Sulfur Burps: Causes and Effective Natural Cures

Sulfur Burps: Causes and How to Get Rid of It Naturally
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Burping is a way to get rid of excess gas from your stomach but sometimes the burps have a strong sulfur smell. Even if you burp without making a noise, sulfur burps that smell of rotten eggs can be very unpleasant and embarrassing. Belches usually smell of the food you have eaten. However, sometimes certain foods break down in the gut and produce a gas called Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) causing your burps to smell like rotten eggs.

You don’t have to eat a lot of eggs to produce “rotten egg” burps. If you have excessive belching or your burps have a sulfur odor to them it could be caused by a bacterial infection in your stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, a bacterial overgrowth in your gut, or a parasitic infection in the gut. There are also many foods that contain sulfur and can produce sulfur “egg” burps.

This article will help you find the answer if you are wondering why your burps smell of eggs that have gone off. You will also learn about natural home remedies to help get rid of sulfur burps and reduce excessive belching.

Why Burps Smell of Sulfur

Burps smelling of sulfur are all connected with your digestive system. As soon as you start chewing food, you are beginning the digestive process to extract the nutrients. Dr. Jennifer Robinson on WebMD says that your stomach starts to break down food before it moves into the small and large intestines.1

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says that gas can build up in the digestive tract by swallowing too much air or when bacteria in the large intestine break down undigested foods. Also, conditions like intestinal bacterial overgrowth, irritable bowel syndrome, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause excess gas.2

The journal Antioxidants & Redox Signaling says that certain foods cause a gas called hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in the gut when they are broken down. Hydrogen sulfide has a bad smell of rotten eggs. This sulfuric smell comes out through your mouth when you burp or pass smelly farts from your anus.3

Cause of Sulfur Burps

Now that you know why burps can sometimes have a sulfur smell of rotten eggs, let’s look at the foods and health conditions that can cause this unpleasant burping smell.

Consuming foods containing sulfur

Consuming a large quantity of sulfur-containing foods could cause sulfur burps that smell like rotten eggs. When bacteria break down these foods in the digestive system, hydrogen sulfide is produced and can make your farts and burps give off a whiff of sulfur.

It is important to know that foods containing sulfur are very healthy and should be part of your diet so don’t completely eliminate them. According to the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, sulfur is the third most abundant mineral in our bodies. Sulfur amino acids are necessary for proper cell function and to help rid the body of toxins.4

Of course, eggs contain a lot of sulfur and there are many health benefits of eating more eggs in your diet. In fact, eggs are a good source of dietary protein and studies have shown that consuming more eggs doesn’t increase cardiovascular disease risk.5

The journal Pharmacology Research reports that leafy green vegetables are an important source of sulfur-containing compounds. This is what gives vegetables like kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and radish their sharp pungent aromas. Research into the health-boosting properties of leafy green vegetables has found that they can help prevent cancer by eliminating potential carcinogens from the body.6 Leafy greens are also beneficial for keeping your blood healthy.

H. Pylori infection

A bacterial infection in your stomach caused by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) strain of bacteria can cause sulfur egg burps. H. pylori infections are responsible for stomach ulcers, chronic gastritis, abdominal bloating with excess gas, and burping.

The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology reported that H. pylori infections cause a buildup of hydrogen sulfide and other sulfur compounds in the gut. This can cause bad breath (halitosis) and will cause malodorous burps smelling of sulfur.7

For practical advice on how to naturally get rid of H. pylori bacterial infection, please read my article about home remedies for killing off H. pylori.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, you may also experience sulfur burps from time to time. It is thought that IBS is caused by upset in the gastrointestinal tract or abnormalities in the gut or immune system – however, doctors aren’t exactly sure about the cause of IBS. Along with having smelly sulfur burps, IBS may cause diarrhea after eating, gas pain in chest, and anal leakage.

The fact that IBS can produce high levels of hydrogen sulfide in the breath was proven in a study published in the Journal of Breath Research. Researchers found that IBS sufferers frequently have intestinal bacterial overgrowth. This causes more sulfur to be produced in the gut that gets exhaled through the mouth.8

If you suffer from IBS and also have “rotten egg” burps, then my article on natural remedies for IBS relief has some great tips on how to manage the condition.

Bacterial overgrowth

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can cause smelly burps that have a sulfur “egg” odor. Bacteria is needed to break down food so that nutrients can be absorbed by the body. However, if you have too much bacteria, more hydrogen sulfide is produced and this comes out when you burp or pass gas.

The journal Gut and Liver explains that fermentation and bacteria in the intestines can cause a buildup of gasses like hydrogen sulfide, methane, and carbon dioxide. A hydrogen breath test usually confirms the presence of sulfur in the breath and helps to diagnose SIBO in patients.9

Apart from causing sulfur-smelling burping and passing wind, other symptoms of a bacterial overgrowth are abdominal pain after eating, diarrhea, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, and skin issues like eczema, acne, or rosacea.

The low FODMAP diet was designed by researchers at Monash University to improve IBS symptoms but it can also prevent sulfur “egg” burps caused by SIBO. The low FODMAP diet eliminates certain type of foods which break down easily into sugars and continue to feed the bad bacteria in your small intestine.

Parasite infection

One of the signs of parasite infections in the small intestine is burping that has a sulfuric smell. A parasite infection is usually caused by drinking or eating contaminated products or water. Other symptoms of a parasite infection in your digestive system are watery diarrhea, white specs in stool, bloating, and passing a lot of gas.

A study published in 2015 found that the Giardia parasite can affect the gut and cause more hydrogen sulfide to be produced.10 In fact, Dr. Charles Patrick Davis on eMedicineHealth says that “sulfur-tasting burps” are one of the main symptoms of a parasite infection.11

If you experience diarrhea for one to two weeks, have unexplained weight loss, bloating, and have bouts of belching that has a sulfur odor, you should visit your doctor. Your doctor will check for parasites and recommend a course of treatment to kill off intestinal parasites.

How to Get Rid of Sulfur Burps Naturally

There are many ways to reduce the content of hydrogen sulfide in your gut and get rid of egg burps. Although gasses like methane and sulfur can cause eggy breath, these natural home remedies help to treat the source of the sulfur burping and not just mask any odors coming from your mouth.

Drink plenty of water

One of the first steps to reduce the smell of sulfur from burps and your breath is to drink plenty of water. According to Dr. Michael Picco from the Mayo Clinic, water aids digestion so that food is easily broken down and nutrients can be absorbed by the body.12

Apart from helping to boost digestion, drinking water has many other health benefits. Water helps to lose weight, keeps your joints well-lubricated, and flushes out waste products and toxins from the body.

Reduce intake of sulfur-containing foods

If you are bothered by sulfur “rotten egg” burps, you can try reducing your intake of foods that contain sulfur compounds. This can help to lessen the sulfur smell coming off your burps and from the air you exhale through your mouth.

According to nutrition consultant Dr. Elizabeth Ward, garlic and onions are usually the worst offenders for causing sulfur burps. The sulfur compounds in onions and garlic can stay in your mouth for a long time and also get absorbed into the blood stream and get exhaled through gas and breath.13

However, as I already mentioned in this article, many foods containing sulfur are very healthy for you and your immune system. Therefore, it is wise not to completely cut out these foods but to try and identify if any specific food is causing the sulfur burps and then eliminate that.

Manuka honey

You can get rid of sulfur smelling egg burps caused by bacterial infections by eating Manuka honey. Manuka honey is full of powerful antibacterial properties that can help to cure internal infections and also be used topically to treat skin infections. Honey is also a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

The Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal reported that ingesting Manuka honey can effectively kill off the H. pylori bacteria which causes gastritis and peptic ulcers. It was reported that honey also helps to boost digestion and helps protect the gastric lining.14  

You should take a teaspoon of Manuka honey 3 times a day to help treat your H. pylori infection that is causing sulfur burps and stomach pain.

There are many more health benefits of Manuka honey including curing sore throats, helping skin wounds to heal faster, and relieving the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Propolis

Propolis can help to improve bad breath and reduce the number of sulfur compounds in your burps. Propolis is formed by bees and it contains antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Studies into the medicinal effects of propolis when ingesting it have found that it can boost the digestive system. One study found that propolis can help to get rid of sulfur that is exhaled through the mouth.15

Yogurt

Raw yogurt contains probiotics that can help to get rid of odorous burps with a sulfur egg smell. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that improve the effectiveness of the digestive system and help break down food better. Plain probiotic yogurt can also help soothe your digestive system and manage medical conditions like IBS that cause sulfur burps.

Doctors on WebMD said that probiotic yogurt can help to reduce odor-causing sulfur compounds and thus help get rid of bad breath. They suggest consuming yogurts that have strains of lactobacilli and streptococci bacteria.16

Apple cider vinegar

Another way to improve your digestive health and prevent the embarrassment of burps smell like rotten eggs is to consume diluted apple cider vinegar. The acetic acid content in apple cider vinegar helps to increase the number of good bacteria in the gut which may help to eliminate egg burps.

The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported that apple cider vinegar can help to reduce inflammation in the gut and treat digestive problems. Clinical trials have shown that acetic acid helped to increase Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria strains of bacteria.17   

To use apple cider vinegar to get rid of sulfur smelling burps, mix 1-2 tablespoons of raw unprocessed apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink twice daily. To improve the taste of the natural remedy and boost its healing power, you can add some honey to the apple cider vinegar remedy.

Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea can help to reduce excess gas and get rid of foul-smelling sulfur burps and stomach pain. Chamomile is a natural anti-inflammatory ingredient that can help soothe your digestive tract and prevent nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Studies into the medicinal properties of chamomile have found that it can have a beneficial effect on digestive disorders. For example, research has shown that it helps to dispel gas from the gastrointestinal track, soothe the stomach, and reduce the symptoms of gastric ulcers.18  

To find out how to make a refreshing and soothing chamomile tea to help get rid of stinky sulfur burps, please read my article on how to use chamomile tea for great health.

Peppermint

Peppermint is another herb that can help to get rid of burps that smell like rotten eggs. Even just a drop of food grade peppermint oil in a cup of herbal tea can help improve digestion and eliminate a sulfur smell from your breath.

A book called Molecular Targets and Therapeutic Uses of Spices reported that peppermint oil has a gastroprotective effect on the gut and digestive processes. The researchers reported that peppermint inhibited the production of hydrogen sulfide in the intestines.19

Please check out my article on the great uses for peppermint oil to boost your health. There you will find out how peppermint can help to calm your nerves, relieve joint pain and headaches, and get rid of sinus congestion naturally.

Baking soda

If your burp smells like rotten eggs and has a foul smell to it, you can try drinking baking soda and water. Baking soda has the potential to treat many digestive problems like heartburn, relieve ulcer pain, and balance electrolytes in your body after a stomach upset. Baking soda is also a natural deodorizer and can help to treat stinky burps and bad breath.

The Journal of Clinical Dentistry reported that odorous gas exhaled from the mouth is of a major concern to many people. The study found that baking soda in toothpaste helped to reduce breath odor and the effects can last for up to 3 hours.20

In my article on the health benefits of baking soda and water, you can read about how to use baking soda for many health complaints. Baking soda and water can also help to keep your body more alkaline which has many health benefits.

Baking soda can also help to get rid of the symptoms of acid reflux and Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) naturally. It is known that one of the symptoms of GERD is bad breath.

Drink green tea

As well as drinking plenty of water to help with digesting food, drinking green tea can help to get rid of a sulfur smell from burps and your breath. Green tea has great health benefits because it contains many antioxidants that can help to protect your body against various diseases.

Researchers in Japan found that green tea helps to reduce sulfur compounds in the mouth. Sulfur can also occur in the mouth when food is broken down by bacteria. Green tea helped to eliminate the odors produced by hydrogen sulfide. It also had a deodorizing effect in the mouth and it can help treat the symptoms of halitosis (bad breath).21

Make a cup of refreshing green tea by placing a green tea bag in a cup of boiling water and let it steep for 5 minutes. Drink the tea 2-3 times a day to help improve the smell of your breath and prevent sulfur burps.

Sulfur Burps – When to See a Doctor

It is always advised to see your doctor if you feel unwell or if the sulfur burps last for more than a day or two. Your doctor may suggest taking over-the-counter medications such as Pepto Bismol that may be effective in fighting egg burps. Your doctor may also suggest taking antacids such as Alka Seltzer which helps to neutralizes the acids in the stomach and treat egg burps. There are also prescription medications that can fight other diseases and infections that might be causing the sulfur egg burps.

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Article Sources

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