The pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment of excessive belching symptoms

Am J Gastroenterol. 2014 Aug;109(8):1196-203); (Quiz) 1204. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2014.165. Epub 2014 Jul 8.


Excessive belching is a commonly observed complaint in clinical practice that can occur not only as an isolated symptom but also as a concomitant symptom in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or functional dyspepsia. Impedance monitoring has revealed that there are two mechanisms through which belching can occur: the gastric belch and the supragastric belch. The gastric belch is the result of a vagally mediated reflex leading to relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter and venting of gastric air. The supragastric belch is a behavioral peculiarity. During this type of belch, pharyngeal air is sucked or injected into the esophagus, after which it is immediately expulsed before it has reached the stomach. Patients who belch excessively invariably exhibit an increased incidence of supragastric, not of gastric belches. Moreover, supragastric belches can elicit regurgitation episodes in patients with the rumination syndrome and sometimes appear to induce reflux episodes as well. Behavioral therapy has been proven to decrease belching complaints in patients with isolated excessive belching, but its effect is unknown in frequently belching patients with GERD, functional dyspepsia or rumination.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dyspepsia / complications
  • Dyspepsia / physiopathology
  • Eructation* / diagnosis
  • Eructation* / etiology
  • Eructation* / physiopathology
  • Eructation* / therapy
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology
  • Humans