Health & Fitness

Is Burping A Lot A Sign Of Cancer? Understanding The Reasons!

Burping is the body’s way of pushing out excess air from the upper digestive tract. It is a normal bodily function and is mostly caused ...

by Kendra Reed

Is Burping A Lot A Sign Of Cancer? Understanding The Reasons!

Burping is the body’s way of pushing out excess air from the upper digestive tract. It is a normal bodily function and is mostly caused by swallowing excess air. This air does not often reach the stomach and builds up in the esophagus.

You may accidentally swallow air if you drink or eat fast, talk while eating, drink carbonated beverages, suck on hard candies, chew gum, or smoke. When the air builds up in the upper stomach, it causes the stomach to stretch. However, excessive burping can be a result of underlying health conditions. 

Excessive burping can sometimes be caused by acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease. It may be due to inflammation in the stomach lining or due to stomach ulcers.

Also, people with anxiety, eating disorders, or obsessive-compulsive disorder might experience frequent burping. People often worry about frequent burping, fearing an underlying digestive issue. If excessive burping, passing gas, or bloating, are the only symptoms you experience, it is not much of a big problem, as they don’t represent any serious underlying condition. However, if excessive burping continues for a long time, seek medical help, as it indicates an underlying problem. 

What is burping?

Burping is a normal and natural way for the body to release excess air from the digestive tract. Burping is caused by swallowing air while eating or drinking food items. The building up of air in the upper stomach causes the stomach to stretch, which causes the esophagus or the muscle at the bottom end of the food pipe to relax.

Simply put, burping is a reflex of the stomach relaxing. It helps the air release out through the mouth. As per many studies, it is normal for a person to burp 30 times a day. Burping up to 4 times after a meal is also normal. Burping frequency varies for each person.

Since some people naturally produce more gas, it results in more burping. Even if you burp too many times even when you are not drinking or eating, it can be due to some underlying health condition. 

Burping And Cancer

Common causes of burping

Burping is caused by swallowing excess air. It may be caused by three main reasons;

  1. Dietary habits:
  • Sucking hard candies.
  • Drinking carbonated beverages.
  • Chewing gums.
  • Eating too much fried or fatty foods.
  • Consuming alcohol.
  1. Behavioral factors: 
  • Eating quickly
  • Talking while eating.
  • Smoking. 
  • Anxiety. 
  1. Medical conditions:
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease.
  • Gastritis.
  • Acid reflux. 
  • Peptic ulcers.
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
  • Constipation.
  • Indigestion. 
  • Irritable bowel syndrome. 
  • Lactose intolerance.

When burping becomes a concern

Burping even up to 30 times per day is normal, as it is the body’s way of releasing the air from the stomach. Burping up to 4 times after a meal is normal but some illnesses can cause you to burp a lot.

Burping is natural and expected, but if you experience excessive burping, accompanied by other symptoms, it indicates an underlying health issue like gastritis, acid reflux, or IBS. burping is nothing to be worried about, but excessive burping should be a concern.

Some signs of excessive burping include acid reflux, ingestion, gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcers, recent weight loss, eating quickly, pancreatic insufficiency, bloody stools, and more. Some health conditions can make you burp a lot, so it is necessary to seek medical help to treat it. 

Burping and cancer

Burping does not cause cancer or is not a symptom of cancer. However, when excessive burping is combined with other symptoms, it may be related to gastrointestinal or other forms of cancer.

Burping a lot is unhealthy and may be a sign of gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, such as stomach, esophageal, or pancreatic cancer. It can indicate an underlying digestive problem. Most of the time, burping is not a sign of cancer but burping along with other symptoms can be a sign of certain cancer. 

Medical evaluation and diagnosis

According to the Mayo Clinic, acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease can be the cause of excessive burping. It can also be a symptom of inflammation in the stomach lining an infection, or sometimes ulcers.

There are tests like Esophageal pH monitoring to measure the amount of acid in the esophagus. This is to assess for gastroesophageal reflux disease, which can be a cause of excessive burping.

Also, consult the healthcare professional if other symptoms like diarrhea, chest discomfort, loss of appetite, bloody stools, persistent or severe belly ache, weight loss, or changes in the color or frequency of stools accompany excessive burping.

If you experience these symptoms, seek medical help fast, as it could signal an underlying cause of digestive problems. 

Treatment options and preventions

As for preventing excessive burping, you can take the following measures; 

  • Eat and drink slowly, as it helps swallow less air. 
  • Avoid carbonated drinks and beers, as they release carbon dioxide gas.
  • Quit smoking. When you inhale smoke, you also swallow and inhale air.
  • Stop chewing gum and hard candy. When you chew hard candy or gum, you swallow more air than normal.
  • Treat heartburn
  • Take a short walk after a meal.
  • Check your dentures. Unfit dentures can cause you to swallow excess air when you eat and drink. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight. 

Treatment for excessive burping includes; 

  • Eat more healthy food that can help treat burping. Some of the natural remedies include turmeric, ginger, ajwain, caraway, fennel, and anise.
  • The doctors recommend taking anti-gas medications to neutralize stomach acid and prevent heartburn, which can cause excessive burping. 
  • If you are diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease, then the doctors prescribe antacids. 
  • H2 blockers are another remedy for frequent burping, as they help lower the amount of acid the stomach can make. 
  • PPIs or proton pump inhibitors also help lower the amount of acid the stomach can make. It is better at alleviating symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease than H2 blockers. PPIs can also heal the esophageal lining. 
  • The doctor only recommends surgery if the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease do not improve with lifestyle changes and medicines. 

Conclusion

Concluding everything, it can be said that burping often is not a sign of cancer, unless it comes with other symptoms. Burping is a natural and normal way of how the body releases excess air in the stomach. It can be caused by swallowing too much air while eating and drinking food items. Burping is a way of the stomach relaxing and it shouldn’t be a concern.

However, seek medical help if you experience excessive burping along with other symptoms, as it could indicate an underlying problem. There are many ways to prevent excessive burping such as eating and drinking slowly, quitting smoking, avoiding carbonated drinks, taking a short walk after every meal, maintaining a healthy weight, and more.

Also, note that excessive burping can also be a sign of acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease, inflammation in the gut lining, infection, or ulcers. So, consult a healthcare professional if you notice excessive burping along with other symptoms. Moreover, try following a healthy diet and take precautions to prevent stomach diseases and excessive burping. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When is burping a sign of cancer?

Burping is a sign of cancer when excessive burping occurs alongside other symptoms. This could indicate an underlying digestive problem or other forms of cancer. 

2. Can burping be a sign of something serious?

Burping is natural and normal. It is not a sign of something serious until other symptoms accompany it. 

3. Does pancreatic cancer make you burp a lot?

Pancreatic cancer causes problems with eating and digesting food. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer include excessive burping, bloating, loss of appetite, and lots of wind. 

4. What are the top 3 symptoms of stomach cancer?

The top 3 symptoms of stomach cancer include indigestion, pain in the upper belly, vomiting, fatigue, and more. 

5. What is stage 1 stomach cancer like?

In stage 2 stomach cancer, the cancer grows into the inner, supportive layer of the stomach. It causes abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and ingestion. 

6. What is the red flag for stomach cancer?

Swelling or fluid builds up in the abdomen. It can also cause blood in stools, feeling tired and weak, and yellowing of the skin and eyes. 

Author

  • Kendra Reed

    Dr. Kendra Reed is a dedicated general medicine physician with 7 years of clinical experience. After graduating from medical school, she completed her residency in internal medicine, developing a well-rounded skillset in diagnosing and treating a diverse range of conditions. Patients appreciate Dr. Reed's warm bedside manner and commitment to providing comprehensive, personalized care. In addition to her clinical work, she is actively involved in community outreach programs, educating the public on important health topics. Dr. Reed is known for her ability to establish trusting relationships with her patients and help them achieve their wellness goals.

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