Everything you need to know about aerophagia

Aerofagia is a physiological phenomenon produced by excessive air intake in the digestive tract, especially during meals. The term literally means "to eat from the air". It is a minor digestive disorder, but it involves discomfort.

Often, it is responsible for the superior discharge of air, commonly known as belching. It should not be confused with gastroesophageal reflux, who has similar symptoms.

Aerophagia can be aggravated in the presence of other pathologies, such as dyspepsia, or abdominal swelling. In children, aerophagia is relatively common and has been linked to infant colic.

Causes of aerophagia

Normally, aerophagia results from an inadequate diet. It is usually related to the excessive consumption of carbonated and sugary drinks or certain foods, such as candy, bread crumbs or chewing gum.

It may even have its origin in bad habits during the meal, how to eat too fast. This favors the entry of a large amount of air into the digestive tract.

It can also occur due to anxiety problems, such as stress. From a pathological perspective, it is common in people who do not adequately coordinate the functions of swallowing and breathing. Which often occurs in people with mental disorders.


Aerophagia is manifested by a feeling of stomach heaviness, feeling of bloating and digestive problems. Belching, along with flatulence, is the way to relieve discomfort in digestion.

Between the symptoms of aerophagia are included:

  • Abdominal distension: caused by the pressure of the gases. Excess air causes the abdomen to be swollen. However, it can be confused with other symptoms.
  • Abdominal painSometimes, the pain is transferred to the lower area of ​​the sternum when the air is pressed both to the stomach and the heart. The pain can be confused with the pain that causes angina.
  • Intestinal noises: there are conditions that produce the symptoms of aerophagia. This is the case of gases that, in addition, give rise to noises in the intestine.
  • Eructation and meteorism without odor.

You may also be interested: How to reduce abdominal distension with 5 home remedies

Which is the diagnosis?

The diagnosis is established when the burps are repetitive and annoying, at least several times a week. In addition, the amount of air that is ingested is checked.

The fundamental thing in the diagnosis is to rule out organic pathologies such as diseases of the upper digestive tract, carbohydrate malabsorption, bacterial overgrowth and motility alterations, among others.

Read also: What happens in our body if we retain the gases?

Prevention of aerophagia

To prevent aerophagia, it is advisable to maintain a proper diet, chew slowly and avoid certain foods that favor inflammation, such as soft drinks, candy or chewing gum, among others.

If the swelling is due to stress, try to relieve anxiety with the appropriate treatment or reduce it with the regular practice of sport and relaxation. The symptoms of aerophagia usually disappear spontaneously once the responsible causes of the disorder are treated.


The treatment comprises a variety of measures to consider:

  • Chew well and slowly: Many people eat excessively, badly and quickly. This causes problems of weight gain and also of poor digestion. So one of the things you have to do to avoid and treat aerophagia is to eat and chew food more slowly.
  • Avoid copious meals: a healthy diet helps to avoid aerophagia. It is advisable not to take copious, very spicy meals or drink sodas.
  • Relax: There are people who hold nerves in the stomach. In this case, you have to release stress, leading a healthier life in a general way. For this it is good to exercise regularly and eat more fruit, fish and vegetables.
  • Take chamomile and other natural remedies: Certain natural products can alleviate some of the symptoms of aerophagia. Chamomile is the perfect natural remedy to treat and relieve gas.
  • Drinking water: it allows us a better hydration. In addition, with the intake of water, avoids the consumption of soft drinks that are not recommended.

On the other hand, performing an abdominal massage can help relieve this disorder of the digestive system that is sometimes so annoying.