In my pratice as a registered dietitian my patients sometimes come to me with symptoms of aerophagia. You may be wondering “what is aerophagia?” On Instagram @AndreaHardyRD, I talk all about what aerophagia is and some management tips to help you!
Aerophagia – is it causing your excessive burping, bloating, and gas? 💨
Aerophagia is the swallowing of air that increases burping OR makes its way through our digestive tract and causes bloating, gas, and pain.
I see SO many people jump to SIBO when they burp or experience bloating – but it’s important to ask ourselves… is this more behavioural? Habitual swallowing of air can frequently occur, even without you realizing you’re doing it!
Aerophagia can be exacerbated by:
🍽️ eating too quickly
🗣️talking while eating
🍹drinking through a straw or drinking carbonated beverages
😮mouth breathing or a restricted breathing pattern
👤dysphagia (repetitive swallowing to get food down, like in EoE!)
Wondering if you’re a habitual air swallower?
There isn’t a validated test for this, but a speech language pathologist can help assess for it! A simple, non-validated test described in the literature for seeing if you swallow air is to hold a pencil between your teeth for a period of time. You can’t swallow air when you do this. If the burping desists – chances are, air swallowing plays at least in part, a role!
How do we fix it?
If it’s behavioural, working with an SLP on behaviour and proper breathing, and a psychologist can help as anxiety appears to play a role.
In addition – there are a few lifestyle things you can do such as:
– eating in a calm environment
– chewing food REALLY well before swallowing
– not talking while eating
– quitting smoking
– limiting gum & mints
– avoiding bubbly drinks and straws
– ensuring your CPAP fits properly if you have one
– diaphragmatic breathing
It’s not always WHAT you eat, or something like IBS or SIBO causing your burping and bloating!