too much and too smelly burps needs attention. Absorption and assimilation of food requires the right microbiome in our gut.
What can cause sulphur burps?
- Eating food too quickly or gulping down water too fast leads to gulping in too much air and it gets trapped in our oesophagus.
- Not chewing food well sends large chunks of food to the stomach that requires the enzymes in the gut to work harder in order to digest it. Resulting in the production of extra acid in the stomach.
- The excess gas pushed out of the system leads to the production of frequent smelly burps.
- Standing and gulping down water leads to the ingestion of excess air.
- Consuming water immediately after the food too fast also pushes the food down the system without proper digestion.
- Eating excess protein too quickly sends a signal to our stomach to produce more pepsin to break down the protein. Vegetarians and non-vegetarian’s food items rich in protein- like chickpeas, rajma, lentils, nuts and seeds and nonvegetarian food like meat and fish need to be eaten more mindfully and chewed well compared to any other food. The more we chew, the more we break down food and cover with saliva and easier it is to digest for our body.
- Consuming too many antacids can block the production of stomach acid. Low levels of healthy acids leads to an increase of bacteria in our system.
- Infection in the upper gastrointestinal tract caused by the H. pylori bacterium can also cause sulphur burps. So it may help to do an H.pylori test if you complain of constant burps that smell bad.
- A typical cause of sulphur burps is a poor functioning gut, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastro oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that may cause gas from the stomach to rise up as burps and stomach acid reflux.
Home Remedies and Lifestyle changes:
- Eat food slowly and mindfully. Make sure to chew the food well as it helps digest food better.
- Drinking enough water and in the right way to avoid the build-up of bacteria. Avoid drinking water during meals. 1-2 sips are alright.
- Green tea, peppermint tea, chamomile tea can aid in digestion and have been known to reduce sulphur burps.
- Manuka honey (medically active) may kill off potentially infectious bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), Enterobacter aerogenes, Salmonella typhimurium, Pylori and S. aureus in the gut and relieve digestive symptoms.
- Fennel (saunf), Bishops weed (ajwain), Cumin (jeera) can aid in digestion. They can be chewed or can be taken as a tea. It helps to increase intestinal enzymes that help us to digest our food better.
- A 2013 study suggested that cumin extract improved the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, including gas and bloating.
- Another study suggested that black cumin (nigella seeds) effectively works as an antibiotic to fight the common digestive infection H. pylori. It may also treat the symptoms of dyspepsia (heartburn).
- Ginger is anti-inflammatory and can help in digestion, adding a small amount of fresh ginger to meals/teas can help in digestion.
- Apple cider vinegar is another ingredient that may be used to balance the digestive system and reduce symptoms of digestive disorders. The acetic acid in the vinegar is believed to help keep the bacteria in your gut from overgrowing.
- Curcumin found in Turmeric also helps in calming the gut. A study found that people taking turmeric supplements showed statistically significant improvement in both flatulence and heartburn symptoms.
- A 2004 study found that the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome improved in two-thirds of the study participants taking turmeric extract.
- Anise helps fight gas and has proven antimicrobial properties that can help prevent digestive infections. It’s best taken as a tea or extract.
- Maintaining the right gut microbiome. Probiotics, which are foods and products that contain beneficial live bacteria that are thought to be beneficial to overall health and digestion, may be helpful if the bacteria in your digestive tract is unbalanced. Prebiotics is important too, which is the food and fuel for the probiotics.
- Yoga Asanas: Vajrasana, Pawanmuktasana, Halasana, Dhanurasana
- 2tbsp jeera
- 1tbsp coriander seed
- 1tbsp fennel seed,
- 1tsp ajwain
- an inch piece of mashed ginger
- Boil in 4 cups of water and reduce it to half.
- Sprinkle a few drops of lemon on top and a pinch of turmeric
- Sip lukewarm
- Cook food well. Soak all lentils and pulses overnight and cook them with spices that have carminative properties. (like cumin, ajwain, asafoetida, ginger)
- Consume food slowly and chew it well too let it gets digested and assimilated the best way in our body.
- Avoid standing and gulping down the water at any point of the day especially after the meals.
- Limit the intake of alcohol and carbonated beverages. Sugar can feed the bacteria in the gut that cause hydrogen sulphide gas to build up. Avoiding sugary foods may help reduce symptoms in some people.
- Avoid too starchy and preserved foods.
- Avoid food items high in fat, fried etc.
- Avoid food that causes inflammation in the body.
- Avoid food you are intolerant to.
- Check for any medical condition related to enzyme imbalance or the gut problem in the body.
- Increasing activity (such as walking) can help gas to move through your system more quickly.
- Laying down on your left side while resting or sleeping may also be helpful in passing excess gas.
- If you wear dentures, get them checked to make sure they are well fitting.
- Manage your stress as excess tension can cause you to swallow air.
Sulphur burps and burping throughout the day aren’t conditions to worry about unless they become excessive or occur with other symptoms. If sulphur burps persist even after dietary changes are made, or if burps accompany other symptoms, then it may be a sign of an underlying health condition. It itself it is not a medical condition, but mostly a sign and your body trying to tell you that your digestive system needs attention.
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