Burping refers to releasing air and other gases from the stomach through mouth. Sulfur burps are a kind of burp which smells like rotten eggs or sulfur. This smell is because of the hydrogen sulfide gas which sulfur proteins contain. Sulfur proteins are found in some foods and are expelled when sulfur reducing microbes break them down in small intestine or stomach.
There are a number of causes of sulfur burps, some of which are listed here:
- Medical: Helicobacter Pylori or Giardia are some of the most common cause of getting sulfur burps. Helicobacter Pylori is a bacteria that causes gastric ulcers, chronic gastritis, heartburn, burping and abdominal bloating. It is diagnosed with the urea breath test and its common treatment is using antibiotics. Giardia is one cell parasite and causes foul-smelling burps, diarrhea and bloating. Generally these infections enter into the body due to poor hygiene, oral-fecal transmissions and also unclean water resources.
- Food: Sulfur is present in foods such as red meats, poultry, milk and other dairy products, avocadoes, watermelon, bananas, seeds, nuts, grain, amino, tea, coffee, amino acids whey proteins, Vitamins B1 and Vitamin H. Sulfur is also present in vegetables like broccoli, yams, asparagus, watercress, mustard, onions, cabbage, pack choi, parsley, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and Swiss chard. Legumes including peas, soy, beans, lentils, carob, jicama and alfalfa also contain sulfur. When stomach takes comparatively longer time to process and release high protein meal then it causes acidity and body feels bloated. This continues as long as hydrogen sulfide and protein isn’t expelled.
- Prescription medication: There are many prescription medications which cause sulfur burps. The prescription label has the list of all the ingredients it contains. If the medicine you had contains sulfur, then it is the probable cause of such type of burps.
- Other diseases: Small intestinal bacterial growth is another cause of getting sulfur burps. This is the condition when intestinal bacteria grows too much and cause bloating, diarrhea, flatulence and burping. Fructose malabsorption and lactose intolerance are also the sources of SIBO. Also in diseases like celiac disease and Crohn’s disease, it is most likely that food is not digested completely and is broken down by sulfur reducing bacteria that produces hydrogen sulfide.
- Other causes: Another common cause of sulfur burps is empty colon which in turn may be a result of Irritable bowel syndrome. Treatment is easily available for IBS and keeps these symptoms under control. Anyone having gall bladder problems or those not having gall bladder may also experience sulfur burps. Stress is also a known reason to cause sulfur burps along with other conditions like hernia and acid reflux.
An obvious symptom of sulfur burps is getting burps which give smell like sulfur or rotten eggs. Sulfur burps are mostly accompanied by pain, fatigue and nausea. In most of the cases, people develop light symptoms including sulfur burps, vomiting, nausea, heavy fatigue, constipation along with diarrhea and lower left stomach cramps.
Sometimes it may take long to diagnose the accurate reason of getting sulfur burps. The doctor may ask to take up variety of medical tests and procedures for its diagnosis. Generally the diagnosis begins with conducting a colonoscopy and upper GI endoscopy to find out abnormalities. In other cases, diagnosis may start with testing for parasites which may be a causing sulfur burps and can be treated with medication within few weeks. The doctor may also want to conduct tests for acid reflux and may also want to check GI scopes.
How to get rid of sulfur burps
If sulfur burps are likely to be caused due to poor eating habits, consuming certain medications or intestinal infection caused along with vomiting and diarrhea then it is important to seek medical attention. However if these conditions are not accompanied by nausea and diarrhea, then simple home remedies will work to get rid of the problem. These remedies include avoiding beverages and carbonated drinks.
Some common food recommended to help get rid of sulfur burps are having plenty of fruits and fresh vegetables. Avoid consuming foods and food products like cakes, candies and ice cream. One should also reduce smoking habits and do not drink alcohol in excess. High protein diets should also be avoided.
- Take foods rich in fiber as fibrous food helps push the food left in stomach and intestine out of the body. Fresh fruits and salads best serve the purpose.
- Avoid consuming food with lot of sugar in them because such food builds up gas in the stomach. Avoid desserts, candies, ice creams and other foods that are too sweet.
- Avoid consuming too much alcohol as it causes sulfur burps.
- High protein diet like eggs and poultry increase stress on gastrointestinal tract so reduce your intake of such foods.
- Tale herbal teas, fruit juices and fluids as they clean the organs and helps get rid of the foul smelling burps.