When particular proteins are broken down in the digestive tract, this generates hydrogen sulfide gas which is expelled from your body in the form of sulfur "egg" burps. The shame you feel from burping is even greater when your burps smell bad. Burps that smell like rotten eggs can be caused by many different things, but luckily there are various effective ways to deal with them.
Burps Smelling Like Rotten Eggs, Why?
You may wonder exactly why you have these smelly burps and what you have done to bring them on. Here are some common reasons.
1. Certain Foods
Eating some types of food can leave you with burps that smell like rotten eggs. To reduce your risk of eggy burps, cut down on red meat, eggs, canned food, dairy products, garlic, onion, sweet potato, asparagus, tomato, broccoli, peas, beans, and soy. Fruit to avoid include bananas, coconuts and cashew nuts. Some beverages, such as tea, coffee and fizzy drinks, can also make you gassy.
2. Poor Eating Habits
Some dietary patterns can cause sulfur burps, for instance eating meals rich in protein and sugar. The bigger your meal, the longer it takes to digest and the longer it stays in your stomach and small intestine. This results in hydrogen sulfide accumulation within the gut, causing the expulsion of the smelly gases through burping and flatulence.
3. Prescribed Drugs
Certain medicines can give you sulfur burps, particularly if any of the ingredients within the medication contains sulfur compounds.
4. Gastrointestinal Infection
This infection is caused by a parasite and is one of the main causes for egg burps. It can cause abdominal pain, ulcers, cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. This infection is spread via unclean water, poor hygiene or oral - fecal transmission.
5. Sulfur Burp Causing Microorganism
Sulfur-reducing bacteria and other micro-organisms utilize sulfur compounds within food, producing hydrogen sulfide as an end product, which could give you burps that smell like rotten eggs. These bacteria include:
- Giardia lamblia, a one-cell parasite that can infect humans via food or water, leading to bloating, diarrhea, farting and unpleasant-smelling burps.
- Helicobacter pylori bacteria can cause gastric and duodenal ulcers, chronic gastritis, bloating in the upper abdomen, heartburn and smelly burps. Infection with H. pylori is diagnosed by a urea breath test and treated with antibiotics.
- The normal and necessary intestinal bacteria can also cause this problem. When these bacteria over produce, they can cause burping, farting, bloating or diarrhea. This is known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Patients who have fructose malabsorption or lactose intolerance may also experience problems with gut bacteria. Furthermore, some conditions, such as Crohn's disease and celiac disease, may limit digestion; therefore there is more undigested food for sulfur-reducing bacteria to break down, generating more hydrogen sulfide and smelly burps.
6. Other Causes
- Another reason for having egg burps is an empty colon. This may be due to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Fortunately, IBS is easy to treat, so you can control your symptoms.
- If you have gallbladder issues, or have had your gall bladder removed, this can lead to unpleasant burping.
- Stress and anxiety can also make you burp a lot, along with other gastrointestinal symptoms, such as acid reflux and hernia.
How to Get Rid of Burps That Smell Like Rotten Eggs
There are easy steps you can take to stop smelly burps. However if you suspect you have an underlying health condition, you should see a doctor.
1. Eat the Right Kind of Foods
Eliminate sulfur-containing food as much as possible. Choose high fiber foods, for example whole grains and fresh vegetables. Eliminate canned or processed food from your diet. Cut out any sugar-rich foods, such as candy, chocolate, and cake.
2. Get Enough Fluids
Drink lots of fluids to aid digestion and keep you hydrated. For a natural gut detox, try clear herbal teas. Drink a glass of warm water with added honey and lemon juice every morning to boost your digestion. Try to reduce the amount of alcohol you have, as well as carbonated soft drinks.
3. Take Medication with Care
If your burping is due to medication, ask your doctor about alternative treatments. However, don't stop taking the drugs without consulting your doctor first.
You can ask your doctor for short-term medication, such as Pepto Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate), a popular over-the-counter remedy for diarrhea. The drug binds to hydrogen sulfide in the gut, allowing the safe elimination of sulfur and hopefully eliminating burps that smell like rotten eggs. Unfortunately, Pepto Bismol often gives you black stools and a colored tongue. Besides, pepto Bismol should not be used in children. For adults, it should be used for no longer than 3 weeks.
4. Mind Underlying Diseases
- If you suspect you have celiac disease, try removing gluten products (rye, barley, wheat, etc.) from your diet.
- If you have symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, bloating, bloody stools and low body temperature, in addition to burps that smell like rotten eggs, you may have Crohn's disease. Speak to a gastroenterologist, who'll conduct tests.
- Patients who have previously had gastric reflux, stomach burning, peptic ulcer, or heartburn should ask for a breath test for H. pylori from a gastroenterologist. If it turns out positive, you'll be prescribed antibiotics.
- Antibiotics can also help with burping caused by other bacterial infections like SIBO. These can also be diagnosed with a breath test.
- Some patients' burping is due to a disorder termed as gastroparesis, where the stomach is slow to empty. Your doctor can perform a gastric emptying test to confirm this condition.
- If your symptoms are accompanied by bloating, excess unpleasant gassiness, or loose mucus-rich stools, you may be infected with Giardia parasites. You will be asked for a stool test, and if the result is positive, anti-parasitic drugs can be prescribed.
- Removing the gallbladder, for example to treat gallstones, can cure burping. To diagnose gallstones, abdominal ultrasound and other gallbladder tests can be performed.