Have you ever burped and experienced a foul-smelling, egg-like odor? These are commonly known as sulfur burps, and they can be unpleasant and embarrassing.
How sulfur burps occur
The rotten egg smell associated with sulfur burps comes from hydrogen sulfide gas. When bacteria in the mouth and digestive system break down food, new compounds form. Hydrogen sulfide is one of the byproducts of digestion. While occasional hydrogen sulfide production is normal, excessive production is often an indication of a digestive issue.
Specific causes of sulfur burps
Sulfur burps can be caused by many conditions including stress, reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and bacterial infections like H. pylori. Certain foods can also cause sulfur burps such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, garlic, dairy products, milk, and beer.
How to prevent sulfur burps
The best way to prevent sulfur burps is to find out what is causing them. Keeping a journal about your foods and daily habits can be an effective way to isolate the cause of your sulfur burps. If you notice that certain foods are aggravating your condition, you can try removing those foods from your diet temporarily. If you are experiencing a stressful time in your life, journaling may help you look back on the most stressful days to see if there was a connection between your anxiety and digestive distress.
If you cannot isolate the underlying cause of your sulfur burps with journaling, you may want to enlist the help of your spouse, partner, or someone who lives with you to see if he or she could help observe you and provide insight. If you still cannot find the connection, contact a gastroenterologist. There are several tests that can help identify the source of your digestive problem.
Some individuals have found relief from sulfur burps through natural home remedies. While there is no guarantee that these treatments will work for everyone, these remedies are safe to try and will not exacerbate your condition.
- Tea — Green tea, peppermint tea or chamomile tea can aid digestion and have been known to reduce sulfur burps.
- Water — Stay hydrated. Sufficient water protects the stomach from bacteria and can help the digestive system break down heavier proteins and sulfur-containing foods.
- Manuka honey — This unique honey can protect the digestive lining, eliminate harmful bacteria in the gut and relieve digestive distress.
- Apple cider vinegar — A spoonful of apple cider vinegar per day can help regulate the growth of bacteria in the digestive tract and keep digestion balanced (source: Medical News Today).