Blowing Up: Dysfunction of the burp reflex

There’s a condition which appears to affect a surprisingly large number of people, including myself, yet hardly anyone knows about. It’s known informally as dysfunction of the burp (or belch) reflex, or DBR. Yes, that’s an inability to burp. This may sound like a blessing to long-suffering partners of loud and proud belchers who can burp the whole alphabet, but it deserves more attention than it’s currently getting, which is usually just scoffs of derision and a prescription for antacids.

Want DBR explained in pictures instead (with some words)? Check out my Illustrated Guide.

It’s not totally clear what the cause is and it may differ in sufferers, but it seems that it’s likely due to a problem with the upper oesophageal sphincter. This is a ring of muscle which sits at the higher end of the oesophagus, or food pipe.

Dysfunction of the burp reflex appears to involve the upper oesophageal sphincter

It relaxes to allow food in, and excess gas out. When pressure from gas in the stomach is high enough, the gas moves from the stomach past the lower oesophageal sphincter into the oesophagus, which causes the oesophagus to stretch. This stretching should lead to the upper oesophageal sphincter relaxing to allow the gas to escape, a process known as eructation (the posh term for burping, basically). In DBR sufferers this doesn’t occur and the gas rumbles around in the oesophagus before returning to the stomach after swallowing, leading to bloating.

It’s not just uncomfortable bloating that can result from not burping, but outright pain according to a whole load of posts on the subject on medhelp.org, where the world’s sufferers seem to have all gathered to vent (boom boom). Having that gas in there all the time also leads to embarrassing throat “croaks” as it moves up to where it would usually be ejected but finds no exit, resulting in it moving around the oesophagus and causing gurgling noises. Often in a quiet meeting room, lecture hall or during a minute’s silence. Damn you, gas!!

There’s yet another embarrassing symptom. The gas has to escape somewhere, and if you can’t burp normally it’ll become flatus, or a “bottom burp”. So on top of the discomfort, sufferers must accept that they’ll parp more than average. Fun times for all!

On a more serious note, some DBR sufferers have reported symptoms so severe that they can’t enjoy themselves when they go out, as any intake of food or drink (carbonated or not) leads to extreme bloating and even chest pain. In some this can be relieved by lying down flat or by activating the gag reflex (think finger down throat) to cause a forceful and disturbingly loud ejection of the gas, but according to a survey on a (now seemingly abandoned) Facebook page dedicated to DBR which I stumbled upon recently, some can’t get any relief whatsoever. Constant pain and discomfort can be classified as detrimental to quality of life. For those who don’t suffer from this condition, try holding out from burping for as long as possible after a can of coke. Think of that discomfort, and times it by 100.

Is there anything that can help, then? Aside from the methods listed above and avoiding foods which cause bloating, there is one drug which may help. This is domperidone, a dopamine receptor antagonist. It acts on dopamine receptors in the upper part of the digestive system to increase the speed the stomach empties and also increase the tightness of the lower oesophageal sphincter (it also reduces feelings of nausea, which is its main indication). The result is that the stomach gas doesn’t go into the oesophagus, reducing that horrible pressure and throat croak, and the stomach emptying faster means that the gas goes into the intestines which relieves the pressure on the chest. Domperidone was available over the counter as Motilium for a few years in the UK, but last year it was found to be linked with an increased risk of cardiac side effects and was reclassified to prescription-only. Even worse, bloating has been removed from the licensed indications list, meaning that doctors can only really prescribe it for nausea and vomiting.

Research papers about this condition are mainly from the ’80s and ’90s, with one Japanese case documented in 2003 appearing to be the most recent. Surely there must be a gastroenterologist or PhD student who can do some much needed research into this neglected area? I’m first in line to volunteer for manometric tests and so forth, and there won’t be a shortage of others. Research will let the medical profession know that this is a real condition that needs management, and could lead to certain medicines (such as domperidone) gaining a product license to treat it. Please help us, we’re blowing up!

If you’re after more info on DBR, please see the newer post Dysfunction of the Burp Reflex 2: The Cricopharyngeus Muscle.

150 thoughts on “Blowing Up: Dysfunction of the burp reflex

  1. Just wanted to say that you are not alone. I think it has some relation with being anxious about being able to burp in the first place. Its a viscous cycle. The one way i think to break the cycle would be to not care about it at all (very hard to do especially if you in discomfort). Ive been suffering from this for a very long time. It started after i was ‘too conscious’ about the food i eat after i went to a place where the food hygiene was horrible. Anyway, it all started from then and ever since that it has been going on for years and i dont know what to do. Wish i knew how to break the cycle… Do not worry you’ll get out of it one day… Thanks

    1. Thanks for your comment, John. I would agree that anxiety would play a part in the condition for some sufferers. As yours stems from a very specific negative experience, maybe some cognitive behavioural therapy might help with alleviating the anxiety associated with food?

      I hope you’re able to get some relief from your DBR soon.

  2. I have been suffering with this for around 10 years now, some bouts so painful that the pain is resonated into my back and can immobilize me, sometimes even for a couple of days at a time before anything subsides! The pain in the stomach can be excruciating and the gas constantly uncomfortable. A few times i think i had a weeks worth of this little F**ker! I have seen 2 specialists, had 2 endoscopy’s, 1 ultrasound, 1 manometry test, and still, i am told that there is nothing that i can do. After years of trying to find out what was going on, the last doctor who gave me the manometry test said he had never seen anything like it before, and that when it comes to gas (food and drink is fine) my upper “sphincter” (which he said isn’t actually a sphincter, but where the diaphragm crosses the esophagus) wont relax to relieve the air. He said there wasn’t a name for the condition, and all he could label it as was a “non relaxing upper esophageal sphincter”. He also said there was nothing that can be done!! Seemed like a swift and unjust end to a long battle…. It just doesn’t seem right to me, and i don’t feel like every rock has been turned for a solution. So now I live my life with this problem waiting to happen around any corner and it can really play with my emotions and quality of life, not to mention all the embarrassment that comes with it! As John said also, the anxiety and stress levels play important roles, and can be a vicious circle. Every now and then i find myself trying to do my own research but just get lost in all the lingo and science, it would be nice if there was someone who knew their stuff that dedicated some time to studying this condition. I know there are a lot of people that cant burp, a few of my friends do the gag trick and stick their fingers down their throats but ultimately that will just lead to hiatus hernia and acid reflux, and if there are other people like me that suffer badly from it then I’m sure i am not alone in wanting some help, any help, good help, to help recover when the times get bad. If this really does affect a lot of people, why is there nothing on it!? seems crazy, and if that’s the case, how do we go about changing it?

    1. Hi Nick, thanks for your comment. I really sympathise with your situation – it seems mad that in this day and age no doctor has been able to find any solution to what seems like a simple condition, at least compared with a lot of other diseases! Maybe it is because it is considered trivial that it’s been so neglected. Since writing this post I’ve continued to try and find out more about the cause and possible solutions to the DBR problem, but there is a frustrating lack of research in the area. It is fascinating that a doctor found your case is related to where the diaphragm and oesophagus meet, which appears to me to possibly be the oesophageal hiatus. This is different to the area I thought was associated with DBR, since the oesophagus crosses the diaphragm at the LOWER oesophageal sphincter – normally a tightening here would lead to less trapped wind in the oesophagus, as the gas would stay in the stomach. It sounds like your pain would probably be from the stretching of the stomach itself rather than the over stretching of the oesophagus as it is in my case and that of some others (if you haven’t already please see my Illustrated Guide for an explanation on which sphincter does what). It’s really sad that no one has offered you anything to relieve it. For now the only relief I’ve found, apart from the forced gagging that you’ve mentioned, is the drug domperidone which I talked about in the post. I have also read that surgery or injections of botulinum toxin (botox) into the upper oesophageal sphincter have given temporary relief to some sufferers.

      When I wrote my post on DBR last year, I didn’t really think that anyone would pay much attention to it. Since then I’ve seen the most traffic to my blog come to this one post. Seeing how much others – and there really are many others from what I’ve found – are suffering is spurring me on to try and do something more about this. It would help if a large number of people with the condition were able to give their accounts together in a controlled way – as sufferers seem to be rare in any given area, health professionals don’t come across it and it’s a complete mystery to them. I don’t know anyone else with this condition personally! I have recently considered writing to some prominent gastroenterologists about it and seeing if any of them take it seriously. One particular specialist gastroenterologist whose name crops up often is Dr Reza Shaker, who mentioned DBR in a paper in 2013. Perhaps contacting him might be a good start?

      1. I’ve had this problem since I was 14 or so. I’m 76 now and have found nothing that helps and no doctor that could offer anything.
        Heck, my Dad was a doctor and he had nothing. I hope you can find something for the younger sufferers as it is hell to live with.

  3. Thanks for the post. I have visited that Facebook page and the medhelp page countless times to see if anyone has found a cure for this dysfunction. I have tried Niacin as a few have mentioned with no success, I have had an endoscopy with no results from a Dr who just didn’t care that much, and just recently have contacted a Dr Robert Bastian in Illinois about Botox injections to relax the UES. I am still awaiting a response and will post anything that I learn. As you can see, I will try anything to figure this out and be cured from this horrible problem. Like many, I have experienced one or two extremely small burps a year, but nothing that relieves the pressure that I experience if drinking carbonated beverages. It really is a serious burden that many do not take seriously, so thanks again for your post. I am seeing more and more blogs and information about DBR, so hoping we can get to the bottom of this.

    Matt

    1. Thanks for your comment, Matt. I’m noticing a trend of healthcare professionals not taking this condition seriously, but like you I have seen more info popping up on the web and more of us sufferers coming forward. Hopefully this will lead to us to some answers! All the best with your continued search for relief from your DBR, and I look forward to hearing about any progress you make.

      1. I have been suffering from this for over 40 years and have never met anyone else with even similar symptoms. In the past few years, I’ve approached several GI doctors and even my PCP about it. Of course, none have ever heard of it. I would give anything to be free of it!!!

        1. I feel the same way, Billie! I’m currently trying to get in contact with some gastroenterologists myself, and I’ll post an update if I get anywhere.

          1. Awesome! I have an appointment next week with my GI. Had another CAT scan last week. I pray she finds something. This needs to be studied and something found to help us!

          2. All the best with your results, and I hope that something positive comes out of it! If you don’t mind it would be great to hear how it went.

      2. Hello Hanamogeraed, I had the procedure done this morning by Dr Bastian and will report everything in the days to come. He is 21/21 with success so far. If all goes as planned, I should start having microburps tomorrow.

          1. I had the procedure done yesterday too. I was number 21. Are you experiencing a feeling of a big ball in your throat? I’m having what feels like even more gurgling than normal and the ball in my throat is almost trapping the air. It’s definitely harder to swallow today like he said to expect. Would love to know your experience today.

          2. Hello,

            I believe I was 22, so congrats…. So far, I feel real slight micro micro burps. Nothing great so far, but exactly as others described. My throat was sore overnight, but is really feeling much better today. I am not experiencing a huge lump in the throat feeling, but do feel the need to chase food down with some water as he mentioned that I would. So far, I am keeping my fingers crossed and have absolutely no regrets with getting the procedure done. I will keep you posted and please do the same. Thanks

    2. Curious if you were able to go see Dr.Bastian? My daughter has the same issue and we are flying to Illinois to have the Botox procedure done in a couple of weeks. Would appreciate any feedback if you had it done
      Thanks!

      1. Have not seen Dr. Bastien. I called – and was told that one person had a successful result of the botox injection. It is not an approved procedure, and not covered by insurance. Please correct me if I am mistaken on these points. I may see him at some point down the road – – right now busy with family, travels, etc – – – hard to take the time to see about yourself! Please keep us informed on how your daughter is doing. How old is she? You will be in my thoughts and wishing you the best.

        1. Thank you!
          We made the trip to Chicago to see Dr.Bastian. My daughter is 16, had the procedure done this morning so we won’t know for a few days if it worked but I will definitely post an update in a few days.
          My daughter was his 12th patient for this particular procedure and so far he has 100% success.
          Our insurance does cover 80% so we figured it was worth trying. I’m hoping he can bring relief to so many more who suffer from this.

          1. Yes, please do. Very happy to hear that there have been 12 patients with 100% success. Praying that it works for your daughter.

          2. The procedure definitely works! My daughter just had it done yesterday and she is already burping!!!
            We highly recommend Dr.Bastian!

          3. That’s amazing! I already called the doc for more info so thank you for sharing! Is she having any gurgling still? Is her throats numb or can she feel any difference or feel and side effects? And if you don’t mind me asking what health insurance do you have and was it expensive to have the procedure done?

          4. That is absolutely great to hear. I am going to reach out to Dr Bastian immediately. I know you said insurance covered 80%, but could you let me know what the cost was, and is it permanent? Thank you so much

          5. We have blue cross insurance and ours covers 80% of the procedure. If I remember correctly, the procedure is around $5000. Dr.Bastian had said that so far nobody has needed a second round of Botox and that it “resets” the esophagus.
            My daughter is doing well and the gurgling is gone! She does feel some minor side affects…she feels like it’s hard to swallow and that when she does swallow she needs a chaser to get food down, and that she feels the urge to burp a lot. Also that it feels like she has lots of bubbles in her throat and she can’t get them to go down.
            These were all mentioned during our consultation and only last a few weeks.

          6. Thank you. I am flying to Chicago to have a consultation on March 7th and Surgery on March 8th with Dr Bastian. Is your daughter happy that she had the procedure done and was it worth it in her opinion? Thanks again!

          7. Hi Shanna,
            How is your daughter doing? Do you feel the procedure was successful? I’m going to Chicago on the 10th of April, so anxious of hear of the experiences of those who’ve undergone the Botox treatment. Thank you.

        1. I had the procedure done this morning by Dr Bastian. I will report my progress in the days to come. He is located in Downers Grove, Illinois.

          1. Great to hear, Matt! Looking forward to reports. I’m currently finishing off a post about the theory behind the procedure, and can hopefully supplement it with firsthand reports from those like yourself!

  4. I am in grad school for speech pathology and just finished a course on dysphagia (swallowing disorders). Well with knowledge of this new information, I diagnosed myself with a nonrelaxing upper esophageal sphincter! I am not a medical doctor or even a qualified speech pathologist yet but I know that anatomically, to improve the opening of the UES, there needs to be greater hyoid movement superiorly and forward. As the hyoid bone moves up and forward during a swallow, the UES opens. So it makes sense that if that is improved, the UES opening will increase therefore allowing gas to release from the esophagus into the pharynx and out thru the oral cavity. Of course there could be a number of esophagus issues that have nothing to do with the UES but without enduring evaluations, we won’t know what’s actually going on. Assuming the problem is at the level of the UES, there are exercises we do to improve that function. One excercise is using a straw–pinch one end so air won’t escape when you suck on the other end…and practice sucking on the straw as if you were sucking a thick milkshake. Practice 20 sucks 2-3 times a day. Another exercise is practice putting your tongue at the roof of your mouth while squeezing your neck muscles.

    1. Hi Anna, thanks a lot for your input! It makes a lot of sense that studying speech pathology could help in this area. It doesn’t seem like it would do any harm to try the exercises you have suggested – I’ll give it a go and see if there’s any change!

  5. I inherited this “DBR” from my father (neither of us cannot burp naturally and he cannot even throw up). Also, I’ve realized that just thinking about it and dwelling on the nerves and anxiety of it for some reason makes it worse for me. I have no idea at all why this is, but I swear it is the strangest thing about my body. If I become nervous about anything, I feel bloated and feel the need to pass gas; it’s awful, and I fear it is linked to this DBR as well. Does anyone else experience this phenomena?

    1. Thanks for your comment Nicholas. I’ve found it interesting that a few people (not many) have a family member with DBR, even though it is very uncommon. I wonder what the probability of passing it to your children is!

      I would say that in my case, I’m generally not that anxious about the DBR as I’ve had it all my life. However if I have a bad case of it when I’m out I find I may end up swallowing more, which perpetuates this horrible cycle where the gas just builds. This can also happen because the bloating in the stomach sometimes causes water brash, where lots of saliva is produced in response to excess stomach acid/stomach upset in order to dilute the acid. Once that happens I know I’m in masses of trouble.

      Anxiety will more likely cause me bloating at the other end as I also have irritable bowel syndrome. It’s all gastro fun for me!!

      1. Yeah, I agree. Not sure how common it is. In my case, neither my parents or kids have DBR. I am hoping that somebody out there figures this out very soon as it is frustrating as hell.

        Thanks.

        1. I’m not related to anyone else with it either, Matthew!

          As for answers, there doesn’t seem like there will be any soon sadly. I emailed a professor of gastroenterology at Nottingham University (where their department is the best in the field in the UK, I was told by a doctor friend) about whether his department might be interested in research, but I only got a reply saying that I should get a referral to a gastro department at hospital through the usual means. Very disappointing.

          1. I’m disappointed to report that the new GI Dr didn’t work out. She put me on an anxiety med then when I went back with that not helping, she wanted to put me on Valium. I tried the anxiety med, but will not do Valium! She also said I needed to quit using straws. To stop any extra air. I went without a for 2 weeks with no change in the DBR. I do know that stress and anxiety makes it much worse.

          2. Thanks for the update, Billie. It’s a shame it hasn’t helped. It seems that the doctor considered that anxiety may be the cause of the DBR and bloating which is a different take on it, but it doesn’t seem to have worked for you. It’s difficult as some sufferers have anxiety because of the DBR, and the anxiety can in turn make it worse and it leads to a self-perpetuating cycle.

            What we really need is research into upper oesophageal sphincter dysfunction itself. Still waiting for gastro researchers to get on it!!

          3. When the DBR starts, my anxiety level goes up which only exacerbates the DBR even more. Until this board, I had never heard of anyone else experiencing what I go thru.

          4. At least we can try to support each other here, even if the GI doctors can’t! Thanks for your continued input Billie. I hope we can find some answers eventually.

  6. I suffer the same thing. Its a horrible feeling. Domparidone helped somewhat but wasn’t able to tolerate it so taken off it. Developed tremors and palpitations.

  7. My son, who is 10, has suffered with this all his life. It’s very distressing for him and I have no answers for him which I find very upsetting.

    1. Sorry to hear that your son is having problems with DBR, Teresa. If you’ve seen doctors to no avail, then I can only suggest the preventative measures of avoiding carbonated drinks and any known trigger foods, and lying him flat on his back if possible when the symptoms are bad. It is extremely frustrating that all we can currently do is learn to live with it, but unfortunately that’s what we must do due to lack of research into the area. I wish you and your son all the best.

  8. Wow, that k you for writing this. I have the same problem but with the nausea and vomiting. If I eat and drink ( even water) it sits high in my stomach, near my throat ND breast ,and with out warning up it comes. This discomfort of feeling I need to burp but can’t is worse then the vomiting. It is like a big Ballon is there and needs to pop and I can’t make it. You are the only one I found to describe it the way I have it

    1. Thanks for commenting, Amanda. DBR can cause some terrible symptoms, and yours sound even worse than I’ve heard before. I really hope that you can find some answers for your problem, and I’ll continue searching for them in the meantime!

  9. I am so happy I found this. I have been having the same issues for a few years and now have acid reflux. I fill up with gas so much I get chest pains and have to lay on my side. I’ve seen my doctor and was put on anxiety meds and had to see a cardiologist for my chest pain. I’ve noticed it gets bad when I eat any type of bread and carrots. I just had a horrible episode after eating 2 cinnamon raisin Bagels with cream cheese. I am so tired of not being able to burp and no doctor knows how to help me. People think I am crazy that I can’t burp like a normal person. I look forward to reading more so I can find better ways to expel the gas. I’m constantly bloated after I eat and need something to figure this out so thank you for this site..

    1. Thanks for your comment, Dawn. I know I can’t currently help very much, but I’m really glad that some of you out there are finding my post helpful in some way! Even if it’s just to tell you that you’re not alone. I hope to be able to update this series on DBR with more info soon! All the best.

  10. So after almost a year of this and many tests, my doctor found out (through a stomach emptying test) that I have esophageal reflux. So Im like Yes! Finally an answer after so many other tests. So I stumbled upon your website and I’m just crying to find out that there’s nothing that can be done.
    I’m wondering how this started for you guys. It happened to me after taking apple cider vinegar with a calcium magnesium supplement. Wondering if ACV could have caused this for anyone else. The medication that you guys are mentioning on here and it’s side affects are disheartening. I also used to take cymbalta, so I’m wondering if that could have been a cause.
    Would love to hear your feedback.
    ~Rachel

  11. After fifteen years I finally know what’s up with me, thank you for this. I think I’m a fairly mild case for now — I have the embarrassing croaks, I can’t burp, haven’t thrown up in 19 years, sometimes I have problems swallowing (even just my saliva) so I kinda choke on it, but I’m not in any pain on a regular basis. Sometimes my chest will hurt (especially if I laugh or take deep breaths) but it usually subsides within a day and it hasn’t happened in a while. I didn’t think all of these symptoms would be related but it’s so obvious now.

    In my case, the croaking usually happens when I’m stressed out, and doesn’t look like it’s linked to any food in particular. Weird, huh? It was real awesome to croak during quiet exam periods in high school.

  12. It’s taken many years of wondering what the hell is going on with me on nights out. I originally thought it was indigestion but having no comfort from indigestion tablets and liquids. I’ve tried all the ol’ wives tales to get rid of painful hiccups and tightness in the chest. Those explosive gas expellsions after sometimes hours of agonising pain really are effective for relief (albeit very disgusting lol). The croaking in my throat after feeling gas come up and seem to simply vanish… In fact most of the symptoms above I have experienced. I can be sick, or maybe it’s because the build up of gas pressure becomes so much it pushes solids/liquids up(?)
    Just got in from another rare night out with friends, sad to say that my dysfunctional episode gets me everytime (hence how we found this forum) :( I have just laid on the floor with my back straight and have to say it has relieved it… for now at least.
    Thank you all for your advice and experiences, I thought I was the only one. More people like us sharing will hopefully allow it to become more recognised. Good luck :)

    1. I have DBR, it started about ten years ago, getting worst and worst everyday. After seeing all the doctors and specialists I decided to take matters into my own hands. Become more proactive with my own care. I read and I try. The DBR was so bad it had me on my back three to four times a day. One doctor even wanted to do bypass surgery on me. After trial and error I found out what works for me. Very Simple household products, One half teaspoon of baking soda and one quarter teaspoon of ginger in 1 cup of warm before I eat and after I eat. After drinking this within five minutes I will burp completely relieving all pressure and pain. All I can say it works for me!

  13. Im a 28 years old woman and i have suffered this for almost 10 years. Trying to figure out what can help, I’ve tried the exercises Anna wrote on this thread (i tried it before reading it) but the difference is that i inhale air and close the throat so no air can go in. It doesnt relieve the pain when it started or relieves the gas once it started, but i have seen a little progress in my inhability to burp. Now im able to burp sometimes and it goes out like an hiccup. I just have to keep breathing slowly until it comes out. Sometimes i still cant burp though. Hope it can help somebody. And im not even sorry for my bad english since is not my first language :)

  14. Thank you for providing this forum. I’m 63 and this is the first time I’ve posted here. I’ve never been able to burp. I come from a large family and no one else has this problem and neither do my children. In the past 20 years or so it has gotten progressively worse. Gurgles, growls, croaks, and very often extreme chest pain. My primary care doctor pretty much told me there is no such thing as not being able to burp. I had an endoscopy that showed esophageal damage from acid reflux and a barium swallow which was normal. In my situation, I’d say my social anxiety is caused by the inability to burp and the anticipation of the inevitable chest pain and tormenting hiccups that I know will happen. And it happens every single time. While it is socially debilitating, it also happens at home when there is no reason to have stress and anxiety. I have discovered several things that seem to exacerbate the build up of gas – sugar for one, onions, spicy food and of course beer and carbonated beverages are off limits always. Staying away from these foods and drinks doesn’t prevent the build up of gas, but it seems to be worse with them. I have to gag myself several times a week, and can only imagine the damage I must be doing to my esophagus but if I don’t get the gas out my chest feels like it is going to explode. The pain is sometimes excruciating. When I gag myself, it’s not just a release of gas — it is an explosion of gas and just the process of forcing my UES open is painful. I experienced a horrendous situation a year ago when I contracted food poisoning and while I did vomit, it was projectile – – – and I was crying constantly from the pain. It was very apparent that my UES did not want to open.
    This problem is a daily battle and has had a huge impact on my quality of life. I have a wonderful husband and great family support. I just wish there was something I could do other than damage my esophagus by gagging to relieve the pressure. It’s embarrassing and not at all humorous. Please, please, please put me on any mailing list for updates to possible treatments or better yet — cures for this curse.

  15. I wrote to Dr. Reza Shaker and got a response. He said it sounds like defective esophagus and needs to be confirmed with manometry and air stimulation. Has anyone had this test before?

  16. I just want to share this — there is a gas relief and prevention product – I am using the Equate label, which I think is the Wal-Mart brand. It is Equate Gas Relief and Prevention. The active ingredient is 600 GALU (?) of Alpha-galactosidase enzyme. My experience with this product is pretty positive for helping to reduce the amount of gas that stays in the upper GI. If I take one capsule as soon as the gurgling starts (usually mid-morning or noon), I find that the gas is better able to migrate down into my lower GI tract, and consequently out the back door. I don’t know why it seems to work – – – it just does. It doesn’t completely prevent the build up of gas in my esophagus, but it is certainly less severe.

    1. Thanks for all your comments, JK.

      It’s great that you heard back from Dr Shaker! I’ve never had the tests that he mentioned before, but I understand that manometry is a very common test for checking lower oesophageal sphincter function.

      Thanks also for sharing about a product which works for you. We don’t have Equate Gas Relief here, but after a quick Google I found that the active ingredient is actually simeticone, which in the UK you can get in Deflatine and generic wind relief tablets. It works by breaking down smaller gas bubbles and forming them into larger ones, which are more easily passed. I’ve found in the past that the tablets actually made my symptoms way worse! It’s great that they work for you though. I haven’t tried alpha-galactosidase enzyme, but it appears that it may help relieve gas by helping to break down certain problem foods composed of complex carbohydrates that are found in vegetables and beans for example. I would expect it to help more with gas in the lower intestine because of this action.

      I wish you all the best with your ongoing hunt for solutions, and with any tests that you may have. Please keep us updated if you can! I’ll certainly let you know if I learn anything new. Many thanks.

  17. Im 20 yrs old and I’ve never been able to burp for as long as i can remember, its always just been the gurgling noise and deep sounding hiccups. I always feel bloated, but never really in pain from it, except for the occasional heart burn. I’ve never thought of it being an actual condition though, simply assuming that I was just weird, its good to know I’m not the only one that is like this.

    Thank you for all the information provided, it has been really heplful to know the extent of what i have.

    – Emily

  18. I am a 31 yr old female and can’t remember a time when I didn’t have these symptoms. I’m in constant discomfort from the croaking and trapped air all day no matter what I eat or drink. The only relief I have found is lying on my back or my right side. I have taken the following tests: endoscopy, barium swallow with liquids and then again with solids, an esophageal manometry (where you have a tube put down your nose into your stomach and have to drink water) and a 24 hour esophageal pH study (where a tube is put in through your nose and down into your stomach for 24 hours to measure acid reflux levels). All have come back with no major issues showing. I do have a Haitial hernia but I was told this is not contributing to the issue.

    I have tried many gas reliving meds and also was put on Ritalin for a short time and none have helped.

    I have been to many specialists and surgeons in Los Angeles and spent tons of money on these tests being told over and over there were no obvious issues. One doctor said “have you ever thought that maybe this is just how your body works?” I never went back to him.

    Reading this and other posts I could find, I do think it is the UES as i have never been able to burp. I came across a guy who posted named Steven who has found some excercises he taught himself to help teach yourself how to burp and apparently after him having the same issues his whole life he is now cured. He told me to try the exercises and that to give them time as they may take 5 or so weeks to work. He didn’t find relief immediately but has now been cured for years.

    Basically when relaxed or at their normal state, a regular persons throat rests open. I now notice that mine is always closed. I believe that this may be a result from a couple things- when I was born, my throat was underdeveloped so I always spit up my food. When I was little (3-8 yrs old maybe) I used to throw up a lot and I think I developed a fear of throwing up so subconsciously always tried to tighten my throat to keep my food down.

    So now I notice that When I lay on my back, my throat then can relax and be open which is why the croaking is relieved. If you take a sip of water you may notice that your throat opens to take in the water and then will close back up again and stay closed. But I have found that if I focus on it, I can try to keep my throat open and not allow it to close back up which should help the trapped gas move more freely and hopefully turn into a burp. Steven gave me and exercise to try to help keep the throat open and therefore he is now able to burp. It’s a funny long-burp sounding noise you make in the back of your throat to help relax your throat. Almost like a vibration in your throat. I have only been trying for a week but have had maybe four small burps which is more than I would normally have in a year so I am hopeful. I had a big Christmas Eve dinner last night and really focused on keeping my throat open all day and didn’t have any croaking after dinner! So I will continue to try these excercises and let you all know my progress and if it will work for the long run. If you want me to forward you my emails that Steven sent me to help explain it better feel free to email me at shawnrochelleslater@gmail.com

    I would also like to know how the Botox works out. I have heard that dialating your UES may be something to talk to a specialist about but I know it’s risky. I would do anything to make this discomfort go away though so please keep the posts and updates coming!

  19. I am a nearly 37 year old woman. I have been experiencing thesee “throat noises ” my entire life. So embarrassing as a kid/teen. Mortifying during quiet classes.
    I don’t know if anyone else has been diagnosed with “digestive system issues”. I was told I had IBS my whole life but two years ago was diagnosed with Celiac Disease via positive biopsy results.
    The chest pain and throat sounds have gotten worst for me recently which is very frustrating as I can’t figure out why there is a sudden increase in frequency and discomfort. I have gone long periods of time where it doesn’t happen at all. My family doctor is sending me to a cardiologist for a stress test to rule out any heart issue although he tells he really doubts that is the problem. He thinks my pain is muscular in nature. All I know is the chest pain has come along with increase in these “throat sounds”. I have never been able to burp, maybe 1 or 2 times a year and my youngest son (11) is the same way.
    I also have an anxiety problem which seems to be pretty common on this thread.
    If anybody has found some magic solution I’d love to hear it :)

  20. WOW! I am an Indonesian and I have never met anyone has the same burping problem here. Not even one, really. I got so confused that I think I actually can burp and I just have to learn. But finally I found a lot of useful information in this page and now I know that I’m not the only one experiencing all these disturbing symptoms. A few days ago, I met a gastroenterology specialist doctor in a hospital. I expected a satisfying consultation with a specialist, but all I got were just an ignorant response and some medicine without any explanation! I was very disappointed that I have spent a lot of money for that. It’s not worth it, really. I would have just search on the internet for a much more satisfying information.
    Thank you so much :)

    1. Thanks for commenting, Nita. I really pleased that you found this page helpful! I hope that you can a more sympathetic and useful response from a doctor next time.

  21. Wow! I’m almost in tears I’m so excited to have found this post! I have suffered for so long with no one knowing what I’m talking about. It’s hard to explain to others, but what you wrote is what I experience exactly. I will be making an appointment with a Gastroenterologist here in Texas as soon as possible and if I don’t get any help from him/her, I will be contacting that doctor in Illinois.

  22. I’ve had this same condition for as long as i can remember and the only tbing I’ve found that helps me is gum. More specifically candy gum balls, one of them after a meal and ot helps to stop the bubbly, gurgling and the acid reflex.

  23. After suffering with this ever since I can remember, it’s nice to find others similar to me. I’ve been told by my mother that I was never able to burp as a baby and my 6 year old son seems to be following me with the inability to burp. My partner thinks I tell porkies that I can’t burp so will be a good feeling to show him this page. I’ve found my feet with being able to live with this disease(?)…no fizzy drinks, salt and fat to a minimum (have gallstones also, don’t know if this would be connected?) and a limit of alcoholic drinks. I used to find that, after a good few drinks on the weekend, I’d suffer a huge amount with bloating and would go so far as trying to make myself vomit to relieve it. Then, whilst lying down at the end of the night, the gurgles in my throat would come out thick and fast, and by morning, it would feel like such a relief!! Sorry about the essay, it’s just nice to find people in the same boat x

  24. Hello so glad I have found such a complete description of my symptons and with illustration. This is making it difficult for me to swallow.
    I have managed to get a perscription for domperidone. I am taking 10 mg 3 times a day – just one day so far, how long does it take to have affect in your experience?
    I am being treated for cancer of the oesophogus in France so I am going to try and explain this to the Drs at the hospital
    Thank you again

    1. Hi Sara, thanks for your comment. I’m glad that you’ve found this post helpful!

      Domperidone tends to work quite quickly, which is why you take it 30 minutes before meals. You should have noticed an effect from when you started taking it.

      You say that you are being treated for oesophageal cancer, and if this is the cause of your belch reflex dysfunction then the information provided here may not be appropriate for you since it looks at the inability to burp without known cause. Your consultants will be able to provide you with better advice specific to you. I wish you all the best with your ongoing treatment.

      1. Thanks for your reply, saw the gastroenterologist today. They are fitting what I believe would be called a stent in the UK & US next week. I had one last year and it helped loads – had to be removed in December because it dropped. Will have to start with pureed food.
        I found your illustration very useful to explain my discomfort – and they loved the frog.

        1. Hi again, Sara! It’s great to hear an update. Good luck with your new stent operation, I hope it all goes well for you. It’s good to know the last one helped you, so the new one hopefully will do the same.

          I’m so glad that you found the illustration useful as well – I didn’t really think when I created it that somebody might show it to a gastroenterologist at some point. It’s nice to hear the comment about the frog – made me smile!

          All the best, and I hope for another positive update later on!

  25. Great post. Glad I found out I’m not the only weird alien.
    It’s almost humorous how many of us have this condition yet there is no cure.
    I definitely have this “disease”.
    When I have long bouts of drinking (especially beer), I literally feel like blowing up. Often times, I head over to the toilet thinking that I must have drank too much. When I heave to “throw up”, nothing but GAS comes out. However, it doesn’t come like a normal burp but a rather UNGODLY demonic noise comes up. And lo and behold, I feel perfectly fine afterwards. Of course, until I have another beer…
    And what’s really random is that sometimes I would actually let out a burp here and there. I wouldn’t say commonly such as every day or so but maybe every month or so. I’ll just be walking down the street and a small burp would come out when I don’t really feel bloated. Very weird. This makes me feel like maybe my body DOES know how to burp… Just not when I need it.
    I ate a bunch of sashimi today and I’m currently extremely bloated watching YouTube videos of how to burp. Can’t even study because of this discomfort when I have a midterm coming up.
    I’ve tried GAS-X, pepto, and other gas “releasing” medications but to no avail.
    I feel like since this is problem is an inability to relax our UES, if we could somehow “relearn” to relax this muscle, our problems would be solved…
    Maybe meditation or another deep state of relaxation.
    I’ll give it a try as well.
    Good luck everyone. I’ll check in here and there
    -wishes from Cali

    1. Hahaha your post just made me laugh cuz it’s literally the same issues I have. I’m going to Dr. Bastian for the Botox procedure next week. He’s had 100% success rate on curing this so far so I’m very excited and hopeful and will be posting the results here afterward.

      1. All the best for your procedure, Shawn! Looking forward to hearing about how it goes. It’d be great if you could let us know what the procedure involves as well, as I’m sure there are many others who are thinking of going for it.

      2. Hi Shawn, How are you doing after the procedure? Are you burping normally? I’m going to see Dr. Bastian in April, and of course anxious to hear from others.

  26. Dear aed,
    I’m a retired physician and am embarrassed for my profession by the lack of help for those afflicted by this condition. One of the limitations of good medical research into novel diagnoses is having a standard definition of the condition. To arrive at that definition one must identify a significant number of people who share the problem. Your site here has approximately 20 sufferers which might be leveraged into a group with which to conduct the study which defines signs, symptoms, family history, personal perinatal and childhood history, age of onset, personality inventory and aggravating and alleviating similarities which most of these people experience.
    Once a standard disease diagnosis is established, then interventions can be designed, tried and evaluated in an organized fashion. This can all be a very tedious business with very slow rate of discovery. However, it would give some of the sufferers a controlling stake in the process.
    I’m not aware of any medical research being conducted through a blog such as this, but it’s an interesting idea.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Dr Boero. It’s fantastic to get input from a retired physician! It is quite novel to get a group of sufferers together through a blog like this, and it does have the major limitation of all of us being spread all over the globe! Hopefully if we find enough people in one country at least it could possibly lead to a study? Thank you for your description of the process, it’s very helpful to get an idea of how we might get the ball rolling.

    2. Thank you for your response. I am 63 and following this blog, waiting for someone to invite us to participate in a study. The pain, embarrassment, and diminished quality of life from this condition is really awful.

      1. Wow! Good for you! Are you burping spontaneously, or are you able to burp at will?
        I am so impressed and so hopeful for success. Please continue to share your progress.

        1. They are spontaneous at the moment, but usually happen everytime I drink something. It exciting as all hell being able to do it at all. It seems to be a 15-20 day process from beginning microburps to being in full control. So happy to come across DR. Bastian. The 2 part procedure was nothing. I have zero regrets. Day 1 was short consult and a few little test. Day 2 was surgery. Was out for about 15 minutes and flew home the same day. I will keep all updated with progress.

          1. Thanks! I can appreciate how thrilled you are! I would be too – – – I think you are younger, but I’m 63 and have been suffering for many decades. I’m glad you were able to get treated and not have to endure so many years of ‘blowing up’. Good for you. Please continue to keep us updated. Exciting to read about your success.

          2. I definitely will keep you updated. Suffered for 41 years and really never thought I’d ever be able to find a cure for this horrible condition. Keep in touch.

          3. Hi Matt! Would you mind providing an update on how you are currently doing post procedure? I am scheduled with Dr. Bastian on 05/17/17. Thanks!

          4. Hi Matt, I was wondering how you are doing after your procedure with Dr. Bastian? I have contacted his office about this procedure and am waiting to hear back from them about insurance. How much was the procedure for you (if you don’t mind)? I hope you are doing better.

  27. THE CURE…I know what it is, and it’s very simple. Well, if you can afford it or have insurance that will cover it. I had this problem all of my life. Would go days without burping, the bloating, painful gas and even chest pains occasionally. But then I started having some stomach issues and went to a Gastro doc who finally decided to do an egd (upper endoscopy). So they put me to sleep, ran the light down my throat, and found; nothing. There was nothing wrong with my stomach. But, after that day, I have become a burping machine. My cousin, who is a nurse, said that the egd probably just stretched out that sphincter muscle. That’s been over 2 years ago and I burp all the time now. I never knew how incredibly satisfying it could be! lol It really has changed my life. So that procedure will stretch out that muscle and fix the problem just like that. If you can find a Gastroenterologist who will do this procedure for that issue, your problem will be solved.

    1. Thanks for your input, Darin. It’s great that you managed to find a cure for your case of DBR! I would probably not recommend that others try to get an endoscopy done just for this purpose however. This is because the purpose of endoscopy is to investigate gastric symptoms (in fact many readers of this blog may have had one already!), and is not designed to treat upper oesophageal sphincter problems. As such, endoscopy should not be recommended as a DBR remedy. Also, although it is a safe and frequently performed procedure endoscopy, like any medical procedure, carries a small degree of risk. Complications can include infection or the tearing of the oesophagus or stomach. These are very rare, but anyone thinking of undergoing the procedure should be made aware of the risks. Generally the potential benefits of being able to diagnose a gastric condition far outweigh the risks.

      Sorry to put a downer on your comment, Darin, and I am glad you managed to overcome your DBR! I’m just trying to manage expectations.

  28. Crazy to read all these people with my same problem! One of my friends even has the same problem! I typically have just learned to live with this but the other day I found out I had an esophageal ulcer. Not much chest discomfort, but I ended up vomiting blood and had to go to the ER. After endoscopy, they informed me I had an esophageal ulcer. They do not know what cause it because I am a healthy 22 year old male; however, I feel that my inability to burp had to play some role in it. (My hypothesis is that the excess gas may have cause unnecessary stretching of the esophagus). I am interested in visiting Dr. Bastian at some point and trying this, as it seems people have had much success.

  29. Thank god I found this site! I’ve had this condition my whole life. As a baby apparently I screamed and screamed and would never settle – it was never recognised at the time but seems reasonable to assume that not being able to burp would a terrible affliction for a baby! Now I’m 33 and have just cut a night out with friends short because I was too uncomfortable and gurgling too loudly to stay. As flying from London to Illinois isn’t the most practical solution for me, I’d love to be kept posted on any other helpful developments. Thanks everyone and good luck!

    1. Hi Laura, thanks for your comment. I had the same experience too – my mum said that I’d constantly cry, and attributed it to my being naughty (they didn’t really have much parenting advice back then). She also said whenever she tried burping me I would just bring up milk. I’m dreading the thought that I might pass the condition on in the future.

      I’m also in the UK, so am just as disappointed about the lack of treatment options here! But I hope to post any news if this changes as soon as I hear about it.

      1. Hi, I could cry with happiness that after 50 years living with this I now could have the answer!! I’m in the UK too!….my three sons also suffer….oh please let’s hope we can get treated now!!

        1. I’m glad you’ve found this blog helpful, Joswim! I really do hope that we can start receiving treatment for DBR here and in other countries soon too – maybe if enough people get the procedure done in the US it could set a precedent? We also just need to have the condition recognised by healthcare professionals. It’s still going to be a bit of a battle, but I’m optimistic!

  30. Suffered from this problem all of my life. Always thought I was weird and the only one that couldn’t burp. Discovered stuff about this condition by Googoing it about 5 years ago and found the aforementioned forum and associates Facebook page about DBR.
    For me I think it’s manageable if I avoid carbonated drinks and rich food..it’s 100 times worse when I sick… Cold, flu, sore throat and it’s depressingly persistent!
    The only way I get relief (and I got the tip from the blogs mentioned) is fingers down the throat to force the gag reflex. MASSIVE explosive expedition results from this and instant relief. I can’t imagine that this is good for the body. I am based in the UK..visited my GP a few years ago to talk about my condition… they were useless..haven’t brought it up since. Hanamogead I am so pleased you are generating some momentum here for our common affliction..thank you! I’m in if we can get a test group together. We need UK medical professionals to take this seriously!!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Snoopa! I did a similar thing you, really – just decided to Google the condition randomly one day, after having suffered for decades. Not sure what drove me to it – a bad case of croaking, maybe? I found out just how many people complained about the same symptoms, although they were all spread out across the globe. That’s when I decided to write a post about DBR on my then very new blog. Since then I’ve been surprised by all the visitors to the blog and the great response to the posts about DBR. I’m really happy that it’s been helpful for people! I’m hoping that the more of us who come forward with symptoms, the harder we’ll be to ignore. It’s a great sign that “burping disorder” has officially been recognised as a condition by at least one health clinic in the US (http://laryngopedia.com/burping-disorder/), and hopefully it will lead to greater awareness of the condition in the UK as well as other countries.

  31. What a relief to find other people in the same position! I am a 36 year old female in Canada and have had this for as long as I can remember. I was also a colicky baby, I also have had GERD for about 15 years, and IBS related symptoms. My GI system is awesome 😉

    I have had several Endoscopy’s through the years, so while I’m happy for the previous poster that it seemed to fix his DBR I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a cure, it has certainly never fixed mine anyway.

    I also struggle with mild anxiety, mostly related to a fear of vomiting (both myself and others around me). I can vomit, and do when I am sick, but it has always been a source of anxiety for me. This anxiety seems to be a common trait in people with DBR, which is interesting.

    Anyway, I just wanted to add my name to the list should some doc come across this some day and want to do a study. Count me in!

  32. Hi! I am 27 and also based in the U.K. and suffer from these symptoms.

    I had a particularly bad experience today when I started ‘gurgling’ during a training run for the London Marathon in 3 weeks – I couldn’t carry on running so had to walk. I will be absolutely gutted if this happens in the real race as I’ve been training hard for months. Has anyone else experienced symptoms whilst exercising?

    I also have emetophobia (fear of vomit) and have not been sick since I was a young child.

    1. I personally haven’t had the problem when exercising, but it could be because I exercise in the morning before I’ve eaten anything (I do HIIT, strength and cardio). I don’t remember the gas/gurgling stopping me from exercising when I was younger either, so I must just be lucky in that respect! For me it’s worst a couple of hours after lunch – the afternoon to evening period is just an endless stream of bloating and croaking.

      I find it interesting that a few people have said that they either have an extreme fear of vomiting or don’t remember ever vomiting. It seems like it could be related to DBR, maybe because of anxiety. I, however, don’t fit into this catergory as I’ve been spectacularly sick on numerous occasions, usually as a result of some sort of food allergy/intolerance or gastroenteritis. If I’m sick it’s never just once, it has to be repeatedly for at least 12-24 hours. Not fun at all to say the least.

      1. You described my day exactly. I’m fine in the morning but just after noon and straight through to bedtime, I’m gurgling constant with bloat either in my abdomen or chest. Regarding exercise intolerance with chest bloat. I’ve had something similar when the gas in my chest was so intense that it felt like I couldn’t breathe properly. Hard to explain. But it felt like the build up of gas in my esophagus affected my heart & lungs. When that happens it’s time to gag myself to relieve the pressure. Will be visiting Dr. Bastian next week! So excited!!!!!!

        1. Good luck JK! I know you’ve been waiting for a treatment for so long. I hope that we’ll hear good news from you after next week!

        2. JK, would you mind giving the status on how you are doing post procedure with Dr. Bastian? I am scheduled for my procedure with him on 05/17/17 and am trying to get as much information as possible.

          It seems like only a few people their progression after the procedure and it worries me that this could mean it may not be working for a majority of the patients. Thanks!

          1. Hi Heather! Thanks for responding, I did hear that as well when I spoke with the Dr. Bastian’s office. The only thing is that his office stated that they often follow up via phone just once or twice with the patients and then often don’t hear back from them after a few months.

            I’m taking this as a good sign that they are feeling better, because I would think if they continued to have symptoms they would let the doctor know. But either way, I’m just hoping to get as much information from people who have undergone the procedure before I fly out to Illinois!

          2. Heather – I think the procedure was a great success and I have no regrets whatsoever. Please give Dr. Bastian’s office permission to share your contAct info with me and I will call or email you. My name is Jorjann Kuypers. If you don’t get a chance to chat with me, I had it done on Apr 12- it has relieved the pain and pressure from trapped gas. It has literally changed my life. Hopefully it will. E a permanent fix, but I would opt to have it done again if it ever becomes necessary.

          3. Hi Jorjann, thank you so much for your reply! I just sent an email to Jennifer at Dr. Bastian’s office so hopefully she will give you my contact information soon. I am so glad to hear that it was a success!

  33. Just adding my voice to the countless others with this condition, which I always thought was just my own personal weirdness. I am 47 and have had the throat gurgles for as long as I can remember. Fortunately I don’t have the chest pain or nausea many of you describe, though I do have the inability to burp, and a coincidental phobia of vomit.

    I find that my gurgles tend to appear later in the day, particularly after eating, and may occur at bedtime regardless of when I last ate or drank. They also seem to be exacerbated by carbonation (which I hate anyway) and sugar (curses!). Lying flat on my back for a while can put a stop to them, presumably until the gas dissipates. I also am more flatulent than most, I believe, and am rather embarrassed to report.

    For me this is more of a lifetime annoyance, but if there were a way to be rid of it, I would be thrilled. Also, I’m quite overweight, though I wasn’t always….the two don’t seem to be related but who knows.

    Doctoral students out there….anyone need a thesis topic? :)

    1. You and I sound so much alike! Mine seems to be worse in the afternoon and anxiety makes it worse. Vicious circle. Does anyone notice lying on your left side can make it start, but rolling over on your right side will stop it? Seems like the older I get the louder and more often it seems.

      1. Omg, yes!! I thought that part of me was crazy. The left can trigger it, but the right makes it stop. Artificial sugar is also a trigger for me.

        1. OMG, that is so crazy! I always thought I was alone in my suffering. I’ve explained to many Dr’s over the years and always felt like they thought I was crazy.

  34. I’m so happy to find that I’m not alone and can put a name to the issue! I’m 29 and have had DBR for as long as I can remember. I’m a mild case though. I experience chest discomfort but not severe enough to call pain. I have no issues with swallowing, except tablets, when I try to take a pill my throat will clamp shut. I am able to vomit and when I do its the only time I can burp, I’m assuming it’s due to the Upper Esophageal Sphincter being forced open. I have noticed though that after vomiting the gurgles get worse. I’m currently pregnant so vomiting is a common theme just now! I will ask my family if they have the same issue but I’m sure I’m the only one. There is no real point to my post I just wanted to add my name to the list of fellow DBR’s. My hope is that as the list grows someone in the medical community will take up the task of researching the subject.

  35. I have scheduled my procedure with Dr. Bastian for June 21st. I am so excited to be taking this step and fixing my quality of life. I have several trips planned this summer and while I am excited, I am nervous that I wouldn’t truly have a good time because of all these gurgling issues. Now, I CAN’T wait for my summer festivities to begin!!

    KW, how did your procedure go? Can anyone give me insight on what the consult consists of? I know Jennifer mentioned something about a scope. How long does the consultation last and how did you feel after the tests that were performed? We get in Chicago on my husband’s birthday so we are making a mini vacation out of the trip. I appreciate any insight anyone who has had the procedure has to offer!

    1. Hello Heather,
      The appt is nothing to worry about. He will ask you a few questions and do a few minor tests. One is a swallowing test and he will numb your throat and put a scope up your nose and down your throat just to confirm the diagnosis. He will have you swallow some blue applesauce and eat a few cheeze its. The whole two day process was nothing. Everyone was great. Midwest Day Center was awesome and Dr Bastian is the very best. I was patient 22 with 100% success. Lifechanger ! Good luck !

      1. Just as a follow up… it is a 15 day process from day 1 to be able to swallow food without a water chaser. Nothing to be overly concerned about, but just wanted to point that out.

        1. I have blue cross PPO so 80% of the costs were covered by insurance except they did not approve to pay for the actual botox since it is not a proven method yet. The payments were a little peicy and I didn’t keep track that well but there was a charge of about $600-700 at the Midwest center for Day surgery and then I paid Dr Bastian about $1300 overall. I think I’m total I paid less than $2000. Definitely worth it and less than I expected

    2. Dr. Bastian is amazing. I had the procedure done first week of March. The first consult he will ask you questions to confirm your condition and then take you to do a swallow test with a tube down your nose/throats which is terrible so prepare yourself for that. You have to swallow different foods but it’s quick enough. The procedure the next day was a little nerve wracking you get put under but wake up like nothing happened. I had a terrible sore throat the first few days. It was really bad. I was expecting immediate results but it didn’t work that way. I felt like I had a tennis ball in my throats and bad gurgling for a couple weeks still while the botox was still kicking in. I would have some Burps the first few weeks but throw up in my mouth for about a week. In about the 4th week everything really settled down and now I burp all the time and have NO gurgling. NONE! I am waiting for the botox to wear off though to make sure I’m still cured when it’s completely gone which should be a couple more weeks. Just know the results aren’t immediate but they definitely will come and it’s 100% worth it. Side note- I used to get full really fast and now my stomach is like a bottomless pit I can eat and drink constantly haha. But this will change your life. I am
      So happy with the results. Sorry this is a quick overview but have been meaning to post. Let me know if anyone has any questions

      1. I’m so pleased for all of you have had the procedure and are now feeling good! Could those of you who have been treated by Dr Bastian advice on the cost of treatment? I would need to fly in from the UK, which I am considering doing, and it would be so useful to have an overview on this.

        1. Hey Laura,

          Have you gotten the treatment yet? I am located in the Netherlands and also considering flying to Dr Bastian’s clinic.

          Regards,

          Eelke

          1. Hi Eelke, it’s going to be a long time until I can save the money for this! I’m still not totally sure of the cost also as all the people who kindly responded on that are USA-based and have health insurance. I think for now it’s prohibitively expensive but I still have hope!

          2. Hi Laura,

            Thank you for your quick reply. It indeed seems like it is going to be expensive. On top of that we have the travel and accomodation costs. However, I have had contact with Dr. Bastian’s clinic and am currently awaiting a reply on my inquiry about costs. I will definitely keep you updated on this. Also, I am interested in hearing more about how you experience the disorder. I don’t personally know anyone that suffers from it.

    3. Hi Heather, so happy to share my experience with you. I had the procedure done on April 12. Don’t want to be too dramatic but it has changed my life. I did it exactly for the reason you mentioned. We were planning a 3 month cross country vacation and I knew if I could get relief I would enjoy myself so much more. It was 100% effective and I am now able to burp, there is no longer the painful build up of gas. My only concern is whether the benefits will continue if and when the Botox wears off. Time will tell, but so far – it’s been wonderful. The scope was done in office and really easy. Time on consultation was quick. After the procedure I slept for a few hours. Ate yogurt and apple sauce the first day or so. Stuck to soft foods, but honestly- it wasn’t bad at all. Felt like a sore throat (esp) in the morning. now I can eat and drink anything I want. I don’t have anxiety about eating out in a social situation. Sometimes surprise burps happened, particularly early on, but it just made me laugh and thrilled my heart. I hope all goes well for you and you experience as much relief as I halve. Best to you! Jorjann – you can email me personally – kuypers71@hotmail

    4. Hi Heather! It looks like everyone pretty much answered your questions, but I figured I would chime it and let you know how everything is going for me, since I had the procedure done on May 17th. I will also be posting an in-depth blog once I am about a month out from the procedure. Today I am 6 days following the procedure.

      I flew to Illinois from San Diego on May 15ht. The consultation was quick and easy, Dr. Bastian goes over all of your symptoms and how your life is living with this condition. He pretty much makes the diagnosis just based on the conversation and he agreed that my symptoms matched the condition exactly. He then does a quick swallow study, only to make sure that our swallowing is normal and the dysfunction is in the retrograde only. It took about 3 minutes and he had me swallow applesauce and water, it was painless and only slightly uncomfortable,

      The Botox procedure itself was quick and easy and everyone at the surgical center is SO NICE. Following the procedure I had a “sore throat” (it really felt more like a burning sensation) for about 24-48 hours and for me it was not bad at all. I took Motrin and that helped a lot. Following the 48 hour mark the burning/pain was totally gone and instead my throat felt “weird”. I still have this “weirdness” currently and I would describe it as my throat feeling very open, yet like something is in there at the same time. Overall it is really not too bad.

      I had my first microburp after drinking some water and then yawning on the morning after the procedure. I proceeded to have about 4-5 more microburps that day (Day 2). On Day 3, I began microburping CONSTANTLY and then began to do real burps that day. The burps come much more frequently after I have food and are very prominent after drinking water. I also burp every time I yawn. I also discovered that when I feel a gurgle come up, I can tuck my chin down and turn my head a little to the side and it helps promote a burp to come out.

      On Day 4 I had a vomiting episode where I thought a burp was coming up, tucked my chin, but it was NOT a burp haha. It was pretty gross, but so far has only happened the one time. I also drank a coke on this day and did a few HUGE burps.

      Currently I am having a lot of burping and cannot control it, which is hard because I am back at work today and it is a little embarrassing and causing me some anxiety. I don’t have relief from my gurgles yet, but I have hope that everything is moving in the right direction since I am still early in the process. Please let me know if you have any questions I can help answer!

      1. Hi KW!

        Have you gotten relief from your gurgles, yet? I had the procedure done a week ago and feel as though the gurgles have gotten so much worse and more frequent.

        1. Hi Heather! Yes, I am exactly 6 weeks out from my procedure and have had 100% relief. No more gurgles, chest pressure, or need to lie down at all. But I agree that in the beginning I felt like my gurgling was worse and I thought that was because my throats felt so weird and food was harder to eat, so I was swallowing much more. I’m not sure about you, but increased swallowing always made my symptoms worse, pre-procedure. Have you been microburping or having any real, smaller burps? Let me know if you want my phone number to text about any questions you have!

    5. I forgot to mention that I have Anthem Blue Cross PPO and they agreed to cover 90% of the anesthesia and facility fees. So in total, I paid $20 copay at the consultation and $1300 at the surgical center. Not bad at all if this is something that could change our lives!

  36. Thank you JK and Matt for your insight. I am so looking forward to finally making this happen. Now that everything seems fairly quick and knowing it’s a minor procedure makes it even better!

    Laura, I also have BCBS insurance. They will pay 80% until my deductible is met, which isn’t much further since I have had other procedures this year. Once the deductible is met, my insurance will cover 100% minus the $650 for the Botox. I called Dr. Bastian’s office to get the procedure codes so I could call my insurance in order to find out the prices beforehand. Best of luck to you!

  37. This thread is great. Thank you. My son is now 2 and since day 1 he has issues burping. We have seen multiple doctors who have said it’s not an issue as he’s gaining weight and hitting his milestones. He is in so much discomfort from it. I am taking this to my next appointment and hoping we get some relief.

  38. I am 65 and have never been able to burp as far back as I can remember, I won’t go to see my doctor as I feel she will dismiss it as me wasting her time as it seems to come in cycles. I have pain in my chest but it also radiates to one side of my face and into my ear and the only thing I have found that relieves it is baby gripe water. I live in the UK. Does anyone know of something better I could try.

    1. Hi everyone, im from Pakistan age 27 male . I could always burp but it was kind of a micro burp meaning if i drank carbonated drinks like coke I wouldnt be sick or anything but just would struggle a little with getting the excess air out but it would always get out, Recently like a week ago ive had the feeling of trapped air in my chest and the continuous need to let out a giant burp that would never come , ive never felt any pain because of it but it has messed with my eating habits. i used to have not such a healthy diet but i fixed that like 2 months ago, eating clean and working out a lot. Now i cant eat much especially in the evening without the need to let out the air, i can manage minor burps sometimes loud too but the air wont leave like id want it to. Sometimes it feels like some of it came out but the bloated feeling would remain. Ive quit smoking after these events after i found out that smoking is harmful to the muscle that’s supposed to let the air out. I feel miserable because of this and its ruining the standard of life i am used to. So im similar to all of you or not? sorry if the reading is too tedious

      1. Hi Zaigham, the symptoms you experience sound very similar to my symptoms. Trapped gas, bloating, forcing a change of eating habits. I had the Botox procedure two months ago by Dr. Bastian in Downers Grove, IL, and since gotten much better. Ive been able to teach myself to burp. It’s been a tremendous relief. Good luck to you.

    2. Hi Maggie,

      Sorry for the late reply to your comment. In your case it would be a good idea to see a doctor because the chest, facial and ear pain you have described could be a sign of something that is potentially more serious than trapped stomach gas. Please don’t feel like you’re wasting the doctor’s time – she will certainly have seen many patients complaining about much less than you are (including hundreds of cases of the common cold).

  39. Hi Heather! Yes, I am exactly 6 weeks out from my procedure and have had 100% relief. No more gurgles, chest pressure, or need to lie down at all. But I agree that in the beginning I felt like my gurgling was worse and I thought that was because my throats felt so weird and food was harder to eat, so I was swallowing much more. I’m not sure about you, but increased swallowing always made my symptoms worse, pre-procedure. Have you been microburping or having any real, smaller burps? Let me know if you want my phone number to text about any questions you have!

  40. Hello people. I was wondering if, apart from not being able to burp, you guys also swallow more air than the average person? I feel like i do and that that is where the problem starts. I am considering to have the treatment done with, Dr Bastian but not sure if that solves everything.

    1. Hi Eelke,

      It’s hard to say if I swallow more air than the average person but there are definitely times when I know I swallow more than normal, and this noticeably worsens the gas. I have post-nasal drip thanks to all my allergies which can lead to this. When I have a cold I will almost always have a bad case of bloating with it.

      It could be that it appears we swallow more air just because the consequences are much worse for us than for those who can burp?

  41. I am so glad I found this page I always thought I was alone with this problem, to not be able to burp and always feeling bloated after every meal, and that weird embarrassing sound from my throat. I am from Iceland and I do not think doctors here are familiar with this problem because I have talked to several of them and none of them knew what it was. Where can I find this Dr. Bastian and is hi/her the only one that is doing this procedure ?

    1. Hi Matthildur,
      Google Bastien Voice Institute in Downers Grove, Illinois. Dr. Bastien is highly rated by my insurance company, United Health Care. As far as I know, he is the only one that does this procedure. I had it done in April, and it has literally changed my life for the better. At least contact Jennifer, in Dr. Bastien’s office and discuss your issue with her either by phone or e-mail. His office is very friendly and helpful. Good luck to you.
      Jorjann Kuypers

  42. I have recently had a severe bout of this and was wondering if anyone on this thread had ever tried a muscle relaxer like Flexoril or similar drug to attempt to relax the esophagus during an episode ? I would much rather have a remedy that didn’t involve doctors and procedures. Isn’t there something that you could take/drink like some kind of tea or mint or something that would instantly relieve symptoms? I found that Ibuprofen and some food started helping right away, and within just a short period of time I was burping for real and getting meaningful relief. Ibuprofen reduces inflammation and I thought it could help with the pain if nothing else. I took 800 mil. and with some small amounts of food, it put an end to 15 hours of excruciating pain in less than an hour. I am just wondering if there isn’t a simple cure for this like the one that worked for me. My upper chest area and lungs were sore for two days after I was able to stop the building up with the above remedy. I couldn’t lie down and it hurt to even breathe, at one point I thought I was going to die if it got any worse. If Ibuprofen worked once for me, maybe a muscle relaxer would work every time. Maybe, Maybe.??? Just wondering.

    1. I had Dr. Bastian’s Botox procedure done 3 months ago now and personally I would say that your symptoms/experience sound a bit different than what I had. For me, I never had bouts of symptoms. The inability to burp issue that is solved by Dr. Bastian is an everyday issue that really doesn’t get much better because it is simply an inability for our crycopharangeous muscle to relax. Food always makes it worse and Ibuprofen has never helped me because the issue isn’t inflammation, but the muscle being in a constant state of contraction (other than swallowing). Sorry this response doesn’t quite answer your question! But I’m thinking this surgery may not be the answer for you anyway, just based on how you describe your symptoms and what helps relieve them. Hopefully you can continue to have success with Ibuprofen!

    2. Hi David,
      I was going to say exactly what kw said to your post. Those of us who can’t burp don’t have ‘episodes’. We simply cannot burp – ever. Ibuprofen, anti-inflammatories, gas X pills, antacids – nothing works. For us, it is a physiological dysfunction. Your situation doesn’t sound exactly the same, and it is also concerning – so that you might want to get an exam to have your episode evaluated to make sure it’s not your heart or something else. Best to you.

  43. Oh my god this page is wONDERFUL. I’m 31 From England. Never been able to burp, suffer terribly from the wind up in my neck, trying to force it out just makes it loop the loop. I also have nasal drip and don’t vomit either (had the Winter bug and was awful because it wouldn’t come out). Doctor never heard of the condition so it’s a joy to find this page. The procedure scares me because I don’t really want to be able to be sick, but the wind is so painful.

    Bonus I’m an illustrator too, especially of cheesy pun cards lol.

    1. Welcome to the fold, Jennie! I hope that there will eventually be info here that will help you. The botox injection does sound like the one most likely to help even for a short time, so fingers crossed that it’ll be more widely available soon. I would say that as a DBR sufferer who can vomit, I would definitely take being able to burp and vomit over not being to do either (throwing up can be a real relief too!), but I can understand that it might be worrying if you normally don’t vomit.

      Nice to hear from a fellow illustrator, too! I do love a good pun.

  44. Wow! I’m glad I found this blog. I’m 39 and have never been able to burp. I’ve been through the doctor visits, upper gi’s, etc. and no help. On one of the visits, a doctor actually laughed at me when I told him I couldn’t burp . I will definitely be contacting Dr. Bastian.

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