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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Burping
July 2001

Q. My doctor told me that the burping I experience is due to swallowing the air while I am sleeping and during my meals. What can I do to reduce the number of burps (2-3 a minute beginning in the morning and many times during the day and finishing at midnight when I go to sleep). Are there any medication or supplements that I can take? It is annoying, embarrassing and my esophagus is hurting.

A. It is true that burping is an annoyance and often due to swallowing air or the consumption of gas-producing foods, but your situation sounds rather extreme. To be burping throughout the day as described may indicate some underlying problem such as reflux (also called G.E.R.D. for gastroesophageal reflux disease) or ulcers. Start with a general exam by your doctor. A physical exam and some lab work will esatablish an assessment of your general health, and the lab work can include a test for the bacteria that causes a high percentage of ulcers. If the screening exam is normal, a referral to a gastroenterologist may be needed for a further exam of your digestive system.

HELPFUL WEBSITES:

http://www.cdc.gov/ulcer/

http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/digest/pubs/heartbrn/heartbrn.htm

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