Why Do I Get Sulfur Burps?


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Burping, although sometimes embarrassing, is a completely normal and natural part of life. It’s our body’s way of releasing gas.

Much like balloons or tires, there’s only so much that we can handle before we need to release the pressure! 

Sulfur burps typically have a horrendous egg smell to them.

Normally, a burp is the result of air that has been swallowed and then contained in the esophagus before being released – this process will not get to the stomach. 

Sometimes though, the air will reach the stomach and join with other gases within the digestive system before they’re released with a burp.

If hydrogen sulfide gas is present, you may smell an unpleasant smell. 

It’s generally nothing to worry about, but if the frequency of sulfur burping is too high, it can signify another problem. 

So, what’s the deal with these burps? What does it mean and how can I stop it happening?

Possible Causes For Sulfur Burping 

There can be plenty of causes of sulfur burp, including: 

1. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

This is a condition in which people get heartburn or acid regurgitation. The stomach acid rises into the esophagus resulting in symptoms – but as stomach acid sometimes has the odor we’re familiar with when it comes to sulfur burps – the result often ends up unpleasant. 

2. Stomach Infections 

There’s a bacteria known as H. Pylori, which can take root in the stomach.  The infection causes certain people to frequently burp, experience upper abdominal pain and feel nauseous.  In some circumstances, this infection can lead to stomach ulcers.

3. Food Intolerance

A common example is lactose intolerance. People who are lactose intolerant often experience gas, bloating or diarrhea. Sometimes, their gas can be unpleasant, and if in the upper part of the GI tract, it may produce a sulfur burp. 

4. Eating Foods That Are Rich In Sulfur 

It might sound obvious, but if you eat foods that are rich in sulfur – your burps might smell that way. Certain vegetables, eggs and meat are high in sulfur. 

5. Bowel Conditions 

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis can have serious effects on your normal digestion processes.

One result can be a sulfur burp. 

What Can I Do About Sulfur Burps?

If you’re experiencing sulfur burps, there are some foods and drinks you can try. Other than that, there are some drug store medications you can buy.

Let’s start with the foods.

Ginger 

Ginger has been a help for gas problems for decades. It can stimulate your body’s digestive acid and can relax the muscles (allowing you to release the gas).

It is quite powerful to consume on its own, so try mixing it in a tea or work it in with your meal (just be careful what you’re cooking – avoid anything that could potentially make your gas worse)! 

Read more about Ginger Effects on IBS.

Turmeric 

Turmeric has many health properties. It can act as an anti-inflammatory, an anti-oxidizer, known to help in many conditions and can stimulate the gallbladder (helps in the production of bile).

It can also help with bloating or problems with gas. 

Fennel 

Fennel is a great way to soothe your gut. You can either make a tea with it or chew the seeds which can help with your digestive problems. 

Green Tea 

Green tea has fantastic health benefits including improving the digestive system.

Not only is it calming (which can relieve stress – often a factor in digestive disruption) but you can have a mint tea – which should freshen the scent of any sulfur smelling burps! 

Cumin 

Cumin can assist with irritable bowel syndrome and there is also evidence that it can relieve some heartburn. 

Caraway 

Found in many health stores, caraway seeds have been used for centuries to relieve symptoms of frequent gas or bloating. 

Now, let’s take a look at the drug store medications you can buy:

Pepto-Bismol 

A medicine used to assist heartburn, flatulence, diarrhea and nausea. 

Probiotics 

These can be purchased in supplement form or found naturally in certain foods like yogurts. There are liquid and tablet probiotics that are easily found online.

Just be careful with yogurt – they are rich in probiotics and promote good bacteria but you could be making matters worse (particularly if you’re lactose intolerant)!

Lactase Enzyme Supplement (Lactaid)

If you are lactose intolerant, this can help relieve your pains and assist in the digestion of dairy. 

Antacids 

Antacids can neutralize the stomach acid and are intend to help with digestive problems and heartburn.

Although medications can come in liquid or a chewable pill form, these can initially cause gas due to the swallowing of air. 

Preventing Sulfur Burps 

First off, you’ll want to cut out the foods that are high in sulfur. Some of these include: 

Vegetables: Sprouts, broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, cabbage, watercress, kale

Meat: Turkey, beef, chicken 

Others: Eggs, beer, lentils, chickpeas 

And plenty more! 

As we said earlier, generally burps are caused by the swallowing of air. You’ll never be able to fully prevent this but you can take some action so you’re not swallowing so much air.

Try and avoid doing the following: 

  • Drinking soda
  • Chewing gums
  • Sucking on mints/candy
  • Straw use
  • Smoking 
  • Fast eating/drinking 
  • Breathing in strongly unnecessarily 

What To Remember 

Sulfur burps are really unpleasant, not just for you but for anyone around you! 

It’s important not to panic but if you’re experiencing sulfur burps all of the time, you should certainly see your doctor for them to assess your condition – you may need further treatment or tests. 

Preventing sulfur burps by avoiding foods that are rich in sulfur, keeping your gut healthy and sticking to a healthy diet are all crucial in the role of a healthy GI tract. 

Although anything like this can be embarrassing, it’s important to take control of it and seek advice from your doctor if your burps are frequent and bothersome.