The digestive system

Digestive phenomena

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Eructation is when we expel gas from the digestive tract through our mouths. In modern jargon, belching is known as "burping", or "letting one rip".

There can be a number of reasons for it, particularly:

  • Drinking fizzy drinks
  • Eating or drinking too quickly
  • Gastric reflux
  • Aerophagy

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Eructation

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WHAT IS ERUCTATION?

Eructation is more commonly known as burping or belching. It corresponds to gas being discharged from the mouth, generally accompanied by a sound and maybe even an odour.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES?

We may burp for several reasons. You are probably well aware of one of them: drinking fizzy drinks. Generally, burping also occurs when you eat or drink too quickly. It can also be the result of gastroesophageal reflux and a phenomenon called aerophagia. Aerophagia literally means ‘eating air’ and corresponds to the absorption of air during swallowing.

You might be wondering how is it possible to swallow air? This can happen when you take small sips of hot beverages, drink with a straw or while you chew gum.

When babies eat, a lot of air accumulates in their stomachs. We help them burp this air out by winding them, that is gently tapping them on the back, but not too hard so as not to trigger vomiting.

Did you know that humans are not the only ones to burp? Some animals also burp – cows and sheep for example. The Englishman Paul Hunn holds the world record for the loudest burp, which was measured at 109.9 decibels, nearly as loud as a chainsaw!

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