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burping sulfur rotten egg smell
November 12, 2008 5:57 PM   Subscribe

My husband has been burping with a sulfur/rotten egg smell attached. He also complained about being very gassy. I looked on Google and every article posted was from 2004. This is only the second time in his 42 years that he has experienced this. It usually lasts for 1 week. He takes high blood pressure meds, with high cholesterol meds. He needs a fast remedy, any ideas. Right now he is taking Peppermint Gels w/ginger and fennel oils (2xday) Thanks.
posted by kevnmo to Health & Fitness (23 answers total)
 
Could be H. pylori, which could point to something else. He could probably pay a visit to his doctor.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:04 PM on November 12, 2008


He needs medical advice, not a self-administered herbal remedy. This may well pass and not bother him in the future but it may be a symptom of something more serious, if less obvious. With a few exceptions, the internet is not a doctor.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:05 PM on November 12, 2008


My first guess is giardia, and I strongly agree with the above responses that visiting the doctor is the smart approach.
posted by Forktine at 6:14 PM on November 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think it is the supplements. They probably have all kinds of nasty crap in them. Stop taking them.
posted by OldReliable at 6:23 PM on November 12, 2008


Sorry, no fast solution, but this is exactly what happened to me when I had Giardia. The sulfur/rotten egg burp is a common feature (lovely!)
posted by pedstel at 6:25 PM on November 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sulphur smells are created by bacteria in the intestine. An increase in the smell would be caused by an increase in the bacteria and a doctor should be consulted to find out why there would be more bacteria. He'll likely be prescribed an antibiotic.
posted by scabrous at 6:28 PM on November 12, 2008


I had that a couple of times over the years.

All it was was a simple gastrointestinal tummy upset, and it did go away on its own. Having said that, just call the doc's office tomorrow and talk to the nurse.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:29 PM on November 12, 2008


This is only the second time in his 42 years that he has experienced this. It usually lasts for 1 week.

This seems contradictory. Am I missing something?
posted by amro at 6:31 PM on November 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


It could be something he ate. Either foods high in sulphur (eg eggs) or preserved with sulphur dioxide (eg preserved apricots. Did he eat a whole bag of these?) which are broken down by gastric acid to produce hydrogen sulphide (rotten egg gas). Take a look at what he's eaten and go on a natural, unprocessed high fibre diet for a few days to clear out the system.
posted by panini at 6:50 PM on November 12, 2008


This happen with me once. After changing my diet, particularly removing all MSG, I got better.
posted by RobGF at 7:04 PM on November 12, 2008


It usually lasts for 1 week.

If it's only happened once before, then you don't know what "usually" is. And the fact that it passed rapidly last time doesn't prove anything.
posted by Class Goat at 7:07 PM on November 12, 2008


What does the search results being from 2004 have to do with anything?

If there have been any astonishing advancements in the field of treating sulphurous belches and bloating in the past four years, a gastroenterologist would be most likely to know of them.
posted by CKmtl at 7:07 PM on November 12, 2008


If for some reason, he can't or won't visit a doctor, have him eat yogurt and/or take probiotic pills (Acidophilus complex). The good bacteria will help displace the bad ones that are probably responsible for the stench. If he does end up on antibiotics, the yogurt/pills will also help repopulate the good bacteria as antibiotics kill good and bad bacteria indiscriminately.
posted by kgbrion at 7:20 PM on November 12, 2008


I'll second H. pylori, as shot in the dark, anyway. Here in Japan, it's a very well-known condition, and according to a TV show I saw, some 20% or more of Japanese suffer from this. I'd never heard of it in the U.S. It can be a serious problem if left unchecked, so have hubby ask his doctor about it.
posted by zardoz at 7:37 PM on November 12, 2008


This used to happen to me. Its a digestion/bacteria issue. I dont think its anything to worry about. FWIW, Ive had problems with ulcers most of my life so it may be related, but I tested negative for H. pylori. I always chalked it up to eating the wrong things, perhaps eating something that is slightly spoiled. I have a more sensitive stomach than most.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:47 PM on November 12, 2008


Has he tried GasX yet?
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:48 PM on November 12, 2008


Girardia is another possibility, but usually the venomous stench comes out, well, the other end.

Doctor.
posted by eriko at 4:27 AM on November 13, 2008


Pepto Bismol supposedly has some some antibiotic properties. It works for me when I have various disorders.

I've had this exact issue, but never tried it for it. It's weird- my entire digestive system was gurgling for like a week.
posted by gjc at 5:05 AM on November 13, 2008


For those suggesting giardia -- is it that common in the U.S.? I've heard of it only from a friend who regularly went on extended backpacking trips in Asia, and it strikes me as being something you could only get from not-quite-that-sanitary groundwater.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:28 AM on November 13, 2008


For those suggesting giardia -- is it that common in the U.S.? I've heard of it only from a friend who regularly went on extended backpacking trips in Asia, and it strikes me as being something you could only get from not-quite-that-sanitary groundwater.

Contaminated water (usually surface water) gets all of the blame, but in fact a lot of transmission is from direct human-to-human contact, or human to food to human, especially in day care centers and other places involving small children. The cysts are in your digestive tract, you get them on your fingers when you wipe your butt, and then you give them to your new friend when you shake his hand.

This link suggests that it is really common:

Carrier rates as high as 30-60% have been documented among children in day care centers, institutions, and on Native American reservations. Endemic infection occurs most commonly from July through October among children younger than 5 years and adults aged 25-39 years. Between 1964 and 1984, 90 outbreaks (24,000 cases) of giardiasis in the United States were linked epidemiologically to water. These outbreaks typically occurred in small water systems using untreated or inadequately treated surface water.

Most water-borne outbreaks in the United States have occurred in western mountain regions (Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada, Cascades) where giardiasis must be considered endemic. However, since water-borne giardiasis outbreaks have been reported in every region in the United States, the diagnosis must be considered anywhere in the country. Areas and populations with poor hygiene and close physical contact tend to have higher rates of infection. Venereal transmission has been reported among homosexuals through direct fecal-oral contamination.


This is another overview of giardia, and here is the CDC fact sheet on the disease.
posted by Forktine at 8:43 AM on November 13, 2008


Seconding St. Alia of the Bunnies. I used to get this on occasion. Just nasty, nasty indigestion. I'd take some Mylanta or some such for a couple days, end of story. Thankfully I haven't had this in years but I would say I'm also eating better than in my younger days.
posted by trinity8-director at 4:41 PM on November 13, 2008


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and remedies. Also, the great links attached.
My husband is now informed. He can make his own doctor appointment. I was just curious and wanted to know if anyone else had this problem. Thank you for your time.
Mo
posted by kevnmo at 6:23 PM on November 13, 2008


I know that this is a little late in the show.
This happens to me at least twice a year, usually as a precursor to the flu or a cold.
When this happens to me, I drink a small glass of tart cherry juice. This stops the gas. I use to suffer for about a week. Pragmatically speaking the cherry juice does the trick.
posted by dwbike at 9:01 AM on December 16, 2008


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