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Aerophagia 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 chronic belching or burping. These conditions are closely related to aerophagia but not necessarily caused by it.
Since chronic burping (or some called it excessive belching) happened to me several times I always was curious why the heck it happens. Recently I was reading through some forums and wanted to share some ideas on what could cause it with my readers:
- You're to anxious/nervous. Yeah – sounds quite usual. But it is the most common reason why it happens. If you burp all the time – try to watch after yourself for 20 minutes and make sure that you're not swallowing air. If this was the reason for burping in 3-5 minutes you should get rid of it completely. Though note that some people swallow air unconsciously even without thinking about it
– so it maybe 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 try to stop milk consumption for sometime and result may surprise you. For lactose intolerant people milk could cause lots of gas bloating and frequent belching.
- 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.
- Carbonated drinks. Very 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.
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.
Try to control the way you speak. I noticed that during speaking (especially when you're worried) you tend to unconciously swallow more air. So try to do something every time you're about to swallow air – make a pause, change your sitting position, etc. The goal is to switch your attention to something different which will prevent you from swallowing air.
For more information on aerophagia and related symptoms please visit related pages about aerophagia and excessive burping at my heartburn site.