It is embarrassing to experience loud burps in public. But it is even more embarrassing when an unpleasant smell accompanies these burps. Sulfur burps are just that kind of burps with an odor best described as that of rotten eggs.
The common cause of sulfur burps are foods rich in sulfur, bacteria and digestion disorders. Treatment modalities include home remedies such as honey and tea. Also, medications such as antacids work well in this condition.
At the end of this article, we will know what causes sulfur burps in detail and how to treat them.
Causes of sulfur burps
A burp is the body’s way of releasing excess gases. A sulfur burp is the release of a gas called hydrogen sulfide which has a characteristic rotten egg smell.
Therefore, they are also called egg burps. It is our system’s indication that there is excessive sulfur in the body.
Sulfur burps can be due to high intake of sulfur-containing food. When bacteria in our mouth and stomach break down the food, they produce hydrogen sulfide. Burps release this hydrogen sulfide.
Foods high in sulfur include –
- Beans and nuts
In addition to seeds and meats, beer, fish, and tofu are also considered high sources of sulfur.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
GERD is a condition in which there is reflux of the gastric contents from the stomach. This reflux includes a high quantity of stomach acid which contains sulfur. GERD causes acidity and a feeling of discomfort in the chest. (1)
H. Pylori Infections
Helicobacter Pylori is a bacterium which is present in the stomach of most people. But only a fraction of us experience any symptoms of H.Pylori infections. Sulfur burps, nausea, gastric fullness are some signs of this infection.
Just like pylori, giardia is a parasite that causes an infection through contaminated food or water. Sulfur burps are a common symptom apart from stomach cramps and bloating. (2)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
This is a condition affecting the large intestine. Gastric symptoms include burps, sulfur burps, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating and a feeling of fullness.
Gastroparesis is a stomach condition where there is obstruction of the digestive tubes or incomplete breakdown of food. This also causes the release of air containing sulfur.
Rarely, sulfur burps can be due to infection of the gallbladder, and extreme stress and anxiety. In the case of the latter, burps, in general, become more common due to improper chewing of food.
If you wearing a denture, then air can accumulate between the dentures and create similar to sulfur burps on interaction with food.
Home remedies for sulfur burps
Treatment of sulfur burps means treatment of the underlying cause. Apart from conventional medicine, many home remedies can be employed to get rid of these foul smelling burps.
The most basic way to reduce sulfur burps is to reduce the intake of sulfur-rich foods. This means you should avoid, or decrease consumption of cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, etc.
Baking soda is a common kitchen ingredient which is also a natural antacid. One teaspoon of it mixed with warm water is effective to control the release of acidic gases.
Two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in lukewarm water, when had fifteen minutes before a meal help to reduce sulfur burps. It works by neutralizing the acidity.
Turmeric is used as medicine since ancient times. It helps to reduce acidity and heartburn and the incidence of burps. Turmeric, which originates from India, is also effective against Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Fennel seeds or fennel tea is a remedy to provide a soothing effect on the digestive system. It reduces burps and the production of sulfur gases.
Green tea is an anti-oxidant that improves our systemic health. Like fennel, it also soothes the digestive tract, thereby reducing burps.
Caraway and Cumin seeds
Caraway seeds, also called Persian cumin are used with water to treat burps and are particularly effective against H.Pylori infections. Similarly, cumin extracts also have an antibiotic effect against H.Pylori besides helping in IBS. Both these seeds are traditional forms of medicines in ancient culture.
Aloe vera extract
Aloe vera gel, when mixed with water or lime water gives a juice like consistency. This can be consumed twenty minutes before a meal for it’s anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. These effects make it helpful in reducing burps.
Medications are also used, in addition to home remedies.
Antacids are the class of drugs given for gastric problems. As the name suggests, they act against the stomach acids and neutralize the acidic environment.
They help to render the bacteria ineffective and reduce production of acidic gases that cause burps. Antacids contain bismuth subsalicylate and are available as tablets or liquids.
People suffering from lactose intolerance have difficulty in digesting dairy products. Lactase enzymes can be used in these cases, where they help to reduce indigestion and in turn burps. (4)
These capsules relieve stomach discomfort and reduce belching and bloating. It works by breaking off the gas bubbles formed in our digestive tract, preventing the trapped air from causing burps.
You must take all these medicines as prescribed by your doctor, for the stipulated period and at the right frequency.
What can you do to prevent sulfur burps?
- The most effective way to avoid sulfur burps is by preventing the accumulation of sulfur in the stomach. You can achieve this by avoiding consumption of high sulfur foods.
- Form a habit of drinking plenty of water throughout the day to prevent burps. However, avoid drinking soda, alcohol or carbonated drinks.
- People who wear dentures should check for the fitting of the denture. They must avoid loose dentures which can cause air to get entrapped.
- Watch the speed at which you eat. If you eat or chew excessively fast, you may get burps.
Over to you on sulfur burps
Due to the highly unpleasant smell and gastric discomfort, sulfur burps are a frustrating condition. But with these natural home remedies and medicines, they can be controlled before they get more severe and more frequent.