Aerophagia: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Burping and hiccuping is normal, right? But for some people, it may not. There’s a chronic condition – aerophagia which may seem like a minor inconvenience but can be pretty debilitating. In addition, it may cause ongoing discomfort and potential embarrassment. This article will take a closer look at aerophagia, its causes, symptoms, and treatment in detail.
What Is Aerophagia
If you are wondering what aerophagia is, it is the medical term for excessive swallowing of air. While everyone swallows some air when they eat or drink, people with aerophagia consume large amounts of air. The treatment for aerophagia usually involves prominent lifestyle changes, such as eating more slowly or managing stress and anxiety.
What Causes Aerophagia
Aerophagia is a condition characterised by excessive air swallowing. This often results in the individuals feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Throat gurgling anxiety is another common cause of aerophagia. When anxious, we tend to take shallow breaths from our chest instead of deep breaths from our diaphragm. This can lead to us taking in more air than we need.
Additionally, when stressed or anxious, we may inadvertently swallow more often. Overall, there are many potential causes of aerophagia. If you are affected by this condition, please speak with your doctor.
Symptoms of Aerophagia
Primarily, aerophagia symptoms are usually related to how air passes through the body. Therefore, depending on whether you are experiencing the air staying high or going down through your body, you may experience bloating, belching, abdominal pain, and gas.
In addition, some people experience less common symptoms such as diarrhoea, constipation, appetite loss, and even nausea. While these symptoms may sound similar to other gastrointestinal disorders, vomiting is one of the exceptions when it comes to the symptoms.
Aerophagia Vs Indigestion
Although aerophagia and indigestion may sound similar, they are not practically identical. Aerophagia is a condition characterised by excessive air swallowing, leading to bloating, belching, and stomach pain. However, indigestion is a condition that results from improper digestion causing abdominal pain, heartburn, nausea, and vomiting.
How is It Diagnosed
Aerophagia is diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and symptomatic relief. Medical history should be taken into consideration. In most cases, relieving symptoms after belching or vomiting suggests aerophagia.
In addition to this, the physical examination method generally reveals no abnormalities unless the patient has associated GERD. In this case, the physical examination may reveal erythema or oedema of the posterior pharyngeal wall, mucosal breakage (Plummer-Vinson syndrome), or cicatricial pemphigus Vulgaris. And if needed, a barium swallow may also be performed to rule out other aerophagia causes, such as oesophagal strictures, Mallory-Weiss tears, or peptic ulcer disease.
How Do CPAP Machines Cause Aerophagia
Regarding the causes of aerophagia, CPAP machines are among the most common ones. CPAP machines are commonly used to treat sleep apnea, and while they are generally effective, some people find that the mask can cause them to swallow air as it covers the nose and mouth.
Due to this, a person feels it difficult to exhale all of the air before taking another breath. As a result, the air trapped in the oesophagus also leads to frequent burping or hiccupping, leading to a condition that can probably trigger aerophagia.
How Can I Prevent My CPAP Machine from Causing Aerophagia
There are a few things that you can do to help reduce the incidence of aerophagia if you are using a CPAP machine–
- Ensure that the mask fits perfectly. If it is too loose, air can enter your stomach more quickly.
- Wear a chin strap to keep your mouth closed while sleeping. This will help prevent you from swallowing air while you are asleep.
- Avoid eating large meals or drinking carbonated beverages before bed. These can add extra air to your stomach and make aerophagia worse.
How to Treat Aerophagia
There are a few different ways to treat aerophagia. These methods are usually clinical, somewhat contrary to what the aerophagia treatment in Ayurveda suggests. The diagnosis mainly depends on the cause of aerophagia in a given case. But typically, it may include lifestyle changes, such as eating smaller meals and avoiding trigger foods.
However, if the underlying cause is stress or anxiety, the treatment may include relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation. Polishing your teeth regularly and using sugar-free gum can also help, given that you are a mouth breather. And finally, if gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is causing aerophagia, your doctor may recommend medications.
When to See A Doctor
In case you get diagnosed, you might wonder how to stop aerophagia. In this case, you should look for initial symptoms. For example, if you have been belching or burping more than usual.
While it is not usually a serious condition, it can be irritating and highly uncomfortable. If you are unsure whether or not you have aerophagia, it is best to see a doctor for an evaluation and get it treated.
Aerophagia is a condition where you swallow too much air. This can lead to uncomfortable symptoms, including burping, bloating, abdominal pain, and flatulence. In addition, some people experience mild aerophagia, while it may not be much light for others. While aerophagia is not usually serious, it can be bothersome and embarrassing.
Therefore, if you experience severe symptoms frequently, it becomes necessary to seek aerophagia treatment.
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