After a good heavy meal or after you have some lime soda, you let out a big, loud burp! This causes everyone around to shoot a look at you. At that point, you may have been wondering if you could have gone easy on the food.
Burps are certainly funny when they are loud and sometimes embarrassing. Some of you may have also had contests to see who burps the loudest.
But have you ever been curious about why you burp? How does your body produce burps? Read on to find out.
Why do we burp?
When we eat or laugh or talk everyday, we tend to swallow some air. This air enters through our mouth, into the food pipe ( also called the oesophagus – read: ee-so-fay-gus) and then into the stomach. Every time you swallow food, around a tablespoon worth of air also enters our stomach.
Now, the stomach can take only a certain quantity of air inside it. If there is excess air, your stomach tends to bloat. To avoid that from happening, your stomach tends to push out the extra air the way it came in.
It comes from the stomach and through the upper part of the food pipe and a small projection called the epiglottis and out of your mouth.
That’s a new word, right? Now, what is the epiglottis? We’ll show you.
Go to the mirror. Open your mouth really wide and say “aaaah”. Do you see a small projection near the beginning of the throat? That small piece of flesh is called the epiglottis. It’s mostly closed and helps regulate the air & food that enter the windpipe and food pipe.
The epiglottis acts like a traffic controller and lets out the excess air from the oesophagus through the mouth.
The muscles in action while you burp are: the diaphragm ( the muscle under your ribs) and the muscles in the front of the stomach, which are also called abs. Understanding the explanation behind why we burp might make you think of a similar question, ‘why do we fart?’.
Sometimes, burps are very loud!
The noise that is made when you burp comes from gas that is trapped in your stomach and the food pipe, when its opening is shut. The air that is trapped is under pressure to move out. Especially when there is a lot of it. That’s when you feel like burping.
So when you burp out the extra air, it makes the surface of the upper part of your food pipe vibrate.
The feeling is similar to windows that rattle during a windy night, right?
Now that you know how burps are caused and why they are sometimes embarrassingly loud, you need to know when you tend to burp too much and the causes.
Before we dive into the causes, let us tell you that we all can burp up to 30 times a day and that’s very normal! Sometimes, you swallow too much air, it causes more air to go into the stomach through your food pipe to your stomach. This causes you to belch out several burps one after the other.
There could be many reasons for that.
However, you must not hold burps in. It might end up making your tummy bulge and hurt you badly.
Burping has a lot to do with the food that you eat. In case you have already noticed, if you have a lot of sugar, soda or even vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower or even broccoli, you tend to burp more . While it’s not entirely in your control, it would do you a lot of good to keep these foods under control if you want to prevent burping too much.
To revise what all you have learnt about burps and burping, here is a song that you can sing.
I burped, excuse me!
I burped, excuse me!
It’s my dinner, not me!
It’s my dinner, not me.
Sodas and French Fries
They caught me by surprise!
Holding it in, is in vain.
And my stomach would be in pain.
So I burped, excuse me.
I burped, excuse me.
Did you enjoy learning the new song? What else would you like to know about how the human body works? Tell us in the comments below.
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Aparna is a mom, singer and dreamer. At BYJU'S, she writes stories about learning for children. She believes in the power of music, especially ghazal, the magic of the universe and happy learners. When not writing or singing, you will find her intensely engaged in conversations about life and the power of words.
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