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What is Belching?

Belching is the act of expelling excess air from your stomach through the mouth. It is caused due to swallowing excess air while eating or drinking too fast, talking while eating, not chewing food properly, drinking carbonated beverages, chewing gum or sucking on hard candies, acid reflux (heartburn), stomach infection or stomach inflammation.

Belching can be reduced or prevented by avoiding smoking, carbonated beverages, chewing gums, and hard candies, by eating and drinking slowly and treating heartburn.

What is Bloating?

Bloating is a feeling of fullness or tightness in the abdominal area, often accompanied by abdominal pain.

Causes of Bloating

The most common cause of bloating is the presence of intestinal gas. Other causes include swallowing air as a nervous habit, constipation, overeating, overweight, bacterial overgrowth in the intestine, fatty foods, irritable bowel syndrome, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, and lactose intolerance (inability to digest lactose, a sugar found in dairy products). Some serious disorders that may cause bloating include ascites, celiac disease, dumping syndrome, ovarian cancer, and pancreatic insufficiency. Certain medications containing acarbose, lactulose or sorbitol may also contribute to bloating.

If the bloating is caused by excessive intestinal gas, some dietary changes can be extremely beneficial. Avoid gas-producing foods such as beans, cabbage, onions, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, fluffy wheat products such as bread, apples, peaches, pears, prunes, corn, oats, potatoes, milk, ice cream, chewing gum, carbonated drink, and soft cheese.

Medications such as activated charcoal tablets may be taken after meals to decrease odor from the gas. Antacids may be taken that will expel gas noisily from the stomach through the mouth. Food enzymes may be added to certain foods that cause you to have gas. These food enzymes help to break down the sugars found in the vegetables and grains.

Steps to Reduce Bloating

You may be advised to take the following steps to reduce bloating:

  • Avoid chewing gum or eating hard candy.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Chew food thoroughly to avoid swallowing of air.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Eat slowly.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of large meals.
  • Avoid foods known to cause bloating.
  • If you are suffering from constipation, it should be treated.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks and use of alcohol.
  • If you wear dentures, make sure your dentures fit properly.
  • American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
  • American College of Gastroenterology
  • American Gastroenterological Association
  • American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases