Excessive belching and aerophagia: two different disorders

Dis Esophagus. 2010 May;23(4):347-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-2050.2009.01038.x. Epub 2010 Jan 20.


Belching is physiological venting of excessive gastric air. Excessive and bothersome belching is a common symptom, which is often seen in patients with functional dyspepsia and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Other symptoms are usually predominant. However, a small group of patients complain of isolated excessive belching, with a frequency of several belches per minute. In these patients, the eructated air does not originate from the stomach but is sucked or injected in the esophagus from the pharynx and expelled immediately afterward in oral direction. This behavior is called supragastric belching because the air does not originate from the stomach and does not reach the stomach either. Excessive belching can be treated by speech therapy or behavior therapy. The term aerophagia should be reserved for those patients where there is evidence that they swallow air too frequently and in too large quantities. These patients have excessive amounts of intestinal gas visualized on a plain abdominal radiogram and their primary symptoms are bloating and abdominal distension and they belch only to a lesser degree. Aerophagia and excessive supragastric belching are thus two distinct disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Air
  • Eructation* / etiology
  • Eructation* / physiopathology
  • Humans