It happened again last night: sitting outside, enjoying the evening when all the sudden burp. But this wasn’t the normal “excuse me” burp. This was sulfur, bubbling up from the depths of hell and escaping from my mouth. My eyes widened as both the taste and smell hit, and I said a little prayer of gratitude that no one else was sitting outside with me. Then I remembered that these burps never come in sets of one. It was going to be a long night. So, what causes sulfur burps? We don’t have them every day, so it’s not like this is a normal bodily function or something. Why do we have them and what can we do to prevent them?
Do You Know What Causes Sulfur Burps?
Turns out these foul-smelling burps aren’t all that mysterious. While they don’t happen every day for most people, there are some medical conditions that can make people more prone to sulfur burps (aka Mouth Farts):
H. pylori – otherwise known as the “icky sad tummy bads.” Or, at least that’s what my co-worker who had it called it years ago.
Pregnancy – when an egg combines with sperm and is fertilized, then implants into a woman’s uterine wall…
Irritable bowel syndrome – when your intestines can’t decide if they’re the turtle or the hare in the race.
GERD – actual *hell, rising from your stomach, into your throat.
There are others, too, but in essence a sulfur burp happens when hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas combines with air that has become trapped in our digestive track, and blerp – out it comes. Air can become trapped when we chew gum, eat too quickly, or drink carbonated beverages, so pulling back on those might also pull back on burping.
But burping itself can’t be stopped completely. Everybody burps. And since H2S is a gas, if we didn’t burp it out, it would still come out one way or another.
Even if you don’t have one of the medical conditions listed above, you can still have sulfur burps from time to time. Hydrogen sulfide gas is produced when bacteria from the mouth and gut break down, so eating foods that are high in protein, sugary, or even alcohol can also result in the depths of hades escaping from your mouth. My burps were likely the result of bingeing on wings and soda with my friends the night before. Thanks a lot, friends. Other things that can cause sulfur burps are: stress, anxiety, prescriptions, food poisoning, and Super Bowl Sunday. Still, they can happen at anytime without prompting or warning, so it’s also helpful to know there are a few things we can do to lessen the chance of having them. Think of this as “hangover cure” but for your gut:
Baking soda – sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is a base, and can neutralize stomach acids. So try adding a teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water next time you’ve overindulged.
Water – most of us don’t drink enough water, but water can be a big help when it comes to managing digestion and reducing bad breath.
Green tea and herbal teas – non-caffeinated green and herbal teas are a great way to stay hydrated and can help reduce bad breath.
Manuka honey – is a medically-active honey that’s harvested from the tea tree family. It works at killing off bad bacteria in your gut, and can help with IBS symptoms.
Apple cider vinegar – acetic acid (present in apple cider vinegar) helps prevent bacteria overgrowth in your gut. Try mixing a spoonful into a glass of water on days where your tum-tum’s not feeling so hot.
Other things that can help are avoiding the foods that cause sulfur burps. So, limiting your intake of sugary foods, foods high in protein, alcohol, carbonated drinks, and foods already high in sulfur (broccoli, cauliflower, eggs, etc) may help you avoid embarrassing, smelly burps.
You may not be able to avoid sulfur burps completely, but if you can avoid belching rotten egg smell during a date, you’ll be winning. Don’t forget, this isn’t actual medical advice (duh – I’m a romance author), so if you’re concerned about these burps (or they keep happening) go see your doctor, yo.
*NOTE: If your eyes turn black, and you hear Carry On My Wayward Sons playing somewhere, there’s a chance you’ve been possessed by a demon. Sam and dean will be there shortly, so you’ll feel relief soon.