Why Do We Burp?

It's a fact of life: We all burp. Call it a burp, call it a belch, call it bringing up wind, call it eructation (seriously, look it up), the fact of the matter is, we all expel stomach gas noisily through the mouth, and if you're unable to you might have a problem. In fact, most of us can even do it on command. But why is burping a thing?

We burp for a couple different reasons, and they all have to do with gas buildup in the stomach. When we're eating a meal, we usually swallow some air along with the food. When we're drinking soda, we swallow a lot of carbon dioxide. The gas we swallow needs to come back up, so it does. Also, the bacteria in our stomach create gases including methane, which also needs to come back up. If these gasses pass through the stomach and into the intestinal tract, well, they'll come out the other end instead.

It's been estimated that over the course of a day, we release about a quart of gas. While in some cultures it's considered impolite to burp in public, in others it's considered a sign of respect after enjoying a good meal. So eruct away, friends!