Do I need to burp? If so, how do I do it?
September 20, 2018 6:36 PM   Subscribe

Previously, I have described an odd sort of physical hunger that doesn't make any sense (i.e. I feel hungry but should not be). I could swear I've also talked about what I think of was "water-hunger" which is a qualitatively unique kind of hunger I get after swimming. I am now starting to believe that though I'm interpreting this as hunger it is actually a need to burp. Do I need to burp? Teach me how.

I feel this sort of noticeably emptiness in my throat, often after eating a large meal Sometimes there is a sort of growling like when your stomach grows, but in my throat. I feel a similar kind of feeling after I swim. In both cases I've generally interpreted this sensation as hunger, though in the after-a-big-meal situation, I've been perplexed by it. I have it right now after showing (less common) and I realized that the water-hunger, which I've had since I was a kid, and the post big meal hunger are the same physical sensation. I googled burping after swimming and apparently it's a thing.

I've never been a burper. When I was pregnant I burped seven times (over the course of the whole pregnancy). That should tell you how not-a-burper I am that when it happened while I was pregnant I noticed it and when it happened again thought "Oh that's the second time!" (and then third, fourth, etc.). I just don't burp. Not by accident. Not on purpose.

But now I'm wondering if this sensation is actually a need to burp.

I have googled how to burp and I just keep seeing stuff about pushing an air bubble into your throat. I don't get what that means. I have tried it to see if maybe I can do it without getting it, but I have not been successful.

Do you think I need to burp? If I do, can you explain how I do that? I'm hoping a bunch of different explanations will include one that clicks with me better than the googled ones have so far.

Thank you!
posted by If only I had a penguin... to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you vomited before? Because to me, the feeling is similar. In fact, there is a thing I call vomit burps, where your burps go just a little too far and some liquid comes up. (Sorry for the gross visual.) So I think it's a similar process. When I burp, my diaphragm goes in and pushes some air up and through my throat, I think. I can do it even when I don't have to burp, at least a little.

I have a hard time imagining needing to burp and... not. It's practically impossible for me to have to burp and keep it in. When I do try to suppress it for long, I get a sharp pain in my ribs. But people are different and bodies are strange, so... who knows?

Interestingly, I swim, and sometimes need to burp while swimming and I never knew that was a thing. I thought I was just weird. So thanks for that info!
posted by greermahoney at 7:54 PM on September 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

I can burp really well. I can burp on command, and loudly. Never thought that might come in handy on, but hey, whatever works.

I am sitting here burping at my cat trying to figure out how to explain how i do it. This is way harder than i thought!! Basically burps form after you’ve swallowed air, anyway you can do it — the burp is what happens when the air comes back up. I can make baby burps sort of by flexing my throat muscles (or maybe it’s my esophagus?) which forces air down about half way, then releasing — burp comes up as the air does. And i can make bigger burps by forcing a larger breath down by flexing my stomach muscles internally, releasing, and then air comes back up as a burp.

Now, i know what you’re thinking. I have muscles there? I don’t even know how to control those!! (i get the same dumbstruck look when my physiotherapist wants me to squeeze my lower shoulder blade muscles. I just... don’t know how??) That, unfortunately, i can’t help with. Just experiment and see what works, knowing that a burp happens when air comes back up, so you are trying to push it down then stop, allowing it to reverse. And if you can help it release faster and with more force, you’ll have a louder more powerful burp. This will probably require practice, odd as it sounds.

The absolute best burps however will come from chugging a carbonated beverage really fast.
posted by cgg at 8:32 PM on September 20, 2018 [7 favorites]

How to burp on purpose? Well, as someone who at age fourteen found nothing funnier than doing that, here's how:

Sit up straight. Expel all the breath from your lungs. Then, suck air in... but into your stomach. It does not feel the same as, well, breathing. If you do it right, you will feel the air rushing into your stomach. After that it's an easy matter of simply reversing the process. Then, rulps (burp) away.

I have known how to do this ever since accidentally swallowing air the wrong way when I was twelve. YMMV.
posted by Crystal Fox at 8:33 PM on September 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

I mean, these methods above sound more complicated than what I do. Sit up straight, gently pat on your chest and side until you burp - like how you burp a baby. Also eating slower and drinking some water can help post-eating air. Gas X and peppermint stuff can also help if it's really uncomfortable. A weird sensation in your throat/stomach could also be a form of reflux. It doesn't always burn. That's what I get when I eat too much (lifelong GERD sufferer.)
posted by Crystalinne at 9:09 PM on September 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

What happens when you drink a large amount of a carbonated beverage at once? That usually will make people burp.
posted by quince at 9:19 PM on September 20, 2018 [6 favorites]

To address, the "do I need to burp?" part of it, you mentioned swimming. Is this doing laps for a long time or just paddling and keeping yourself afloat? If it's the former it makes a lot of sense to me that you would feel particularly hungry as swimming burns A LOT of calories. In addition, I don't see any reason that swimming would make you feel the need to burp (as opposed to some other physical activity that might jostle your tummy) unless you are swallowing air into your stomach while you swim.
posted by runcibleshaw at 11:45 PM on September 20, 2018

I have no conscious control of that whole area of internal organs/muscles so I stand up and sort-of bounce on my tiptoes really quickly - not jumping, my toes don't leave the ground, but my heels go up and down and hit the ground each time, I guess the impact there is what helps with the burping. Feet about shoulder-width apart. 200-210bpm* or thereabouts. I can sort-of feel the air bubble move its way up and eventually out - this can take anywhere from five seconds to a couple of minutes.

Obviously this is extremely ridiculous and I don't do it in public.

*bounces per minute
posted by severalbees at 3:21 AM on September 21, 2018

Echoing Crystalinne above - what you’re describing sounds like it could be heartburn. Try drinking a small amount of baking soda dissolved in water and see if it makes it go away. (This is not necessarily the best long-term solution for heartburn, because it’s a lot of sodium to take in, but it’s pretty instant.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 5:14 AM on September 21, 2018 [3 favorites]

This is the question that made me finally create a MeFi account, because until now I have never met another person who needed to learn how to burp!!

I too did not ever burp (I do not remember burping once from the time my memories begin till I was in my early 20s). I was having symptoms that doctors persistently misdiagnosed as heartburn. Eventually, I realized they got worse when I drank highly carbonated IPAs, which led me to believe the problem was that I couldn't burp. So I tried to learn.

None of the things people normally say to do worked for me, but I eventually realized that what I needed to do was open my throat as completely as possible. So I sort of open my mouth, then concentrate on opening my throat all the way down to my stomach. I don't know how else to describe it. It feels like I'm going to barf, which (I realize) is why I didn't do it for so many years: I misunderstood the sensation as "I'm about to barf" and tried to suppress it. (Greermahoney - you've got it!) I didn't need to swallow air, because I had always already swallowed the air—that was what was causing my symptoms.

Thank you for asking this question. My doctors thought I was insane when I told them I hadn't burped in 15+ years and that this was the problem causing my "heartburn." I'm SO RELIEVED to find out that there's at least one other person out there who never got the burping memo.
posted by branca at 6:42 AM on September 21, 2018 [10 favorites]

I also do not burp, which means I can't drink carbonated beverages without discomfort. I don't have a solution for you but want to confirm that you're not crazy.
posted by metasarah at 8:24 AM on September 21, 2018

I also have difficulty burping. I just tried the “sit up straight and pat my own chest like a baby” method and it worked. Life changing!
posted by samthemander at 11:46 AM on September 21, 2018

TLDR: Had I think the same or very similar issue, went to speech therapist specialized in swallowing/burping issues. 3 appointments cleared up an issue I had for over 40 years.

About 3 years ago I started researching online exactly the weird feeling and growling high in throat that you describe. As a child I used to have swimming lessons and after that I would have that hunger, but also kind of full and nauseous feeling. I'd go to bed like that and then wake up all well again. Like you I could never burp, it would happen once every couple of years and it would be memorable.
I would often feel as though I had gotten air stuck in between my stomach and throat, but couldn't burp it out.
It would have me feel full, which was a reason that as a student I never drank a lot of beer because I wouldn't be able to burp and cut nights out short sometimes because of this. Not bloated in the intestine-area, but higher up. I tried to find video's, about burping, thinking I could learn this and then have it disappear. It didn't work. The only solution I had discovered accidentally, when brushing the back of my tongue right after brushing my teeth, bent over in the sink, I would gag and release all the air. And feel completely relaxed again. On some forums online I found others who also did this, with their finger, on nights out, or visiting people, in order to be able to feel well enough to stay and not be so distracted or feeling un-well. I started doing this every night before sleeping because it would release the inadvertently swallowed air, and would calm me down (much like a baby before/after burping). But this routine felt a bit like a strange thing to me, I wanted to know what it was and why I had it.

Then I started looking for a physical therapist or speech therapist who look in to this and possibly teach me to burp. I went to my GP and in their practice-building there was a speech therapist who was one of the only specialists in intestinal issues in my country. He taught me in a few (3, I think) sessions about (mostly women) patients who are inhibited to burp, the two sphincters of the stomach and the throat, and tension. He did not teach me to burp, but did explain swallowing air when you swallow at the wrong moment of the breathing-arch. So for me it was about understanding and getting to a change in an automatic behavior.
Then for when you hadn't been able to prevent getting too much air in, he taught me to lie down (what also helped before, just a night of sleep after a day of swimming) for about 5-10 minutes and breath in a relaxed manner with the belly going up and down so this breathing massages the intestines. There is no burp, but I think the air just moves towards the other exit in stead of remaining to high up in the tract to be uncomfortable.

Hope this helps! It had me so surprised to learn these basic things after my 40's, but it helped an issue I had since childhood so was well worth it. My mother was very strict and did not approve of burping and she was scared of water, so this may have influenced me not to learn how to handle both burping and swimming without fear.
posted by Litehouse at 6:57 AM on September 23, 2018

« Older What is this pipe?   |   Rec me your fav biblio tool. Difficulty level: No... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments