Aerophagia (air swallowing, excessive or constant burping) is defined as a condition when a person swallows too much air. This air is usually goes to the stomach. People with Aerophagia are believed to have excessive belches due to air swallowing. You probably also heard terms like constant or excessive belching or burping. These conditions are closely related to aerophagia but not necessarily caused by it.
Since excessive burping (or some called it chronic belching) happened to me a lot of times I always was curious why the heck it happens. Recenlty I spent some time reading through forums, internet sites and books and wanted to share several ideas on its causes:
- You're too anxious or nervous. Yeah - it sounds quite usual. But this is the most common reason why it happens. If you burp all the time - try to conciously control yourself for 20 minutes and make sure that you're not swallowing air. If this was the main reason for your burping then in several minutes you should get rid of it completely. Though note that some people swallow air unconciously even without thinking about it - so it may be quite hard to stop doing it. Consider looking to these lifestyle guidelines to reduce symptoms.
- Consumption of milk and milk products. Large percentage of adults have lactose intolerance. So consider stopping milk consumption for some time and results may surprise you. For lactose intolerant people milk could cause lots of gas bloating and excessive burping.
- Carbs. Lots of carb containing products could cause belching. It doesn't mean that you have to cut on carbs. All you have to do is try to find which carb products cause symptoms you experiencing. Try to isolate them one by one by having meals where you consuming only one specific carb product and checking whether it increases your symptoms or not. Use food acidity list to determine which foods can cause heartburn and burping. Also take a look at database of user opinions about different foods. You may find something helpful for yourself there. Or you can just share your opinion to help other people.
- Eat smaller meals more frequently. Also don't rush your meals and chew thoroughly. This will minimize stress on your stomach and reduce burping and belching symptoms. Also eating small meals may help with indigestion problems.
- Try not to swallow too much air when you're eating. This usually happens when you speak too much when eating. Also some people tend to swallow very frequently when eating which causes additional air in the stomach.
- Consider cutting on carbonated drinks. It is natural cause of burping and belching. It is fine for most people to drink it but for people with chronic belching and burping it may make sense to cut on those for a while until symptoms disappear.
- Since aerophagia is a very close friend of acid reflux and heartburn it make sense to check if Wedge Pillow could help. Incliner Sleep Wedge is an innovative sleep solution. It was scientifically designed just to help acid reflux sufferers. It relieves acid reflux by elevating your head, shoulders and upper body as doctors recommend. It helps you to sleep in a natural position for controlling heartburn, respiratory problems and digestion ailments. An alternative to sleep wedge pillow is Mattress Genie™
- Slippery Elm. Over the course of living with heartburn and acid reflux I found only one herbal treatment which is very effective. It is Slippery Elm. I mostly use it in the form of the powder and make a tea out of it. Tea isn't very tasty but it covers stomach and esophagus with gel like liquid which protects them from acid. Usually one cup of tea is good enough to have zero heartburn through the night and in the morning.
- Make sure that you have enough good vitamins in your diet. This will help your body to relieve stress.
- Try simple yoga asanas or even consider going to yoga classes. Yoga brings balance to your body and mind and gives relief to lots of stress related symptoms.
Treatment of aerophagia is quite tricky and lots of different methods were attempted before. Here is a short list of them: differential reinforcement of alternative behavior, differential reinforcement of other behavior, reprimands, response cost, time-out, positive-practice overcorrection, squirts of food extract or lemon juice into the mouth, visual screening, auditory cuing, and gentle nose presses. You can search internet for them to get an idea on how they work.
I think the most effective method is self control. Just try to control your air swallowing for 10 minutes. Every time you're trying to swallow do something. In one paper it was recommended to guide your hand over your mouth to following each attempt to engage in air swallowing. Though you can invent something more effective.
Hiatal Hernia may be a cause of your condition. Read an article about Hiatal Hernia to see if it is something you might have.
Also try to control the way you speak. I noticed that during speaking (especially if it is an anxious speaking) you tend to swallow more air. So try to do something every time you're about to swallow air - make a pause, change your sitting position, etc.
Further reading on Aerophagia
Scan through our heartburn article collection. You can find some useful advices there.
More information on heartburn:
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