Could persistent burping and belching pose a serious health risk?
Hello Doctor, I have a persistent burping/ belching problem for a year already. It normally comes 10 minutes after having a meal and last for indefinite periods. I have not felt any pain or discomfort. Just a little more gas than usual. Will this pose any serious health risk? Could it be or lead to any form of cancer or incurable diseases? Kindly advise, thank you!
Hi Dennis, burping and belching are rather non-specific symptoms that are typically due to gas in your stomach, which forms as a byproduct of food getting broken down in your stomach.
When doctors say a symptom is non-specific, it usually means it’s one of those pesky symptoms that usually cause absolutely no harm, but can be very hard to find an exact cause for.
It’s common to burp 3 – 4 times after eating a meal – this is usually caused by swallowing air. Changing your diet, and what you drink can sometimes cut down on gas, and reduce your burping/belching. For example, I’m sure that you may have noticed that drinking sodas like Coke make you feel more “gassy”!
Other common causes of gas and bloating include:
- Lactose intolerance. If you are lactose intolerant, drinking milk and consuming other dairy products will cause gas and bloating.
- Medicines. Both prescription and nonprescription medicines can cause bloating and gas as side effects.
- Habitual. I’ve seen patients who formed a habit of burping/belching.
Rarely, there are also some other medical conditions that could be the trigger of your burping, such as dyspepsia, an ulcer, gallbladder problem, or issue affecting one of your nerves.
You may want to see a GP or a gastroenterologist to screen you further to exclude these conditions if you are particularly worried, or if the symptoms are very bothersome.
Suffice to say in most patients with burping/bloating though, cancer is certainly one of the most unlikely causes, nor will burping excessively cause, or trigger cancer per se.