Sulfur Burps - Cure, Treatment, Causes, Symptoms

Sulfur Burps

August 16, 2013 | By | 7 Comments

When you have excess air in your stomach, it usually comes out as a burp. Usually the burp will have a smell of the food that you ate, but sometimes it will come out smelling like rotten eggs. This is a condition that is known as sulfur burp, and they can be very embarrassing and unpleasant, especially if they happen in the presence of others.

The real reason why the burp smells so badly is hydrogen sulfide (H2S). If you eat foods that have sulfur proteins in them then you may find yourself burping the H2S, which will smell like rotten eggs. The sulfur reducing microbes in the intestine digest the proteins and release the gas.

People of all ages can expel H2S when they burp, and this is especially common in pregnant women. During pregnancy the digestive process slows down, and this may be the reason why it is common. If sulfur burping comes with diarrhea, or vomiting, then you should see a doctor immediately, since these are the first signs of irritable bowel syndrome.

What are the causes of sulfur burps?

The first cause could be an infection in your gastrointestinal tract (GIT). This kind of infection is caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, also known as Giardia. This is a parasite and causes people to have sulfur burps.  The parasite can lead to the development of ulcers, abdominal cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. The only way that the bacteria are spread is through poor hygiene, oral-fecal transmission, and in untreated water.

Another cause is improper eating patterns. If you eat heavy protein meals and sugary foods, then these may lead to you having sulfur burps. Since heavy protein meals stay longer in the stomach and intestine, you may find a larger amount of H2S building up in your GIT. Once the gasses reach a certain amount they will leave the body as burps with a rotten egg smell.

Prescription medicines have also been known to cause this condition. If the medicine contains sulfur then there are high chances of emitting H2S in your burps.

Another cause is a condition known as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). There is a delicate balance that prevails in the intestine of the flora or bacteria found there. Someone with Celiac or Crohn’s disease may have a larger amount of bacteria which leads to sulfur burps.

Are there foods that cause sulfur burps?

In order to avoid getting sulfur burps, you should not eat certain foods at certain hours of the day. Several foods cause this condition to occur. High protein foods are the largest culprits when it comes to producing sulfur burps. This is because the food will stay in the stomach for longer as the protein is digested. The result is excess H2S coming out of your mouth. Sometimes the burps are so subtle that people may find it hard to identify who is burping if you have to be in a crowd.

You should avoid foods such as Garlic, Onions, Tomatoes, Broccoli, Whey protein, peas, Sweet potatoes, Asparagus, Cabbage, beans, soy, etc. You should also avoid red meats, canned foods, eggs and dairy products. Avoid cola, coffee and tea. Also avoid cashew nuts, bananas and coconuts.

How do you treat/avoid sulfur burps?

  • You should increase your intake of water since this will help in digesting the proteins.
  • You should avoid foods that have a lot of sugar.
  • You should slow down on alcohol intake.
  • In order to detox your gut, you should take herbal teas.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks which will only serve to increase the burping.
  • You should take high fiber foods which help in digestion.
  • You should stop taking foods that are ready-to-eat or canned.
  • If you take a glass of warm water with honey and lemon every morning, then you remove the chance that you will develop sulfur burps during the day.
  • You should talk to your doctor if the condition persist, or comes frequently. Pepto-Bismol works by binding the H2S, thereby eliminating sulfur burps.
  • If there is a bacterial overgrowth in your GIT then you should take some antibiotics.
  • If you happen to be taking medication with sulfur, you can ask your doctor for an alternative treatment.
  • Conditions such as Crohn’s disease should be treated or managed.
  • You should also try to remove sulfur proteins from your diet.

All in all, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor whenever you experience sulfur burps. Although the condition may be an innocent occurrence, you should not ignore it if it happens for more than a day, or occurs frequently. If you are developing irritable bowel syndrome, then you should get help immediately. Otherwise try some of the home remedies mentioned above before you visit a doctor.

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Comments (7)

  1. elizabeth

    thank you so much, this helped a lot!

  2. Rose

    Eat a plain Mc Vities digestive biscuit!! That temporariley sorted me out until I can find a permament solution within a couple of minutes.

  3. katie

    take alka-seltzer or just use a tsp of baking soda in a large glass of water, should take less than an hour :)

  4. Fred

    Ive had sulfur burps for about 4 months and has been making me feel ill.it literally brings me down.

  5. Alison Brittain

    Very good information, as I had indeed wondered the same thing about rotten smelling burps a few weeks back. However, you say “The first cause could be an infection in your gastrointestinal tract (GIT). This kind of infection is caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, also known as Giardia.”

    Giardia and H. pylori are two separate entities. One is a bacteria, one is a parasite. Giardia, the protozoan parasite, can cause sulfur smelling burps (the rotten egg burps)- by a means that we don’t really yet understand.

    The most common cause of sulfur burps, according to my medical professors, is what’s called gastroparesis. Gastroparesis occurs when food essentially stalls moving through the digestive system, particularly in the stomach. Here, stomach acids have a longer time to break down proteins into smaller pieces, one such piece being hydrogen sulfide which produces the rotten egg smell.

    Gastroparesis can be caused by a number of things (Giardia NOT being one, yet it still causes sulfur burps??). Among them are the inflammatory bowel diseases (including Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis), H. pylori infections, GERD, narcotics and hypnotics. There has been very little research to support the idea that sulfur-containing drugs cause sulfur burps.

    Hope that helps!

  6. Tom

    So I got food poisoning and was bed ridden for 2 days. After the weakness wears off I have sulfur burps and some bloating for most of the day. Then the nasty diarrhea hits. I haven’t eaten that much in the past 2-3 days. What should I do?

    • terrie

      Same thing happened to me. I was told my gallbladder needed to come out.a year later still having the same problem almost daily
      .

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