The word sulfur almost always is associated with the smell of rotten eggs. Sulfur burps literally are burps that smell bad due to hydrogen sulfide gas that is released. Having a little gas in your stomach is normal but sulfur burps can be embarrassing when you’re around other people who may already gasp at the sound of a burp, let alone smelling rotten eggs along with it.
Burps are normal body reactions that are generally caused by gas that enters the stomach and the intestines through the mouth. It can also be gas caused by bacteria broken down in your gut from the food you eat. This is one way your digestive system releases gas. The other way is through the other end in the form of a fart.
Why Does It Smell Bad?
The condition of your gut health and digestive system is closely related to sulfur burps. Normal burps usually smell like the food you just ate. Flatulence is the state when your stomach is filled with hydrogen sulfide gas and causes sulfur burps and farts. Bad smelling burps and farts depend on what you eat and the bacteria it produces to break down the food. It is not a very pleasant condition even though it does not pose any major health risk. But you may want to take note of some gas causing factors that can minimize flatulence :
- Sulfur-rich food: high protein food, beer, garlic, onions, cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, green beans
- High-starch, high-fiber food: potatoes, yams, beans, pasta, corn, wheat, peas, barley, oats
- Dairy products: eggs, cheese, whole milk, or products containing lactose
- High-fructose: fruits, fruit juice, carbonated drinks, prunes
- Fatty food: fried foods
Other Gas Triggers
- Gum chewing
- Eating and Drinking too quickly
- Wearing tight clothes
- Ill-fitting dentures
- Eating huge meals
Underlying Causes of Flatulence
- Gastrointestinal Issues: GERD, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, food poisoning, Parasitic infections
- Stress and Anxiety
- Prescription Medication reaction
- Digestive Diseases: Crohn’s disease, Colitis, Celiac disease
Treatment and Prevention
Eat and chew food slowly. Drink Slowly.
Swallowed air while eating and drinking too quickly is one of the common causes of gas produced in the body. Learning how to chew food with the mouth closed is one way to prevent unnecessary air from being swallowed. Remember to savor your food sitting down and not always rushing mealtimes. Do not gulp your beverages no matter how thirsty you are. Avoid big heavy meals and practice eating small frequent meals a day.
Kick the chewing gum habit.
Chewing gum may keep your breath fresh for a while but doing so make you swallow air. Some use gum to cut back on snacking or smoking but end up gassier than others.
Keep track of allergies and food intolerances.
People have different sensitivities and reactions to certain food. Gas is one of the most common and annoying symptoms of food reactions aside from diarrhea. Doing a process of elimination diet wherein you eliminate every possible food that you may think you are allergic to and slowly introducing them back into your diet so you can pinpoint the gas culprit.
Wear proper fitting clothes.
Bloating comes along with flatulence. Tight fitting clothes constrict the stomach and make you feel uncomfortable. Loose fitting clothes allow gas to flow freely for you to burp up or pass through a fart.
Reduce consumption of gas-producing food.
A healthy and well-balanced diet is more important than getting rid of smelly gas. The key is balance and moderation. Avoid eating too much starchy food or food high in fiber as well as cruciferous vegetables that induce gas and sulfur in the digestive tract. These type of food ferment in your large intestines while they are broken down by bacteria causing smelly gas.
Smoking cigarettes basically is a motion of swallowing air. Whether you smoke real cigarettes or have switched to e-cigarettes or vaping, you are still swallowing lots of air as you smoke.
Drink plenty of water.
Water is a cure-all for many illnesses as well as flatulence. Drinking plenty of water cleans your digestive tract and helps in the elimination process of waste allowing stools to soften. Not drinking enough water leads to constipation, smelly farts, and sulfur burps.
Stay away from carbonated drinks.
Fizzy drinks may feel refreshing but will take a toll on your tummy with the amount of air carrying bubbles you drink.
Invest in probiotics.
Probiotics and prebiotics are supplements that contain healthy bacteria to help break down hard to digest food and eliminate hydrogen sulfide gas during digestion. At first, probiotics can cause some bloating but will eventually die down once the body gets used to the presence of more healthy bacteria.
Explore enzyme supplements.
Lactase enzyme supplements are readily available in the market today for those who have lactose intolerance. These enzymes help digest dairy products and at the same time improve the amount of gas produced in the gut.
Fix ill-fitting dentures
If your dentures are loose, this can cause you to swallow air whenever you talk.
Home Remedies You Can Try
- Herbal tea: Green tea and Peppermint tea are known to aid in digestion that’s why it is commonly served before and after meals in Chinese restaurants. It helps to remove toxins in the body as well Chamomile tea reduces sulfur burps and helps boost the immune system.
- Manuka honey. Honey, in general, is medically known to kill harmful bacteria in the digestive system. It protects the digestive lining and relieves symptoms of IBS.
- Baking soda. This pantry staple has many beneficial uses and is a natural remedy for heartburn, and bad breath. Just take a spoonful of baking soda and stir into a glass of water and drink to balance production of gastric juices and reduce sulfur burps.
- Apple cider vinegar. An apple cider vinegar tonic drinks a day can help the overgrowth of bacteria in your gut. As it improves the digestive system, it also reduces digestive disorders and smelly burps.
When Do You Need to See a Doctor?
If these home remedies do not seem to improve your sulfur burps along with some lifestyle changes, there may be other health issues and underlying reasons you may need to address. Check for the presence of these signs and symptoms accompanied by excess gas :
- Stomach pains
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood in stool
- Sudden weight loss
- Changes in body temperature