Burping is a part of life, but dealing with sulfur burps is anything but pleasant. These noxious-smelling belches are caused by eating foods high in sulfur and can be embarrassing, especially when trying to maintain good oral hygiene. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a permanent condition.
In this blog, we’ll discuss what causes sulfur burps, how to get rid of them, and what medical treatments may be necessary. With just a few simple changes, you can rid yourself of these odorous burps for good!
- What Does It Mean When Burps Smell Like Sulfur?
- What are the causes of sulfur burps?
- When should I be worried about sulfur burps?
- How do you get rid of burps that smell like sulfur?
- What should I do if my sulfur burps don't go away?
What Does It Mean When Burps Smell Like Sulfur?
A sulfur burp is simply a burp that is accompanied by a foul rotten egg smell. This smell is that of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas. Sulfur burps are typically caused by one of the following: something a person ate, gastrointestinal issues, or an infection in the upper gastrointestinal tract caused by the H. pylori bacterium according to MedicalNewsToday.
Certain foods such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, onions, whole grains, and dairy products can cause sulfur burps, as well as GERD, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), food poisoning, prescription drugs, stress, anxiety, and pregnancy. In order to treat sulfur burps, it is important to identify and address the underlying cause. Home remedies can also help reduce or eliminate sulfur burps.
What are the causes of sulfur burps?
1. Excess hydrogen sulfide gas production
Excess hydrogen sulfide gas production can be caused by eating certain foods, eating or drinking too quickly, an imbalance of the gut microbiome, or an infection such as H. pylori or Giardia. Symptoms of a sulfur burp include a foul-smelling burp, possible nausea, vomiting, bloating, and abdominal pain.
Common foods that may cause sulfur burps include broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, beans, eggs, cheese and whole milk, and beer.
Excess hydrogen sulfide gas production is caused by a digestive systems disruption, such as an imbalance of intestinal bacteria, a gastrointestinal disorder, or an infection. The primary symptom of a sulfur burp is a foul-smelling gas that is expelled through burping or flatulence.
Other symptoms may include bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Certain foods, such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, beans, eggs, cheese, whole milk, and beer, may also contribute to an increase in sulfur burps. Eating or drinking too quickly can also lead to excessive burping.
2. Gut bacterial imbalances
Sulfur burps caused by gut bacterial imbalances can be caused by a variety of factors, including infections from bacteria such as Heliobacter Pylori (H. Pylori) and the Giardia parasite, as well as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or infections from other digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease, diabetes, or immunodeficiency conditions such as AIDS.
Symptoms of these infections or imbalances can include violent diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, and nausea, as well as fatigue and temporary lactose intolerance. Furthermore, people with these infections are at risk of dehydration and malnutrition due to excessive loss of fluids and improper digestion.
Treating the underlying infection or imbalance is essential for relieving the symptoms and preventing further complications.
3. Carbohydrate digestion issues
Sulfur burps, which are burps that are accompanied by an odor like rotten eggs, are caused by the digestion of certain carbohydrates, such as lactose and gluten. People with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or lactose intolerance may experience digestive issues such as bloating, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea due to the inability of their bodies to properly break down these carbohydrates.
Sulfur burps can also be caused by a very large or protein-rich meal, as the digestive system breaks it down, releasing sulfur gases.
If a person is experiencing ongoing sulfur burps, it is important to see a doctor in order to be properly diagnosed and treated. Dietary changes, such as reducing portion sizes or avoiding processed foods, may help reduce or eliminate the unwanted gas that causes sulfur burps.
4. Intestinal infections and parasites
Intestinal infections and parasites can cause sulfur burps, which are burps that smell like rotten eggs. The most common type of infection is Heliobacter pylori, a bacterial infection that can affect the stomach and intestines.
H. pylori can multiply in large numbers and cause inflammation, leading to symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, increasing fatigue, and temporary lactose intolerance. Another type of infection is Giardiasis, a parasitic infection that is caused by the Giardia parasite.
Symptoms of Giardiasis include diarrhea, farting, bloating, stomach pain or cramps, smelly burps that smell like eggs, and weight loss. It usually goes away in about a week if it is treated, but it can sometimes last much longer. Both Giardiasis and H. pylori infections require diagnosis and treatment from a doctor.
5. Consumption of foods containing sulfur
Types of foods that contain sulfur and can cause sulfur burps to include high protein foods, beer, eggs, cheese, whole milk, foods high in sugar and starch, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and beans, as well as certain artificial sweeteners.
Sulfur occurs naturally in certain foods, and when the digestive system breaks down a very large or protein-rich meal, sulfur gases are released. Eating these sulfur-containing foods can cause an excessive amount of gas and bloating in some people, leading to sulfur burps.
6. Alcohol consumption
Alcohol consumption may be associated with sulfur burps, as it can disrupt effective digestion in the body and lead to stomach acid reflux, which may influence sulfur burps. Excessive alcohol use may be a culprit of sulfur burps, and some people may find their digestive symptoms eliminated by simply cutting back their alcohol intake.
It is important to note that drinking alcohol while taking antibiotics is not recommended as it can react with them and also to avoid preparing food for other people.
7. Gut acid reflux
Gut acid reflux, also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), is a digestive condition where the acidic contents of the stomach rise back up into the esophagus. This is caused by a weakened or damaged lower esophageal sphincter, which normally keeps the acidic contents of the stomach contained.
When the acidic contents of the stomach escape, it can cause a burning sensation in the chest (heartburn) and a characteristic rotten egg smell to the burps. The gas released by bacteria during digestion also enters the esophagus, contributing to the foul odor of the burps.
Acid reflux can be treated with H2 blockers such as famotidine (Pepcid) or proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole (Prilosec). Stress, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and infections like giardia can also cause sulfur burps. If the burps cannot be resolved through dietary changes, it is important to consult a doctor for further diagnosis and treatment.
8. Stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety can sometimes be a cause of sulfur burps. This can be due to the body experiencing esophageal spasms and intestinal spasms which result in reflux and other digestive problems like an upset stomach, nausea, or diarrhea.
Additionally, the digestive system breaking down a very large or protein-rich meal can also lead to the release of sulfur gases. Researchers have further identified a connection between the gas hydrogen sulfide, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. To reduce sulfur burps, it is important to reduce portion sizes when eating and to eat more slowly.
It is also important to address any underlying stress and anxiety by incorporating healthy stress-relief techniques such as exercise and mindfulness into one’s daily routine.
When should I be worried about sulfur burps?
When should I be worried about sulfur burps? While occasional sulfur burps are generally harmless and can be caused by something you ate, frequent sulfur burps could be a sign of an underlying illness or digestive problem.
It’s important to pay attention to your body and if you experience excessive sulfur burps or they occur with other symptoms, it’s best to consult your doctor. For example, if you have chronic acid reflux such as GERD, sulfur burps are a sign that you need medication or a change in diet to get your symptoms under control.
How do you get rid of burps that smell like sulfur?
Getting rid of burps that smell like sulfur can be done in a few simple steps.
- Reduce or eliminate foods that are high in sulfur, such as onions, eggs, garlic, and cruciferous vegetables.
- Avoid carbonated drinks and alcohol, as these can cause gas in the stomach, which can lead to sulfur burps.
- Drink plenty of water and focus on eating several smaller meals rather than one large meal.
- Quit smoking and chewing gum, as both activities can cause excess air to be swallowed.
- Avoid overeating, eating too quickly, or talking while eating, as this can cause air to be swallowed.
- Regular exercise can help reduce sulfur burps, as it can help improve digestion.
- If home remedies do not help reduce the burps, visit your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
What should I do if my sulfur burps don’t go away?
If your sulfur burps don’t go away even after making dietary changes, it may be necessary to speak to a doctor for further assistance. The doctor can provide guidance on dietary choices, offer over-the-counter medications such as antacids, or recommend more targeted treatment. They may also run diagnostic tests to identify any underlying digestive issues.
Are there any home remedies for sulfur burps?
Yes, there are home remedies for sulfur burps. These include antacids, probiotics, peppermint tea, and increasing activities such as walking. To reduce sulfur burps, it is also important to eliminate certain foods and beverages from your diet, stop behaviors that cause you to swallow excess air and get regular exercise. Additionally, drinking herbal teas, enough water, and avoiding certain trigger foods may help reduce the frequency of sulfur burps.
Why Do My Burps Smell Like Rotten Eggs?
The cause of burps that smell like rotten eggs or sulfur is due to the presence of hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S). This gas is released naturally in small amounts during the digestive process and is produced by bacteria in the intestines when exposed to sulfur-rich foods.
These foods include poultry, red meats, seafood, dairy, eggs, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, garlic, and onions. The presence of smelly burps, accompanied by diarrhea, can be a sign of a food intolerance, infection, or GI disorder.
Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to alleviate the smelly burps, such as taking some time off from sulfur-rich foods and consulting with a doctor if the problem persists.
How can I stop my burps from smelling like sulfur?
To prevent burps from smelling like sulfur, it is important to make a few small changes in one’s diet. The first step is to avoid foods that are high in sulfur, like cruciferous vegetables and processed meats. Additionally, cutting back on carbonated drinks, alcohol, and sugar can also help reduce sulfur burps.
Drinking herbal teas like green tea, peppermint tea, and chamomile tea may also be beneficial for digestion and reduce burping.
Drinking enough water and having a spoonful of Manuka honey may also help in killing bacteria that cause digestive issues, and ultimately reduce sulfur burps. Finally, baking soda may help relieve bloating, and burping.