How To Make Yourself Burp: 8 Methods To Try
Congratulations! In coming here, you’ve taken your first step towards mastering the ancient art of belching on command. There are myriad reasons why you may want to do this, including but not limited to the following:
- You’re feeling a little bloated but it’s nothing a good burp won’t set right
- Your Rick Sanchez impression got ripped apart by your mates and needs work
- You want to make a comeback against your six-year-old nephew whose string of crushing burp contest victories have redefined the power dynamic in your relationship
- You’re nostalgic for that lovely, gravy-sodden roast you had for lunch and wish to relive its essence if but for a fleeting moment
- You’re dating a burp fetishist, and since your anaemic croaks simply aren’t doing it for them in the bedroom, you’ve turned to a website about shaving as a last resort
- You’re just into burping
It’s none of our business why you’re here, but you’ve come to the right place. Whether it’s constant bloating or a cocky nephew that bedevils you, we’ve got you covered. So strap in and crack open your favourite carbonated beverage, because by the end of this article you’ll be letting out burps that’ll put Barney Gumble to shame.
But first, in order to effectively induce burping, it’s crucial to understand how and why we burp. So grab your exercise book and meet us in the lab for some Burping 101.
Why do we burp?
Burping, also known as belching, is the body’s way of getting rid of excess gas from the upper digestive tract also known as your upper esophageal sphincter (there’s a whole other mechanism for expelling excess gas from the lower digestive tract, but that’s for another article).
You see, when we eat or drink, we tend to swallow air in the process. For each swallow, anywhere between 8ml and 32ml of air enters the stomach via the oesophagus (a tube of muscle connecting your throat to your stomach, a.k.a your ‘food pipe’). That’s like throwing back a shot of air each time you swallow, in what must be the world’s least fun drinking game.
This process of swallowing air can lead to a buildup of excess gas in the stomach, creating pressure within your digestive system and leading to excessive gastric distention, or what yogurt adverts like to call bloating. You might recognise this as a feeling of abdominal discomfort or even abdominal pain, a sensation that can quickly make a person feel miserable if it goes ignored.
Thankfully, to give you some relief and head off your stomach’s transformation into a beach ball, your body releases this gas pressure through a process of air reflux which we know as ‘burping’ – or if you want to use the medical terminology, *dons monocle* eructation.
(Fun fact: the word eructation is derived from the Latin verb eructare meaning ‘to belch forth’. The related term for a burp is a ructus – compare with modern Italian rutto and une rot in French. Eructation is also used to refer to volcanic eruptions.)
Tl;dr burps exist to reduce gas and thereby any associated gas discomfort.
How does a burp actually work?
Burping takes place when excess air inside in your stomach leads to an increase in gastric volume (that is, your belly expands), setting off receptors in the gastric wall. These in turn signal the lower oesophageal sphincter muscle (a muscular valve located at the point the oesophagus meets the stomach) to relax, releasing a little bubble of gas up your oesophagus and out through your mouth via the upper oesophageal sphincter.
Okay, but what accounts for that delightful BROOAAAAP sound that would get you a bollocking at the dinner table when you were a kid?
You probably know the feeling when a burp seems ‘lodged’ in your throat, waiting to be released like a bullet biding its time in the chamber — that’s the feeling you get when an air bubble (i.e. your burp-to-be) forms in your throat. As it grows, it begins to exert pressure against the closed upper oesophageal sphincter. Once that pressure becomes critical, the burp blasts its way through the sphincter with such force it causes the tissues of the throat passage and oesophagus to vibrate, which is what produces that *chef’s kiss* sound resembling a bullfrog’s mating call.
Congrats! You’ve now graduated Burping 101. Let’s move onto the good stuff.
How to make yourself burp on command
Now that you’ve mastered the mechanics of burping, let’s look at how to make yourself burp at will.
The shrewd among you will have figured out by now that the secret is in increasing the amount of trapped air you can accrue in your stomach. Whilst ‘more air, baby’ should certainly be your North Star as you seek to cure your eructile dysfunction, we’ll also look at some techniques that can help ‘nudge’ the extra air out of your system.
And one involving a finger.
So *takes deep breath and readies sphincter muscle* let’s get into it. Here are some tricks that’ll get those burps flowing:
1. Drinking carbonated beverages
That’s right, nothing says burp like carbonated beverages, or as we prefer to call them, ‘fizzy drinks’. Figures that drinks pumped full of gas bubbles lead to a greater gas buildup in the stomach, doesn’t it? No doubt you have your go-to fizzy drink — sorry, carbonated beverage –but here are some suggestions if you need some inspiration:
- Cola drinks and other sodas
- Tonic water
- Sparkling water
- Champagne / sparkling wine
- Literally any other carbonated drinks your local supermarket sells
In order to maximise the amount of air that gets trapped along with what you’re drinking, you wanna chug that mother. Avoid dainty little sips – you don’t swallow as much air that way. Large volumes swallowed quickly is key here.
2. Eating gas-promoting foods
At this stage it should not surprise you to learn that eating gas-promoting foods leads to the, er, promotion of gas in your digestive tract, thereby inducing burps. Here’s a list of some of the top gas promoting foods:
- Wholegrain bread
Disclaimer: you may have noticed that some of these items have a tendency to promote another form of gas buildup – what the Romans referred to as flatus. Take this into consideration and choose wisely.
3. Chewing gum / eating sweets
Chewing gum and eating sweets causes you to swallow more often, which results in…you guessed it, more trapped air. Get chewing.
4. Force-swallowing air
Now we’re getting to the zany stuff. Although this sounds like a mystical Jedi power, it’s actually just a case of sucking air into your stomach. Force air down into your digestive tract by breathing a big dollop of it into your mouth (don’t inhale) until you feel an air bubble sitting in your throat…and then swallow. Hey presto, gas.
5. The reverse-water trick
This may be an old wives’ tale but worth a try if the beans aren’t doing it for you. Fill a glass with ordinary drinking water. Next, bend over at your hips till your eyes are nearly level with your knees. Then with your arms forward, sip from the wrong side of the glass– i.e. the rim of the glass that’s furthest from you, tipping the water slowly into your mouth. If you are thinking that burps are related to hiccups then you would be absolutely correct!
6. Moving about a bit
Physically changing your position can help to ‘jolt’ the air out of your system. There are a number of ways to do this, including:
- Exercise, e.g. running or light aerobics
- Lie down then quickly get up
- Do some yoga
- Dance the night away
- Try sitting straight if you tend to slouch
- Just you know, move
If you’re chained to a desk or are struggling with the above, simply changing your breathing style can help. Try taking deeper breaths or going the other way and taking a few short, sharp breaths.
7. Taking Antacids
Although calcium carbonate antacids are primarily intended to relieve acid ingestion, they can assist with inducing burps. However, any acid reflux medication should be taken with care: please do not consume any without seeking professional medical advice beforehand.
8. The Finger
The nuclear option. The last resort. The Alamo. If nothing has worked so far, time for The Finger.
That’s right, we’re getting ready for some gag reflex triggering.
Wash your hands and stick a clean finger into your mouth till it brushes the back of your throat. Be gentle as you do this, you absolutely do not want to use too much force here. Remember, the aim is just to trigger a small gag and make yourself burp, or ‘air vomit’ – you want to avoid actually vomiting.
At least we hope you do.
In closing (the sphincter muscle)
And so just like air slowly drifting up through the oesophagus, we come to the end of your training.
Hopefully by now you should be a black belt in making yourself belch, with the godlike ability to release air from your throat with a roar that would set a T-Rex to whimpering .
(Plus, the ability to relieve bloating or abdominal pain at will is a sweet perk.)
If, however, you’re still struggling to get out a good belch having tried all the techniques above, not to worry. There is an entire subreddit (r/NoBurps) devoted to people who struggle to burp; a thriving community whose members share all the weird and wacky ways they’ve gotten their belches out, as well as details on medical professionals who can help. Their tagline: ‘You’re Not Alone’. Aww.
Otherwise, have a pint, swallow you some air and tell your bratty little nephew that it ain’t over till it’s over.