Burping is expelling of the air and other gases from the stomach through your mouth. Sulfur burps are those which smell of rotten eggs or sulfur. The smell comes from hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a gas which is present in sulfur proteins. Sulfur proteins are present in some foods and emitted after they are broken down in the small intestine or stomach by sulfur reducing microbes.
Foods that contain sulfur include poultry, red meats, dairy products (specially milk),vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, watercress, yams, cabbage, onions, pack choi, mustard, parsley, onions, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, tomatoes), legumes( peas, beans, soy, lentils, jicama, carob, alfalfa), avocadoes, bananas, watermelon, grain, nuts, seeds, tea and coffee, amino acids, whey proteins, Vitamins B1 and H. Certain medication may also contain sulfur.
- Medical reasons: The most serious and common cause are Helicobacter Pylori or Giardia. Helicobacter Pylori is a bacterium that causes chronic gastritis, gastric ulcers, abdominal bloating, burping and heartburn. This can be diagnosed by a urea breath test and treated with antibiotics. Giardia is a one cell parasite that causes bloating, diarrhea, and foul smelling burps. Poor hygiene, unclean water sources and oral-fecal transmissions are ways these infections can enter the body. Sulfur burps could be a symptom of either infection.
- Food reasons: The foods listed above all contain sulfur. This is also true for high protein diets. Acidity builds up when the stomach takes longer to process and expel a high protein meal. A chemical reaction occurs which creates hydrogen sulfide. This is also the reason why the body may feel bloated. The burps disappear once the hydrogen sulfide and protein is expelled.
- Prescription Medication: These may also cause sulfur burps. The prescription label will list the ingredients. If any contain sulfur you will have found the reason behind the sulfur smell of your burps.
- Other diseases: These include SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). This is when normal intestinal bacteria overgrows and causes burping, bloating, diarrhea or flatulence. SIBO may also be present in fructose malabsorption or lactose intolerance. In other diseases like Crohn's disease and celiac disease, food may not be digested completely and can be broken down by sulfur reducing bacteria that result in the production of hydrogen sulfide.
If you suffer from both sulfur burps and gas you may have a gallbladder or small intestinal problem. In this case, an endoscopy can be carried out to determine the cause. However, an endoscopy is not known to aggravate the condition.
Submitted by M T on July 24, 2013 at 11:36