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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Chronic Belching

 Marina2009 - Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:17 pm


Perhaps I should use the word burping instead, however, burping to me is nothing more than a minor hiccup.

I am a 54 year old woman that has been suffering from chronic belching for the past fifteen years. What happens is that once the food reaches the lower left part of the sigmoid colon I start to feel a twitching, then the gas starts gurgling back up and I have to belch it out. If I am asleep when this happens it feels as though the pressure has stopped my heart and I gasp awake. Sometimes this will go on for days, at one point it went on for an entire month. I could not eat anything and became so weak that if I went up the stairs I had to lay down to recover my strength to go back down. At times the gas is coming up so fast I am unable to catch my breath.

Have had numerous tests done, blood work, barium swallow, CT scans and finaly endoscopies which showed that I have a mild case of acid reflux, a few polyps and minor diverticuli. I was told by the specialist that this was nothing major, however, I find it debilitating. Most days I cannot function because I have been up all night belching. If I don't eat until late at night the next day I will be belching most of the day.

Have tried everything. High fiber,low fiber, phsylium husk, peppermint caplets, even tried processing all food in the processor. My doctor prescribed Dicetel which only made things worse.

I have done an extensive search on the internet and have yet to find any info or anyone with these symptoms. It would be greatly appreciated if you could shed some light on this as I am at my wits end.

Kind Regards,
 Dr.M.Aroon kamath - Tue Oct 27, 2009 11:36 am

User avatar Hi Marina,
Let me explain to you about belching. There are essentially two types (my own classification!) - for the sake of explaining to you better...
- normal belching (comes suddenly, involuntarily)
- abnormal belching (here, a person belches, believing that there is a lot of gas in the stomach and voluntarily tries to belch it out).
When we eat, we swallow food, but swallow some air as well.How much air one swallows depends on many factors such as hurried eating without chewing the food properly (gulping the food!), talking a lot during meals etc.

Normally the upper esophageal sphincter is in closed mode to prevent atmospheric air entering the esophagus.It opens only while swallowing.

During 'normal' belching, this sphincter opens and the gas in the stomach which is at a higher pressure than atmospheric pressure comes out.No outside air enters.

Compare this to what happens during abnormal belching...
the sphincter opens, there is no air in the stomach at high pressure to escape out,, the outside air enters the esophagus and goes into the stomach!This air may be belched out 'normally'. Then the vicious cycle starts all over again!

As you say "that once the food reaches the lower left part of the sigmoid colon I start to feel a twitching, then the gas starts gurgling back up and I have to belch it out'.It is too far- fetched to imagine gas from sigmoid colon being belched out (you may be feeling so,no doubt).

Kindly try to understand these facts that i have tried to tell you to the best of my ability. I will be lucky if understanding this will hopefully help you and others like you to overcome this problem.
Good luck!
 Marina2009 - Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:20 pm

Thank you for your reply Dr.Aroon kamath.

I know it sounds far fetched even the Doctors I have seen don't understand this. I have been in the emergency room where this has been witnessed. I don't have to be eating anything at all and this will happen. You can actually hear and feel the air gurgling up from the lower left quadrant. The whole area is rather painful when this takes place.There is no taste or odour to these belches. I can guarantee you that this is not aerophagia. This seems to be the standard diagnosis for burping.

This all began fifteen years ago when I was ill and during the process of throwing up it felt as though something popped in the lower left quadrant. This is no doubt the diverticula they found in the colonoscopy. The belching does not begin until the food reaches this area and the spasms begin. It can take about twelve hours from the time I eat until the food reaches this area. This can go on for days at a time from just eating a small portion of anything. I stopped eating for a whole month and lived on clear liquids because I was so exhausted and just wanted it to stop.

I have come to the conclusion that my only solution is to have this part of my colon removed.

Thank yo for your time.

Kind Regards,
 Dr.M.Aroon kamath - Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:39 am

User avatar Hi,
My previous answer to your query was based on what we doctors usually come across.
But, at times, very rare occurrences do take place for which we are unable to offer an explanation.
Yours seems to be such an instance. Usually, it is very difficult if not impossible for most individuals to perceive where exactly in the intestine one's food has arrived.
Again, extremely rare exceptions can not be ruled out.

I can only caution you against any hasty decisions regarding removal of sigmoid colon for this complaint.
Discuss with your doctor all the options.
Good luck!

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