Burping is a normal part of human behavior and digestive performance. It can be a voluntary or involuntary release of air from the stomach or the esophagus. Gas is made in the stomach as the body breaks down food into energy. So, when there is excess air in the stomach, it relieves itself as a burp.
Normally, the burp that comes out will smell like the food you just ate. But on other occasions the burp may smell like rotten eggs. This condition is referred to as sulfur burps, an experience that can be unpleasant and embarrassing.
Aspects like lifestyle and dietary choices factor in when you think of burping. In a lot of cases, burping is attributed to eating certain types of foods but it can also happen because of conditions related to disease of the digestive tract.
Why Do Burps Smell Like Rotten Eggs?
The reason why burps smell so bad is because of hydrogen sulfide. Most of the hydrogen sulfide generated in the cells comes from other sulfur containing substances that the body makes. These include amino acids ad cysteine.
Cellular tissues of vital organs like the brain, heart, liver and blood vessels can covert cysteine into hydrogen sulfide. A number of foods also contain hydrogen sulfide. These include garlic, tomatoes broccoli, and onions.
When you consume these foods you may notice yourself belching the hydrogen sulfide which smells like bad eggs. The sulfur reducing microbes present in the intestines digest the proteins and emit the gas.
Plus, there are a number of gastrointestinal disorders that can contribute to making you burp that smells like rotten eggs. Many of these conditions are attributed to the presence of gut bacteria or an overabundance of bad bacteria.
Infection in the Gut
Belching sulfur could easily be caused by bacterial overgrowth. When certain bacterial populations start to increase excessively, it can cause digestive disturbances.
Infection in the gut by H pylori bacteria can make you experience sulphur burps. The same can also cause gastric issues like heart burn and bloating.
These bacteria may produce and release gas which contributes to the burping. But this is not the sole cause. In fact, the H pylori bacteria also increases stomach acidity which can aggravate the gas buildup in the gut.
This is a parasite found in contaminated water bodies. When contaminated water is used, the parasite enters the digestive tract. There it can cause the development of abdominal cramps, ulcers, vomiting and diarrhea. The infection may not only be transmitted through food but also through person to person contact.
Even though most giardia infections clear up with a few weeks, you may continue to experience intestinal discomfort after the parasite has gone. One of these can be experiencing burps that smell like rotten eggs.
This is a condition where the stomach empties at a very slow pace. As a result, food that stays in the stomach too long can lead to the growth of bacteria. Food may also harden into a solid collection causing an obstruction in the stomach. This can prevent the food from passing into the intestines.
These problems occur because of some kind of damage to the muscles and nerves of the stomach. Such damage may be caused by a number of conditions including uncontrolled diabetes, gastric surgery, medications or antidepressants.
The compromised performance of the stomach affects the pumping of food from it. This damage can bring about various symptoms such as nausea, heartburn, vomiting and abdominal bloating. The same can also induce burps that smell like rotten eggs.
In this condition, the last part of the stomach becomes abnormally narrow. The condition can be linked both to environmental and genetic factors.
The primary symptom of pyloric stenosis is projectile vomiting. Such explosive vomiting can often trigger dehydration. If dehydration remains uncorrected, it can bring about other complications including burps that smell like rotten eggs.
This condition occurs when the upper part of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm and into the chest region. Under normal conditions, the stomach lies below the diaphragm. But in those with a hiatal hernia a portion of the stomach pushes up through the muscle.
This alteration reroutes the passage of food into the stomach. It also disrupts the mechanisms needed to prevent the backflow of stomach acid into esophagus. When this happens, people may find themselves burping more than often or experience burps that smell like rotten eggs.
Food Intolerances and Malabsorption
When normal digestion and absorption of nutrients in the body does not happen, bacteria gets residue nutrients for them to feed on.
This resident bacteria produces gas as a by-product which can trigger foul smelling burps. Foods that can bring on mal digestion and malabsorption can include milk, gluten, fructose and sorbitol.
There is an associated food intolerance with each of these foods. For example, people with lactose intolerance cannot digest and absorb milk sugars properly. The result is undigested residue in the digestive tract that can create health problems.
The same goes for wheat and gluten intolerance where affected individuals cannot digest gluten. Likewise, an intolerance for fruit sugars in fructose malabsorption, and artificial sweeteners in sorbitol malabsorption can create digestive problems.
Food poisoning is a common condition where water or food contaminated with infectious agents causes inflammation of the gut. Bacteria known to cause diarrhea and belching in people resides in the intestines.
Symptoms of food poisoning usually start to become evident after a few hours of eating contaminated food. These can range from mild to severe. Mild symptoms refer to problems like abdominal discomfort while severe symptoms include having a high fever and persistent diarrhea.
In many cases, food poisoning will improve within 48 hours of its onset and requires rest and hydration. But in this duration you will likely feel symptoms like nausea, vomiting and burps that smell like rotten eggs.
When you consume foods with a high hydrogen sulfide content, you may get an upset stomach. The hydrogen sulfide can also irritate the intestinal tract bringing on digestive discomfort.
Abdominal discomfort that is experienced with an upset stomach is typically felt between the chest and the pelvis. You can feel this a cramp-like, achy pain which may be dull or sharp.
Oftentimes, burping or belching can accompany an upset stomach. This happens when the stomach expands too much after swallowing air which is then released as a burp. You can swallow air when you eat or drink too quickly or have carbonated beverages.
You may also experience an upset stomach and burping if you suffer from conditions like irritable bowel syndrome or acid reflux disease.
During pregnancy the digestive process slows down and may lead to a feeling of bloating, especially after a large meal. Plus, the expanding uterus also pushes on the stomach which can further aggravate the bloating sensation. Together, this can create discomforting symptoms including burps that smell like rotten eggs.
In fact, many pregnant women suffer from the symptoms of excessive gas. But you can try to manage your condition by moving little more. With your doctor’s consent, you may want to try and engage in some light exercise, just enough to stimulate digestion.
You can also keep an eye on what you eat and stay away from foods that trigger gas. You can also manage what you drink by avoiding carbonated beverages. And just be careful that you do not eat too much at once. Instead, opt for smaller and more frequent meals.
Unlike other conditions, where bacteria or parasites may be at hand, the problem of sulfur burps can be somewhat managed during pregnancy.
The pancreas is an important organ that produces digestive enzymes. These enzymes help breakdown food in the gastric tract. When the pancreas does not secrete sufficient amounts of digestive enzymes, the food is not broken down properly. This creates a source of residual nutrition for bowel bacteria.
Such pancreatic insufficiency may be caused by conditions like bile duct stones, or pancreatitis and may cause symptoms like excessive belching
A peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of the stomach or intestine. This condition occurs when the protective mucus lair wears thin in specific spots. As a result, damage from stomach acids occurs.
While the most common symptom of peptic ulcers is a burning pain in the abdomen, others like belching and bloating can also happen. The pain resembles heartburn and may be aggravated by eating or on an empty stomach. The belching may sometimes come off as burps that smell like rotten eggs.
If you eat heavy protein meals and sugary foods, these may cause to have sulfur burps. Since a heavy protein meal stays in the stomach longer, you may experience sulfur burps more often. Once the gasses reach a certain level, they will leave the body as burps with a rotten egg smell.
Treating Sulfur Burps
- Drink more water. Increasing water intake can help with better digestion of proteins.
- Avoid foods with a lot of sugar
- Reduce your intake of alcohol
- Opt for herbal teas instead to detox your gut
- Avoid drinking carbonated dinks
- High fiber foods can help with the digestive process
- Effervescent fruit salts can relive the discomfort associated with burping
Natural Remedies for Burps That Smell Like Rotten Eggs
A number of home remedies can help you counter your problem of sulfur burps.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar helps the digestive system regain its performance. It is also known for restoring pH balance in the body. As such, it can be used as a treatment for offensive smelling burps.
To make a drink, use 1 cup water and 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.
Mix the water and vinegar together. Drink this mixture at least 20 minutes prior to having your meal. Repeat daily before meals until the problem goes away.
You can also take the vinegar with some warn water when sulfur burps strike.
Baking Soda Remedy
Baking soda acts as a natural antacid and can provide quick relief from burps that smell like rotten eggs. To make a concoction, dissolve half a teaspoon of baking soda in one cup of water.
Drink up immediately for quick relief.
This remedy is not for people with high blood pressure. Also, it is a quick cure and should not be followed for a prolonged period of time.
Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera juice has anti-inflammatory potential as well as many other healing features. The juice can help in soothing the stomach and digestive system. Together these two properties can help you get rid of burps that smell like rotten eggs.
To prevent sulfur burps, drink the juice 20 minutes before meals.
Chewing some sugar free gum may help you control sulfur burps. The chewing action stimulates saliva production. This action can help in washing away any acid that may have collected in your gut causing the burps.
Chewing gum can also help neutralize any acids present in the stomach.
Licorice Root Tea
Brewing a cup of licorice root tea may also help you solve the problem of sulfur burps. The tea will also help calm the mucous membranes and protect your gut lining.
To make the tea, use a teaspoon of licorice root powder mixed with one cup of water. Boil and strain. Drink the tea at least 20 minutes before having your meals. Have it two times daily until the burps disappear.
Fennel is known for possessing digestive comforting properties. It is also beneficial for suppressing stomach spams and can help with sulfur burps.
Fennel can be used to make a tea and drink up. To prepare the tea take a teaspoon of fennel leaves and boil in one cup of water. Allow the mixture to steep for about 5 minutes before straining. Drink at least 3 times every day.
Alternately, you can chew on some fennel leaves when you feel the burps come on.