Diseases & Conditions

Getting Rid of Sulfur (Egg) Burps: Causes & Remedies

Sulfur burps refer to the burps that precede the rotten eggs smell. The digestive tract creates hydrogen sulfide gas[1]. Typically, this gas is not present in the air we exhale. So its formation depends on the foods ingested. It is more prevalent in people who consume diets that are high in sulfur.

Infrequent sulfur burps are generally harmless; in fact, studies[2] from Cleaveland Clinic reveal that an average man burps at least 14 to 23 times in a day. But when they persistently recur, it may be a sign of a digestive problem or an underlying illness.

Main Causes

a women experiencing sulfur burps
Image by Shutterstock

Usually, the digestive system will produce some gas that is expelled from the body by burping. The gas can be a by-product of digestion or may form when you swallow excessive air.

Sometimes the gas produced may be odorless, such as oxygen and carbon (iv) oxide, among others. On occasions where the gas mixes with sulfur in the alimentary canal, it causes an acrid smell when passing flatus or burping.

There is a high probability that giardia can also be a cause of frequent sulfur burps. Giardia occurs when minute parasites work inside your intestines thus causes poor appetite, diarrhea, loss of weight, and foul-smelling burps.

Since it is a severe infection, anyone facing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention from a certified medical practitioner.

When you eat or drink particular foods that are highly carbonated or high in sulfur, it causes excessive burping.

Also, some foods will naturally trigger burps that taste like eggs in some people.

But the same foods will not produce the same results when eaten by some people. This can be explained by the differences in the type and balance of the intestinal bacteria. The rate at which one eats the food may also increase burping.

Facts about Sulphur Burps

Burps are harmless, but when they become persistent, they signal excessive gas in the stomach. If the smell is foul and accompanied by blotting, it may be a sign of a bigger problem, and so it may be necessary to see a doctor.

To treat the burps, you must deal with the underlying issue. You may choose to use homemade remedies or see your medical care provider.

Hydrogen sulfide gas may be produced in the gastrointestinal tract and oral cavity, resulting in flatulence and gastrointestinal issues such as gastroesophageal reflux and bowel syndrome[3]. They lead to excess gas in the stomach, which causes burps. Also, bacteria may affect the digestive system and lead to sulfur burps.

Other underlying issues

Many other issues cause sulfur burps. They include:

  • Stress
  • Food poisoning
  • Anxiety
  • Pregnancy and other conditions that lead to hormone fluctuation
  • Prescription drugs
  • Intestinal parasites such as giardiasis
  • Acid reflux
  • Colon cancer
  • Gastritis (any infection of the stomach walls)

Homemade Remedies

Use of spices and other homemade remedies could help to rid the body of the sulphur burps some of the most recommended ones are:

  1. Tumeric:
    It is an Indian spice that soothes heartburns and reduces gas. It relieves heartburn symptoms and flatulence. Also, taking turmeric extract can help remove irritable bowel syndrome.
  2. Green Tea:
    It aids in digestion and promotes good health. It is one of the treatments that can help to relieve stomach upsets and freshens the breath.
  3. Chamomile tea:
    It is another option that can be effectively used to remedy excess gas. It helps one to relax and can give you a restful night.
  4. Fennel:
    It is one of the treatments that strengthen the digestive system. It can be chewed every after a meal. Fennel can significantly help to reduce bloating and gas. It can also help to freshen the breath and will leave you feeling much better.
  5. Anise:
    It is a flowering plant with antimicrobial properties that prevent digestive infections. It can fight gas and prevent gastrointestinal disease. Arise can be taken as an extract or just chewed.
  6. Caraway:
    The seeds have medicinal value and were mostly used by the Greeks to treat a variety of ailments. In the modern world, it can be used to treat a variety of ailments, including heartburn, indigestion, and flatulence. It can be added to hot water to make tea. Also, it has antibodies that can be used to treat digestive infections.
  7. Ginger:
    It has been used as a cure for egg burps for many decades. Ginger can be brewed as ginger tea or added as fresh ginger into a recipe. But you will need to avoid ginger ale that increases the level of gas in the stomach.
  8. Peppermint tea:
    It improves digestion and eliminates bad breath. You can drink it any time to help reduce burps.
  9. Water:
    By drinking plenty of water, it improves your overall health and controls sulphur burps. It protects the stomach from bacterial invasion and eliminates bad breath. Drinking water before meals helps to improve digestion and can help reduce burps.
  10. Walking:
    Increasing daily activities, you do such as walking, enhances the movement of gas through your system.
  11. Sleeping positions:
    Lie on your left side when sleeping or resting, since it helps in enhancing flatulence.

Anti-gas Medications

These are over the counter drugs that are available in stores and pharmacies. They could be used to treat gas issues. The most common ones are:

Probiotics: they contain good bacteria that replace the bad ones that cause smelly gas.
Enzyme lactase: it helps persons with lactose intolerance.
Beano: it contains enzymes that break down hard to digest sugars commonly found in beans, vegetables, and some carbohydrates.
Bismuth subsalicylate: it is the best known over the counter drug that can reduce the sulfur smell.

What To Avoid

You can also get rid of sulfur burps by taking care of yourself. Here are some of the things you should avoid.

  • Excessive alcohol: Too much alcohol is likely to disrupt digestion, thus leads to frequent sulphur burps. Also, it increases stomach acid reflux[4] that is commonly associated with sulfur burps.
  • Reduce consumption of carbonated beverages: If you experience burps with a sulfur-like smell, adding carbonated drinks will only cause trouble.
  • Don’t overfeed: Consuming large amounts of meals can make the digestive system to break down. Also, ensure you consider how long the chicken has been in the fridge before eating a large chunk.
  • Avoid smoking, chewing gum and eating fast since these activities, in turn, causes you to swallow excess air[5].
  • Foods to avoid: Eating foods loaded with sulfur may also increase the chances of producing burps that smell like rotten eggs. Some of the foods include whole eggs, beer, and cheese. But, it is essential to remain wary of some low sulphur foods that cause excessive gas formation. These are foods loaded with soluble fiber, starch, and sugars—also, cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and many more.

There are plenty of other things you can do to reduce burps. But eating small amounts of food and exercising can play the trick. Also, avoid foods like hamburgers, cheese, and fatty foods, which slow down digestion.


[1] David R Linden in “Hydrogen Sulfide Signaling in the Gastrointestinal Tract” for National Library of Medicine.

[2] “Are You Passing Too Much Gas? 6 Tips for Relieving Flatulence” by Cleveland Clinic.

[3] Scott L. Gabbard, MD & Michael D. Crowell in “Pathophysiology, Evaluation, and Treatment of Bloating” for  NCBI.

[4] “Astroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)” Facts by AAAA & I.

[5]”By the way, doctor: What can I do about excessive belching and feeling full?” by Hardvard Health Publishing

 

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