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Swallowed Air - Topic Overview

Swallowing air may cause bloating, burping, gas, and abdominal pain. Swallowed air that is not released by burping passes through the digestive tract and is released as gas (flatus).

Babies often swallow air during feeding. It is important to burp your baby during and after feeding. Swallowed air may cause a baby to be upset and have colic behavior.

Recommended Related to Digestive Disorders

Chronic Constipation: Facts vs. Myths

Constipation, the most common digestive complaint in the U.S. population, can make life miserable. Not only does constipation make you feel bloated, headachy, and irritable, but relieving constipation -- especially long-term or chronic constipation -- is time consuming and expensive. Each year in the U.S., chronic constipation leads to around 2.5 million doctor visits -- and medication costs of many hundreds of millions of dollars.

Read the Chronic Constipation: Facts vs. Myths article > >

Aerophagia is a condition where large amounts of air are swallowed. It occurs most often in people who are very anxious or who have mental health problems. However, it also is seen in teenagers who want to show off their ability to burp loudly.

You can avoid swallowing air.

  • Take your time when you eat and drink. You are more likely to swallow air when you rush through meals or eat on the run.
    • Chew your food thoroughly before you swallow.
    • Avoid carbonated beverages, such as soda and beer, and do not drink through a straw.
  • Keep calm. Tension and anxiety can cause you to swallow air.
  • Do not chew gum.
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products.
  • If you wear dentures, make sure they fit properly. Have them readjusted if you have gained or lost weight.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 12, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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