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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.

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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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: July 05, 2013
    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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