What are the Most Common Causes of Indigestion and Burping?

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  • Written By: Daphne Mallory
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 23 January 2020
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While the symptoms of indigestion and burping can be mild, some of the underlying causes can be very serious. The most common causes are gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastritis, and stomach ulcers. GERD occurs when food travels back up the esophagus instead of remaining in the stomach. Gastritis and stomach ulcers are similar in that they both are disorders pertaining to the stomach. Inflammation and irritation of the stomach lining is called gastritis, whereas stomach ulcers are sores produced in the lining.

GERD sufferers may think that they are experiencing acid reflux because both describe the disorder of stomach contents being released into the esophagus. Food is not the only thing to travel up the esophagus, but also bile in some cases. Asthma, obesity, and smoking are just some of the risk factors associated with GERD. GERD symptoms, in addition to indigestion and burping, include vomiting blood, difficulty in swallowing, and chest pain. Treatment for GERD ranges from over-the-counter medications to surgery.

Gastritis occurs when the lining of the stomach swells or becomes irritated. The inflammation results from bacterial overgrowth and infection. Individuals can identify possible gastritis by black stool, bleeding of the rectum, and vomiting along with indigestion and belching. In most cases, gastritis can be treated quite easily, but in rare cases can lead to stomach cancer. Dietary intervention, such as avoiding spicy foods and antacids, is often used to treat gastritis.


Stomach ulcers differ from gastritis because painful sores develop in the stomach lining. Some medications can cause ulcers, such as ibuprofen and aspirin. Often the cause is bacterial infection from a particular strain known as Helicobacter pylori. Individuals with stomach ulcers experience a gnawing pain, but also indigestion and burping issues. Depending on the severity of the pain, stomach ulcers can be treated with antacids, or emergency medical assistance may be needed.

Indigestion and burping are often taken for granted when there should be cause for concern. There are often other symptoms that can accelerate the problem from a mild condition to one that should be cause for serious concern. Severe and chronic pain is an example of a symptom that should be reported to a medical professional. He or she can administer the appropriate tests to diagnose which of these conditions, if any, is the underlying cause. Doctors and other health professionals will often suggest appropriate treatments that target the specific cause rather than the general recommendation of taking an antacid.


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Post 4

@zsazsa56 - The digestive system is complicated and I am not a doctor so I can't say for sure if your bloating is the cause of one of the conditions mentioned in the article. But it certainly seems possible.

I think that when you are suffering it is always best to go to the doctor. Even if you think it is something small it could be the sign of a very serious condition. You bloating might just be gas or it might be something really serious that could get worse without treatment. I don't mean to scare you but just encourage you to be responsible with your body. I hope you find some relief. Trust your doctor.

Post 3

Could one of the conditions mentioned in the article be the cause of my stomach bloating? This had been a problem for me for years. It doesn't happen after every meal, or even most meals, but when it does it is very painful and embarrassing. I have had several dates and fun events ruined because of this. I have tried some over the counter medications but they have not helped. I would do almost anything to get some relief.

Post 2

I have suffered from stomach cramps and acid indigestion for years. I finally went to my doctor and was diagnosed with a stomach ulcer. My doctor told me it was good that he caught it when he did because it could have gotten worse and caused me significant health problems. Don't be like me and suffer through this problem because you are stoic or you think there is no treatment. There is help and it will change you life. I look forward to eating so much more now that I have been treated.

Post 1

I get really terrible indigestion and occasionally burping after I eat but my doctor has never been able to find an underlying cause for this. I have had a number of tests but nothing has ever come back conclusively.

After a lot of frustrations and consultations we determined that I just needed to avoid certain foods. The two that are the worst for me are broccoli and brown rice. I know that this seems strange because these are both so healthy, but they do something really pleasant to my insides. After I cut these out of my diet I saw a lot of improvement. It still flares up sometimes, obviously there are other triggers that I am still eating, but my condition has improved a lot. For those that suffer from indigestion, take a long and careful look at the things you eat.

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