IT'S YOUR HEALTH: Functional Gastrointestinal Disease can be worsened by stress

Dr. Robert Drake

Belching is one of the functional gastrointestinal conditions and is often worsened by psychological distress..

Belching is the expulsion of gas from the stomach. It may or may not coexist with bloating and distention. Belching occurs because of an excess of swallowed air.

Belching prevents gas accumulation and distention. Typically it occurs 25-30 times a day. It is usually not perceived and is rarely excessive or troublesome.

Gastric belching may be caused by:

* Carbonated beverages like cola

* Excessive gum chewing

* Eating too quickly

* Not thoroughly chewing food

Supragastric bloating is repetitive belching up to 20 times a minute and is an involuntary but learned behavior in response to stress, anxiety or unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms. Air is sucked into the esophagus and immediately expelled without ever reaching the stomach. Treatment of underlying anxiety as well as biofeedback may be helpful.

Weight loss, jaundice, painful swallowing fever, gastrointestinal bleeding, unusually severe symptoms, new onset symptoms in older adults or in patients with previous cancers or abdominal surgery are alarm symptoms to discuss with your doctor.

Dr. Drake is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and has practiced in Somerset since 1984.

Information for this article was from American Family Physician March 1, 2019.