Sulfur & Egg Smelling Burps Causes And Treatment

By Patricia | June 12, 2009

While burping is a completely normal way of expelling extra gas from the body, once in a while, you may burp gas that has a strong rotten egg or sulfur smell. These sulfur burps or “eggy burps” can be very embarrassing and unpleasant when you are in a social environment.

The terrible smell of sulfur burps is caused by hydrogen sulfide (H2S). The gas is known to originate from certain foods that contain sulfur proteins in them. During the process of digestion these proteins are broken down in the gastro-intestinal tract by sulfur-reducing microbes.

Sulfur burps affect people of all ages including children. Sulfur burps during pregnancy are also very common. This is majorly due to slower digestion that take place during pregnancy. If you experience sulfur burps along with diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, it is best to get treated immediately with the help of a medical professional. This is very important as these could be signs of an infection of the stomach or intestines or a condition such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome that requires prompt medical attention.

Causes:

The occurrences of eggy burps or sulfur burps are very common and the reasons for these are many. Mentioned below are some of the different and most common sulfur burp causes.

  • Gastro-intestinal infection caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria or Giardia, which is a parasite, is one of the major causes of sulfur burps. Both these infections result in severe symptoms and stomach problems such as ulcers, abdominal pain and cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. These infections are generally spread through poor hygiene, unclean water and oral-fecal transmissions.
  • Prescription medications can also cause eggy burps. If any of the ingredients in your medication contains sulfur, it may be the reason for those distressing sulfur burps.
  • Improper eating patterns such as eating heavy meals that are high in protein and sugar may sometimes lead to eggy burps. Heavy meals take longer time to digest and remain in the stomach and intestine for a longer time. This leads to the build up of hydrogen sulfide and the release of sulfur smelling burps and flatulence.
  • SIBO refers to Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth and can also cause sulfur burps. Under normal circumstances there is a delicate balance in the amount of intestinal flora or bacteria present. If you suffer from diseases such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease or even lactose intolerance, there may an overgrowth of such bacteria.

Foods That Cause Sulfur Burps

There are several foods that cause sulfur burps. Care should be taken before consuming certain foods at certain times of the day in order to avoid the occurrence of sulfur burps. For example high protein foods that are difficult to digest and stay in the stomach for longer create more hydrogen sulfide and produce bloating and eggy burps.

Both vegetarian and non vegetarian foods are responsible for sulfur burps. Among the vegetarian foods you could stay away from Sweet potatoes, Asparagus,Cabbage, Garlic, Onions, Tomatoes, Broccoli, Whey protein, peas, beans, soy and so on. Besides these vegetarian foods you should also avoid too much consumption of red meats, canned foods, eggs and dairy products. Beverages like tea, coffee and colas should also be avoided to some extent. Fruits like cashews, coconuts and bananas are known to trigger sulfur burps as well and should be avoided.

How to Get Rid of Eggy Burps:

  • Drink plenty of fluids to keep you hydrated and improve the digestive process
  • Drink clear herbal teas for a natural de-tox of your digestive tract
  • Avoid foods high in sugar such as cakes, candies, chocolates and sweet drinks
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption
  • Do not drink carbonated drinks including diet drinks that contain artificial sweeteners
  • Increase your intake of high fiber foods such as fresh fruit and whole grains
  • Stop eating canned, processed and ready-to-eat foods
  • An excellent home remedy to stop sulfur burps and improve your digestive health is to drink a glass of warm water with honey and lemon first thing every morning
  • If none of these steps work and the burps continues, consult with your doctor for some short-term medication. Pepto Bismol is a popular over-the-counter treatment for stomach problems. Containing Bismuth Subsalicylate, Pepto Bismol works by binding hydrogen sulfide in the digestive system and thereby reduces rotten smelling burps and gas. It should never be given to children and used only for two to three weeks at a time by adults.
  • If the cause of the burps is a bacterial infection, a course of antibiotic treatment may help.
  • If certain medications are creating the problem, speak to your doctor about alternatives but do not stop any medication before consulting your doctor first.
  • Diseases such as Crohn’s disease that may cause eggy burps need to be addressed and treated immediately.

Removing these sulfur-protein containing foods from your diet can go a long way in reducing rotten smelling burps.

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