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Tuesday, June 20, 2017


     Eructation, or belching as it commonly called, is the act of expelling air from the stomach through the mouth. It usually occurs when the stomach expands because of too much swallowed air. Belching releases the air to reduce the distention. 
     Belching occurs when the stomach fills with swallowed air for a number of reasons. The most common are: eating or drinking too quickly, drinking carbonated drinks and anxiety.  Other causes are: talking and eating at the same time chewing gum sucking on hard candies, drinking through a straw, smoking, wearing poorly fitted dentures, hyperventilating and breathing through your nose 
     It’s possible to belch when the stomach is not full of air, usually because belching has become a habit or a means for reducing abdominal discomfort. 
     Babies and young children may swallow large amounts of air and that is why babies must be burped shortly after eating or drinking. Burping expels the excess air that was swallowed during feeding. They can't expel it because of their inability to sit up straight. 
     Some foods and drinks can also cause belching. These include carbonated drinks, alcohol, and foods high in starch, sugar, or fiber that cause gas such as beans, lentils, broccoli, onions, cabbage, cauliflower, whole wheat bread, etc. 
     A number of different medications may also lead to belching. Common pain medications are naproxen, ibuprofen and aspirin In fact, excess use of pain medications may cause gastritis, a condition that can cause belching. 
     Some medical conditions may also cause belching as a symptom such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, gastritis, peptic ulcers, lactose intolerance and Helicobacter pylori among others. 
     Normally belching does not require any treatment and belching as a single symptom is not usually cause for concern unless it’s frequent or excessive, but if belching does not relieve stomach distention, or if the abdominal pain is severe, seek medical attention immediately. 

Belching facts...fun and not so fun: 
# Most people belch between 6 and 20 times a day 
# In some cultures, a burp after a meal is considered to be a compliment to the chef. 
# If an astronaut burps in outer space, there is a good chance that some food particles will also come out...called a wet burp. 
# The longest burp ever recorded is 1 minute 13 seconds and 57 milliseconds long. The record goes to Michele Forgione in Reggiolo, Italy which he accomplished on June 16, 2009.
# The loudest burp ever recorded was 109.9 decibels by Paul Hunn in Bognor Regis, United Kingdom, on August 23, 2009. That's louder than a motorcycle or chainsaw. 
# Every year, cows in the US burp about 50 million tons of gas into the atmosphere # The burps of ten cows could heat a small house for a year. 
# The more you burp, the less flatus you expel (i.e. the less you fart). 

    Supragastric belching is a phenomenon that occurs when a person swallows too much air which results in frequent and repetitive belching. Behavioral therapy is often used to train patients to recognize when it’s happening so they can stop. 
     Your stomach muscles can actually become partially paralyzed (gastroparesis) which prevents food from being emptied properly; the result is extra belching. It can be a common problem with diabetes because diabetes can effect nerves throughout the body, including the stomach. If a person has difficulty swallowing, they feel like food is stuck and wont go down, they swallow some more and end up gulping lots of air. Once the food goes down, they have to belch because of all the air that was swallowed. 
     Smelly burps (throat farts) that smell like rotten eggs can indicate stomach problems. When the stomach doesn’t empty properly, food can sit in it and become fermented by gut bacteria, which produces sulfur compounds that result in a foul smell. Bad breath can be indicative of such things as a tumor which can cause blockage of the esophagus that results in burping. In this case though, there will normally be other signs such as unexplained weight loss, vomiting, or changes in stools. 
     People who have had surgery to their stomach, such as a procedure for reflux that wraps the stomach, they may not be able to burp. Another issue called achalasia makes it difficult for food and liquid to pass into the stomach from the esophagus and causes people to have difficulty burping. 

Belching dogs  
     Some dogs also belch, some don't. If they don't, that's bad because trapped air pushes against other organs and veins creating a problem with blood and oxygen reaching other organs. 
     High risk factors for a dogs inability to belch are: older dogs, males, pure breeds, familial link, deep-chested dogs, nervous or fearful dogs, dogs that eat one meal a day and dogs who are fast eaters and gulp their food. 
     The most important thing, if you have a dog who is a fast eater, you know, forgets to chew their food, it is best to slow them down. Here are a couple of options. If your dof bolts its food, here's a little trick to get it to slow down...throw two or three tennis balls or rubber balls in their bowl on top of the food. That way the dog has to move the balls around to get to the food, hence slowing down their eating and not allowing them access to large amounts of food at a time. Believe it or not, there are actually food bowls on the market for fast eaters. Feeding the dog smaller more frequent meals is a better idea than trying to feed one big meal once a day. Also, no strenuous exercise an hour before or after meals. 
     However, it is important to know the signs of bloat because it is indeed an emergency. You absolutely must get your dog to a vet immediately as this is a life threatening condition. The air-filled stomach is likely to twist, interrupting the blood flow into the stomach and the tissue of the stomach begins to die. Once this happens, a dog may have only a few hours to live. Signs of bloat are usually vomiting but nothing comes up, lethargy, looking drunk or off balance when trying to walk, distended or firm abdomen and the dog acts uncomfortable. Also in later stages as the symptoms advance, the tongue and gums become pale (white) or blue.

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