Burping!

fastfacts_B_burping

Okay okay! Let’s face it. It is nature call. Men and women both have this problem. The only difference is our society thinks it is alright for men to do it aloud where as women is a BIG NO NO!

Whether you find it disgusting or hilarious, burping (also called “belching” or “eructation”) is a natural bodily function that everyone does. Burps can be stifled and quiet or loud and booming, but they can’t be held in forever (they’ll eventually find an escape route out the other end, if you know what I mean…)

Burping releases gas that has built up in the body from swallowing air. You may not feel yourself doing it, but you swallow air all the time –especially while eating. Drinking soda, chewing gum, talking too quickly and drinking through a straw are other ways gas can get into the body.

Infants have difficulty  coordinating breathing and swallowing, so they are especially prone to burping. Babies are often “burped”, patted on the back to allow air to move to the top of the belly, after being fed to relieve the uncomfortable bloating caused by gas.

As gas builds up in the stomach it creates pressure, kind of like a balloon. Fortunately, your stomach won’t pop when it’s filled with too much air. Instead, the gas rises to the top of the stomach, travels through esophagus and comes out of the mouth. Sometimes, burps taste like something you ate or drank earlier, which is a good indication that they probably smell like whatever you ate, too!

The sound of a burp comes from the upper esophageal sphincter, a muscle above the esophagus that vibrates when gas passes through it. In our society, it is polite to burp quietly by keeping your mouth shut and following up with an “excuse me”. relaxing the back of your throat as the gas comes up can also make a burp quieter.

The type of gas in a burp depends on how the gas got into your body. If you’re burping because you just drank something carbonated, your burp is made of carbon dioxide. If you burp is caused by swallowing the air around you, it is a mix of nitrogen and oxygen.

There are a few ways to cut down on burping. Eating and speaking slowly rather than rushing allows less air into the body. Tension and anxiety can also cause you to swallow air, so relaxing a little can actually helps you burp less. Chewing your food thoroughly and avoiding soda and cigarettes lessens burping, too!

Burping can be a sign of a more serious condition, like an ulcer or gallbladder problem. Sometimes people dismiss serious symptoms (like symptoms of a heart attack) as “just gas”.

Usually, though, burping isn’t anything to worry about. Most people burp between 6-20 times per day, but burping three or four times after a meal is completely normal.

In some cases, burping is acceptable and even commendable. Certain Eastern cultures consider it a compliment when a guest burps after a meal because it’s a sign that the food was enjoyable.

Burping contests are not uncommon as forms of entertainment, even in parts of the world that consider burping rude. Many people take pride in their ability to burp on command or burp words or phrases.

Burping isn’t limited to humans. Other mammals burp too. In fact, animals that eat plants often produce burps that contain methane, which is harmful to our mother earth. Methane absorbs energy from the sun that would otherwise be released into space. As a result, the earth is warmer than it should be.

There you go! What do you think? Disgusting ? 😉

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