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What does burping with acid reflux mean?

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Acid reflux and burpingTriggersWhen to contact doctorTreatmentsNatural remediesSummary
Acid reflux can occur with several different symptoms, such as burping. Burping is usually not a sign of a serious medical condition.
Medically reviewed by Youssef (Joe) Soliman, MD
Updated on

Acid reflux happens when the stomach contents and acid flow back into the esophagus. This is the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach. The acid can irritate the esophagus lining and cause heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux (GER).

It’s known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) if the condition worsens or becomes severe.

Other symptoms you may see with acid reflux include:

  • problems or pain with swallowing
  • food coming back up into your throat or mouth
  • nausea or vomiting
  • a chronic cough
  • chest pain
  • an abnormal change in your voice (hoarseness)

As many as 20 out of 100 people in Western countries have GER or similar gastric problems. And although this condition can become uncomfortable, it doesn’t usually lead to more severe conditions. Belching or burping may occur along with acid reflux.

Why does acid reflux make you burp?

An adult turned away from the camera with their hand on their chest and their eyes closed, representing acid reflux.
electravk/Getty Images

Burping or belching occurs when gas or air escapes the stomach or esophagus. It’s a natural physiological occurrence and may happen up to 30 times daily

You may experience burping even more often when you have acid reflux. 

With acid reflux, gas or pressure in your stomach causes the stomach contents to push up into your esophagus. If air or gas in your stomach pushes into your esophagus and upward, you burp or belch.

Burping triggers 

Several things, including acid reflux, can trigger burping.

Supragastric or gastric belching 

Supragastric belching occurs when you suck excess air into your esophagus. This can often happen during times of stress, anxiety, or gastrointestinal distress.

Gastric belching occurs when you suck excess air into your stomach. Several things can cause you to suck extra air into your stomach, such as:

  • smoking
  • chewing gum or sucking on candy
  • drinking with a straw
  • eating too fast or on the move
  • talking while eating or drinking
  • drinking fizzy drinks

Your diet

Some foods can increase your stomach’s acid and gas production, making you more prone to burping. The triggers vary from person to person, but some foods that frequently cause excess gas include:

  • high fat foods
  • carbonated or fizzy drinks
  • large amounts of whole grains and legumes, like beans or peas
  • dairy products, such as milk or ice cream
  • certain fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, broccoli, or collared greens
  • drinks with high fructose corn syrup, such as fruit juice, energy drinks, or sports drinks
  • candy or gum with artificial sweeteners, such as anything ending in “-ol” (sorbitol, xylitol)

Certain medical conditions

Certain medical conditions can increase your chances of developing excess gas, including:

When to contact a doctor

It’s important to talk with a healthcare professional if you have any of the following symptoms along with the reflux and burping:

  • decreased appetite
  • persistent vomiting
  • unexplained weight loss
  • chest discomfort or burning
  • problems swallowing or pain with swallowing
  • signs of blood in your esophagus or stomach, such as blood in vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds

Call 911 if you have chest pain or difficulty breathing.

Acid reflux treatments

The treatment for acid reflux depends on what’s causing the reflux. If your acid reflux is mild, a healthcare professional may recommend diet or lifestyle changes alone. However, they may recommend or prescribe medication if the reflux is more severe or causes discomfort.

Although more research is needed to determine whether over-the-counter (OTC) antacids actually help lower acid reflux, people commonly use them to neutralize stomach acid and reduce gastrointestinal upset symptoms, including burping. OTC antacids include Mylanta, Rolaids, and Tums.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) reduce acid production in the stomach. Treating uncomfortable gastroesophageal symptoms may lower the behaviors that cause excess air in the stomach. With less air in the stomach, you may see a reduction in burping. A doctor may prescribe:

H2 receptor antagonists are medications that also prevent the production of excess stomach acid. They work by blocking histamine in the stomach and can lower reflux symptoms, including excessive burping. A doctor may prescribe:

Baclofen (Gablofen), a muscle relaxer, may be an option if other treatments don’t help.

Vonoprazan is still in testing as a treatment for GERD and its associated symptoms, such as excessive burping. A review by the Digestive Diseases and Sciences journal found that vonoprazan may be even more effective than PPIs in people with severe erosive esophagitis.

A doctor may recommend surgery to lower severe reflux symptoms in advanced cases.

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Natural remedies

If you don’t want to take medication every day, or if you only have mild heartburn or reflux, natural remedies may be an option. A healthcare professional may recommend:

  • keeping a food diary and finding the foods and drinks that cause excess gas, reflux, or heartburn, which you can then avoid
  • avoiding large meals or eating smaller meals more frequently
  • adding probiotics to your diet and eating enough fiber
  • stopping smoking (if you smoke) and avoiding alcohol
  • keeping a weight that’s healthy for you
  • sleeping with your head raised so your stomach is lower than your head
  • not lying down or resting within 3 hours of a meal


Acid reflux can cause burping. Usually, acid reflux and burping are not signs of a more serious condition and do not lead to more severe medical conditions.

If acid reflux worsens or becomes severe, it is known as GERD.

A healthcare professional may recommend suggestions for mild heartburn or reflux. They’ll usually recommend speaking with a doctor if the condition continues or includes symptoms such as unexplained weight loss and signs of blood in the vomit.

It’s important to call 911 or your local emergency number if you have chest pain or difficulty breathing.

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