Are you one of those people who experience sour burps once in a while during the day? This is a symptom of acid reflux, which is a common gastrointestinal condition among people over 40 years old. Sour burping and sour belch are often uncomfortable and embarrassing. Although most people associate these symptoms with gastroesophageal reflux disease, there are many other possible factors that can cause these.
What Causes Sour Burps?
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
The most common cause associated with sour burps is GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease, which is also sometimes called acid reflux. This is often a chronic condition that affects your life in many ways. Sour burping and belching are common symptoms, but other symptoms such as heartburn (a burning type of chest pain), indigestion, nausea and regurgitation also occur. Expulsion of gas up into the muscular tube called esophagus gives rise to acid burps that may cause burning chest pains and sour taste in your mouth.
Unhealthy Diet Habits
Bad eating habits such as overeating and eating fast are common causes of sour burps. It is even worse when your meals include caffeine, alcohol or fizzy drinks. In addition, breathing through the mouth due to congested nose and talking excessively while eating may also suffer from sour burps and sour belch.
Beverages that contain alcohol and caffeine can adversely affect normal functioning of your lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscle which tightens the lower end of the tube that connects to the stomach after you swallow. This contributes to acid reflux and causes sour belch. Sour burps are even worse if you drink carbonated beverages that also contain caffeine (like soda) or alcohol (like sparkling beers or wine).
Obesity is also associated with sour burps because it increases abdominal pressure and contributes to reflux. Other obesity-associated factors that lead to sour burps include overeating, a sedentary lifestyle and diabetes, which may delay stomach emptying and result in reflux.
Pregnancy is another factor associated with acid reflux and sour burps. An enlarging uterus increases intra-abdominal pressure while pregnancy hormones act on the LES, making acid reflux common in many pregnant women. Other pregnancy-related factors that may contribute to sour burps include shortness of breath, anemia, easy fatigue, air swallowing and overeating.
Tobacco smoking and tobacco chewing can cause sour burps in various ways, including air swallowing, weakening of the LES and increased stomach acid production due to the stimulant effect of nicotine and other chemicals found in tobacco.
Digestive disorders may weaken the LES, delay emptying of your stomach, or produce excessive stomach acids, contributing to sour burps. This is common with disorders like:
Intestinal motility disorders
How to Handle Sour Burps with Home Remedies
Angelica root is a popular remedy that improves digestion. Drink one cup daily to stimulate proper digestion. Don’t use this if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Baking soda provides quick relief for sour burps and sour belch. Just mix 1 teaspoon with a glass of cold water and drink.
Carrot juice can reduce sour burping from an acid stomach. Simply mix half a glass of juice with an equal amount of water and drink.
Fennel seeds are popular for reduce gas and bloating so it helps improve digestion. Chew a handful of seeds after meals, or make fennel seed tea with honey and drink.
Ginger has been used to treat digestive problems such as gas, acidity and stomach ache. It helps reduce stomach cramps (anti-spasmodic). Just chew a piece of fresh ginger or make ginger tea and drink for instant relief.
Maintain healthy eating habits and avoid foods that cause indigestion. These include greasy and spicy foods, which are difficult to digest. Avoid carbonated or caffeinated beverages. Avoid taking too much dairy products as well, since they may be difficult to digest.
How to Handle Sour Burps with Medications
Antacids are among the widely used over-the-counter medications in the market. They work by neutralizing stomach acids but their effects are usually short acting.
Raft barrier medications are OTC products that are often combined with antacids. They work by floating in the stomach and acting as a barrier against stomach acids. They also prevent acids from going back into the esophagus.
H2-antagonists and proton pump inhibitors are acid-suppressing drugs that block stomach acid production. These medications usually provide sustained relief for hours.
Prokinetic drugs (e.g. Metoclopramide) speed up gastric emptying. They are not commonly used but may be useful in cases of delayed emptying of the stomach.
Anti-foaming agents (e.g. Simethicone) help relieve gas buildup in the digestive system, which affects LES functioning and pushes acid in your esophagus.