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Burps Taste Like Eggs and Smell Like Eggs: Causes

Updated on August 18, 2016
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Trained in dentistry, Sree is currently pursuing lab sciences. She loves researching and sharing information on various health topics.

What is an Egg Burp

So you're having a nice, romantic dinner, and as you lean towards your splendid date, a loud expulsion of noxious gas escapes your mouth and fills the space between your faces with a noxious smelling gas. The sound of an egg burp is already especially worrisome, but when the burping sound is accompanied by a foul smell, more commonly akin to rotten eggs, the egg burp becomes downright embarrassing. Welcome to (or rather unwelcome to) egg burp. Burping is a natural biological function. It is a process involving the discharge through the mouth of gases trapped in the digestive and intestinal tracts of the body.

The act of burping and the sound it produces are rife with sociological and cultural implications. While some cultures regard burping in public as a normal thing, some see it as rude. Regardless, burping is one of those body functions that, more often than not, provides a clue as to the overall state of one's health.

Ordinarily, burps do not emit a foul or powerful smell; at the very least, the smell of one's burp should be mild and not immediately obvious. So when burps smell like rotten eggs, this is essentially an indicator of an underlying health situation, not to mention a possible cause of social humiliation and embarrassment.

Usually, your burp smells and tastes like the food that you just ate. Sometimes, however, burps taste like eggs. These burps are sulfur burps and they are caused when the body expels hydrogen sulfide after breaking down proteins in the digestive system. If you feel embarrassed when you burp loudly in the presence of other people, you may be embarrassed even more when your burps taste like eggs.

Egg Burps, otherwise called sulfur burps, can be easily ignored or dismissed as an everyday, common occurrence that can happen to anyone and everyone. On the surface, it seems that all they are is that they can be embarrassing, especially when you burp in front of other people. They can also seem nothing but an unpleasant "normal" event that happens to our body's intestinal system. However, be aware that an egg burp can be a sign of something more serious.

So why does this problem happen and how does it arise? The succeeding paragraphs offer a brief description of what the problem is and the ways to successfully overcome it.

On a more scientific note, the "excess air" actually comes from protein macro-nutrients that we ingest on a regular basis. This could be meat, milk, poultry, and of course, eggs. When certain of these proteins are broken down in the intestinal or digestive tract, hydrogen sulfide gas, or H2S, is generated. Microbes in the intestines reduce the sulfur in the proteins that we eat, and creates the hydrogen sulfide gas, an unnecessary product of our digestive process that needs to be expelled somehow. This expelled gas goes through the mouth, and is generally an uncontrollable physical response to the build-up of the gas. The bad rotten egg, or noxious sulfur smell, is the result of the protein components of the gas.

And who does it happen to? Practically everyone. Anyone who eats protein food with even a trace of sulfur proteins will find themselves burping out the H2S gas. Anybody, at any age, is capable of expelling out the hydrogen sulfide gas when they burp, but this process is more commonplace among pregnant women. This is because pregnancy slows down the digestive process, and more sulfide gases are produced faster than a pregnant woman can break down proteins.

Burps Taste Like Eggs
Burps Taste Like Eggs | Source

What Causes Egg Burps

Now that you know what egg burps are, what factors actually cause them, and in particular, the buildup of hydrogen sulfide gas in the digestive tract?

The most obvious factor is what causes the gases to form in the first place anyway: the "protein sulfur" from the food we eat. Since almost of the foods that cause egg burps can be part of, or an even important part of normal diets, the best that you can do is to limit the foods that will cause the egg burp.

The first group of food are obviously the proteins that can cause sulfur buildups, and these are mostly animal proteins, the so-called, "high protein" food. This group includes red meat, eggs, and dairy products. Whey protein, used by many people who work out, is also known to cause egg burps. High-protein food stay in the digestive system, especially the stomach, while the food is being digested.

The second group of food to watch out for are plant food such as onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, asparagus, broccoli, peas, soybeans, beans, cashew nuts, and tomatoes. Take note that bananas and coconuts are also known to cause egg burps.

The third group are canned goods can also cause egg burps because of the chemicals and preservatives used in manufacturing them.

Fourth, beverages such as coffee, tea, and carbonated drinks can leave you "gassy" and cause egg burps. Also, alcohol, especially if taken in high quantities can lead to egg burp.

In general, also eating food rich in sugar can cause egg burps.

Note that we did not use the word, "avoid" when listing down the food that cause egg burps above. Unless there is a critical medical need to avoid hydrogen sulfide gas buildup, egg burps are simply (sometimes) socially awkward occurences.

Certain prescribed medicine that contains sulfur compounds can cause egg burps. Check your medication's labels to see the level of sulfur content.

This section has provided you with the basic, generally, benign and harmless reasons why you have egg burps. The next section will discuss how egg burps can be a concern, and whether you should see a medical professional to help out with your condition.

Possible Serious Causes/Indications of Egg Burps

There is generally, no medical reason to be concerned or alarmed, about egg burps. However, the following are situations which may require some medical attention:

Gastrointestinal Infection - An infection caused by a parasite can cause egg burps. Aside from the egg burps, this type of infection can yield more serious symptoms, such as abdominal cramps, general abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. This type of infection is common in areas where there are general unhygienic conditions, unclean water, and were fecal-oral transmission is possible.

Sulfur Burp Causing Bacteria - Certain so called, "sulfur-reducing bacteria," and similar microorganisms found in food can also cause egg burps. These include culprits like Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which can cause both duodenal and gastric ulcers, heartburn, and upper-abdomen bloating. Helicobacter pylori bacteria can be detected through a urea breath test, and is easily treatable with antibiotics. Another microscopic culprit is the one-celled, giardia lamblia parasite that can enter the human body through water and/or food. Aside from causing egg burps, it can also lead to flatulence, diarrhea, and abdominal bloating.

Ordinary intestinal bacteria, also called "gut bacteria," which are actually necessary in digestive functions can cause problems, if they over-produce. Also known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), this condition can also cause flatulence, diarrhea, and abdominal bloating, aside from egg burps. This is especially true to people who have lactose intolerance, or fructose malabsorption issues. Additionally, those with celiac and Crohn's disease can experience limited, or delayed digestion. This may cause more undigested food staying longer in the digestive tract. This in turn, potentially causes more buildup of hydrogen sulfide gas.

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS can also lead to egg burp. IBS can lead to a so-called, "empty colon," but this condition is relatively easy to treat, so egg burp can be easily avoided.

Egg burps can also be caused by gastroparesis, a disorder that is characterized by the stomach being slow to empty. Tests are available that can confirm this condition.

1% of the population has celiac disease, which can also lead to egg burps. This is a genetic autoimmune disorder that affects tissues in the small intestine. Celiac disease disrupts normal absorption of nutrients from food.

If you sense that this, and other digestive issues are showing more serious symptoms, you should see a gastroenterologist immediately.

Current medical conditions or illnesses can also lead to egg burps. If you have had your gall bladder recently removed, or if you have gall bladder issues, egg burps may be a constant problem. Also included among the egg burp-inducing conditions are acid reflux and abdominal hernia.

Anxiety and stress will also make you burp a lot.

Other questions are why does burp smell and taste like rotten eggs?

Firstly, Burps with a foul stench

When the smell of your burp comes with a foul stench similar to the smell of rotten eggs, you are suffering from what is commonly called as sulfur burps.

Sulfur burps are a result of the body's digestion process. When the food that the body has taken in contains sulfur, microbes in the intestine that are capable of reducing sulfur to its basic form work to break down the complex sulfur components of the said food item. This process yields hydrogen sulfide byproducts that are eventually released from the body through burping. Hence, the term sulfur burp.

When it gets out of the mouth, hydrogen sulfide gas comes with a very unpleasant smell. Over the years, people characterize the smell as one that resembles the stench of rotten eggs - an equally repugnant assault to the olfactory nerve. The smell of rotten eggs is one that should be immediately obvious to the person concerned.

While having burps smell like rotten eggs does not pose an emergency medical situation and should not in any way be a cause for panic, it is nonetheless necessary to look into its underlying causes in order to spell out an effective treatment method.

Burps Smell Like Eggs
Burps Smell Like Eggs | Source

Why Burps Smell Like Eggs

There are a wide range of possible reasons why your burps smell like eggs. The most common among these is the type of food that you eat.

Your dietary choices play a very crucial role in the overall condition of your body, including such thing as the smell of your burps. Having sulfur burps, for example, is highly likely a result of a high-sulfur diet.

Some of the food items that contain sulfur include milk and other dairy products, as well as certain vegetables, such as tomatoes, onions, garlic, mustard, broccoli, and cabbage. Poultry, legumes, and certain fruits, such as avocado and bananas, and even popular dietary staples, such as tea and coffee, all contain sulfur. It goes without saying that regular or excessive intake of any or all of these food items, resulting in the accumulation of sulfides in your stomach, will all but guarantee burps smell like eggs.

Complimenting your dietary choices are your dietary habits. Large dietary intake, or eating excessively, for example, is likely to result in your digestive system having to digest your entire food intake for a longer time than usual. The accumulation and subsequent digestion of food for a longer time is likely to result in greater hydrogen sulfide byproducts, thereby causing greater chances of suffering from sulfur burps. This is exacerbated by a diet high in protein and sugars.

Certain bacteria likewise cause sulfur burps. Found in the body's digestive and intestinal tract, these microbes are instrumental in the production of hydrogen sulfide byproducts, which ultimately cause burps smell like eggs.

It is important to note, however, that there are regular bacteria residing in the body that help in breaking down sulfur components in the food items that the body takes in. These microbes work on a regular basis to make sure that the complex chemical components found in our diet are properly broken down for easy absorption.

The problem arises when these intestinal bacteria increase in number beyond the normal level. This condition is called intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO, which basically increases the level of permeability of the small intestine, resulting in bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and sulfur burps. This becomes even worse when it happens alongside preexisting health conditions, such as lactose intolerance and fructose malabsorption.

Two other bacteria that have been found to cause sulfur burps are Helicobacter pylori and Giardia lamblia. The former causes gastritis and bloating, as well as gastric and duodenal ulcer. The latter, on the other hand, is a unicellular parasite contracted by the intake of contaminated food or water. It causes diarrhea, flatulence, and farting. Having burps smell like eggs is a common symptom of bacterial infection.

The less obvious causes of burps smell like eggs include the intake of medications that contain sulfur compounds, as well as high levels of stress and anxiety.

When broken down by the body into their basic components, medicinal products that contain sulfur end up producing hydrogen sulfides as an inevitable byproduct. As noted earlier, sulfides cause sulfur burps.

Stress and anxiety, especially when left unchecked, also pose adverse affects to the body. When not in its optimal state because of fatigue or an imbalance of chemicals, the body is not able to function well, affecting several of its usual functions, including digestion. An unhealthy digestive system results in gastrointestinal disorders that eventually become the root causes of sulfur burps.

Food Items that Contain Sulfur

Type of Food
Food Items
Vegetables
Tomatoes, shallot, leeks, onions, garlic, mustard, broccoli, cabbage, legumes
Fruits
Avocado, coconut, bananas, watermelon
Dairy
Milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, custard
Poultry
Poultry meat, eggs

What Makes Burps Taste like Eggs?

Secondly,
Most of the causes of sulfur burps are not life-threatening. There is no need for you to worry about them because they eventually go away, anyway. However, when your burps taste like eggs and they are accompanied with nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting, you may have an underlying health issue. If this is the case, you need to see a doctor and get a medical check-up.

The following are the most common causes of sulfur burps:
Sulfa-Containing Food Products. If you tend to have sulfur burps occasionally, you should observe your diet. List down the food that you eat and how you feel after eating them. Keep in mind that the hydrogen sulfides cause the burps to smell like rotten eggs. Hence, it is only logical to know that egg burps can be caused by complex protein food.

Eggs and dairy products can make burps taste like eggs. Similarly, vegetables that smell pungent, such as onions, garlic, asparagus, broccoli, and cabbage, as well as certain fruits such as bananas and cashews can cause sulfur burps. Other foods that can cause this condition include soy, beans, peas, tomatoes, cashew nuts, coconuts, red meats, and canned goods. You also have to be careful with what you drink. As much as possible, you should avoid cola, tea, and coffee to reduce your chances of having sulfur burps.

Poor Eating Habits. Aside from the food that you eat, your eating habits may also cause your burps to taste and smell like rotten eggs. For instance, if you often eat heavy meals that consist of complex proteins, you may notice that your burps taste like eggs. This is because such meals tend to sit in the stomach and small intestines much longer, consequentially causing sulfide gases to build up. To avoid sulfur burps, see to it that you chew and swallow your food carefully. Do not rush your meals.

Gastrointestinal Infection. It is typically caused by parasites and bacteria, particularly the giardia lamblia parasite and the helicobacter pylori bacteria. You should keep in mind that sulfur-reducing bacteria as well as microorganisms that use sulfur compounds can make burps taste like eggs.

You can get gastrointestinal infection via oral-fecal transmission as well as if you use dirty water or have poor hygiene. When you have this kind of infection, you may experience abdominal pain, cramps, vomiting, ulcers, nausea, and diarrhea. See to it that you visit your doctor as soon as possible.

Other Diseases. Aside from the health issues mentioned above, sulfur burps may be caused by other diseases such as pancreatitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and gallbladder problems. You may have irritable bowel syndrome if you have an empty colon. Do not worry, though. This condition is not difficult to treat. If you have had your gall bladder removed, you may also experience unpleasant burping.

Anxiety and Stress. Being anxious and stressed out all the time can cause you to burp often. It can also cause you to have gastrointestinal symptoms, including hernia and acid reflux.

The connection between anxiety and burping involves the swallowing of air in times of stressful situations. According to the University of Michigan Health System, some people tend to swallow air whenever they are faced with challenging situations. This may be their coping mechanism for dealing with anxiety and stress. When you swallow large amounts of air, they may go back up your esophagus and out of your mouth. The air may also pass through your digestive system and come out as gas.

Another anxiety-related reason for burping is heartburn, which can be caused, triggered, or worsened by stress. You experience heartburn when your stomach contents enter your esophagus or the tube between your mouth and stomach. The acid inside your stomach burns your esophageal tissue and produces pain. As a result, you may end up taking in more air.

Prescribed Medications. Certain medications, especially those that are sulfur based or contain ingredients with sulfur compounds, can make burps taste like eggs. So, you need to make sure that you always read the labels of medications to find out if they may lead to sulfur burps.

Infection
Details
Giardia Lamblia Parasite
It is a one-cell parasite that infects people via water or food, consequently leading to diarrhea, bloating, farting, and sulfur burps.
Helicobacter Pylori Bacteria
They can lead to gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer, heartburn, bloating, chronic gastritis, and sulfur burps. Urea breath tests can diagnose infections caused by these bacteria. Such infections can be treated with antibiotics.
Intestinal Bacteria
These bacteria are normally present in the intestines. However, when they over produce, they may cause problems such as diarrhea, bloating, farting, and making burps taste like eggs. This overproduction of intestinal bacteria is referred to as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). If you have lactose intolerance or fructose malabsorption, you may have gut bacteria problems too. In addition, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and other conditions can limit digestion, causing more undigested food to be broken down by sulfur-reducing bacteria and more hydrogen sulfides to build up. Eventually, this makes burps taste like eggs.

How to Get rid of Egg Burps

Fortunately, there are a variety of ways on how you can make your sulfur burps go away. Many of these methods do not even involve trips to the doctor. You can use home remedies, which are inexpensive and easy to find. More importantly, you should take a look at the way you live and reevaluate your lifestyle. Sometimes, all it takes for your health to improve is to make certain changes in your lifestyle.

The following treatment methods can help you get rid of your sulfur burps and improve your overall health:

Eat properly. This has got to be a no-brainer. Simply put, if you want to be healthy, you need to eat healthy foods. You need to make healthier choices each time you go to the supermarket or dine in restaurants. You should go for foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. As much as possible, you should avoid processed goods and food that contain too much salt or sugar.

Since you want to treat your sulfur burps, you should eliminate the food that contains high amounts of sulfur in your diet. These foods include dried fruits and eggs. You should also cut back on dairy products as well as food that contain dairy-based ingredients. Avoid carbonated drinks and reduce your alcohol intake. You can go on a cleansing diet or detox diet for a while to see if your condition improves.

First, you should eliminate the above mentioned food in your diet for a few weeks. Then, you should gradually re-introduce them into your diet to see if you experience any changes in your condition. Do not forget to take note of the food that make your burps taste like eggs. Remember that these are the ones that you need to avoid. So, every time you shop for groceries or go out to eat, see to it that you do not consume these food.

Furthermore, see to it that you drink adequate amounts of water and add fiber to your diet. This combination can significantly improve your digestive system. They can help flush away the elements in your body that produce sulfides.

Be mindful of possible underlying conditions. As you known, certain diseases can make burps taste like eggs. So, if you suspect an underlying condition, you should adjust your diet accordingly. You should also seek help from a medical professional.

For instance, if you think that you may have celiac disease, you can try eliminating gluten products, such as wheat, rye, and barley, from your diet. If you experience symptoms like nausea, fatigue, bloating, diarrhea, low body temperature, and bloody stools, you may have Crohn's disease. So, you should go to a gastroenterologist and undergo necessary tests.

If you have had peptic ulcer, gastric reflux, heartburn, or stomach burning in the past, you should go to a gastroenterologist and undergo a breath test for helicobacter pylori bacteria. If you get a positive result, you should take the prescribed antibiotics.

Likewise, you should undergo testing for other bacterial infections and conditions so that you can take the prescribed medications. For instance, if you have an infection caused by giardia parasites, you have to undergo a stool test and take the prescribed anti-parasitic medications. If you have had your gallbladder removed to treat your gallstones, you have to get an abdominal ultrasound and undergo gallbladder tests to diagnose your gallstones and get the necessary treatment.

Drink warm water with honey and lemon. Each morning upon waking up, you should drink a glass of warm water with a spoonful of honey and a few drops of lemon juice. Make this a habit and you will surely find yourself healthier. Both honey and lemon have cleansing properties that make them effective in treating sulfur burps. Even better, they are effective in flushing away toxins, including sulfur burp-causing sulfides, from the body.

Drink warm water with baking soda. You just have to dissolve a tablespoon of baking soda in one cup of warm water. Baking soda is effective in neutralizing gasses in the stomach. Take note that the unpleasant smell and taste of your burp are caused by your stomach acids. When you drink a cup of warm water with baking soda, you may throw up immediately. This is an indication that this treatment works for you. In just a few minutes, your sulfur burps will go away.

Then again, see to it that you are close to a sink or to your bathroom when you drink this so you can throw up without hassle. In addition, you should never take baking soda with an antacid. It is also not advisable to drink this mixture on a full stomach since you will be made to vomit. If you are pregnant or on a sodium-restricted diet, see to it that you consult your doctor before you drink this mixture.

Drink warm milk with raw honey and turmeric. Just add one tablespoon each of raw honey and turmeric to one glass of warm milk. Ideally, you should drink this twice a day to solve your sulfur burp problems. Raw honey has antibacterial properties while turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties. Milk is an alkaline, so it gives you a soothing effect and neutralizes against gastric acids.

Use Pepto Bismol. You do not need a prescription from your doctor to obtain Pepto Bismol. You can easily purchase it from your local pharmacy. This over-the-counter medication can make your sulfur burps go away. It binds with the sulfides in the sulfides that make burps taste like eggs.

Take digestive system and stomach. Pepto Bismol contains bismuth, which eliminates the note that Pepto Bismol should only be taken by people above 12 years of age. There is a specific Pepto Antacid available for children below 12 years of age. Hence, you should not give Pepto Bismol to a child. Also, after you take this medication, you may notice that you have a black tongue or black stool. This is caused by bismuth sulfide, which in turn is caused by Pepto Bismol's active ingredient bismuth.

Use alka seltzer. It is an antacid that neutralizes stomach acids. As you have read previously, it is your stomach acids that cause your sulfur burps. So, if you no longer want to have unpleasant tasting and unpleasant smelling burps, you should try taking some alka seltzers.

Take antibiotics. You need to go to your doctor and obtain prescription for these medications. Your doctor may give you a prescription for your sulfur burps. If your sulfur burps are caused by an underlying condition, your doctor may also give you a prescription for that.

What Causes Egg Burps
What Causes Egg Burps | Source
Characteristics
Details
Egg Burp other names
Sulfur burp, rotten egg burp. Defined as the expelling of hydrogen sulfide gas that has built up in the digestive system. The "excess" hydrogen sulfide gas is then expelled through the mouth by a mostly uncontrollable burp, the smell of which often can be compared to that of a rotting, or rotten, egg. In some cases, the gas buildup can also lead to flatulence, in addition to the egg burps.
Causes of Egg Burp
High protein food, certain vegetables, fruits, vegetables, carbonated and caffeinated drinks, and high amounts of alcohol. Timing of when you eat can also be a factor in producing egg burps. Externally, some parasites and bacteria introduced to the body may cause egg burps.Certain prescription drugs can also cause egg burps.
Who is affected
Anyone at any age, especially those eating lots of protein, but most commonplace among pregnant women. Occurrence is more likely after taking in a lot of food and alcohol.
Possible serious causes/indications of Egg Burps
Gastrointestinal infection and parasites can also cause egg burps. Existing digestive conditions, and other medical conditions are possible causes, together with stress and anxiety.
How to get rid of, or minimize egg burps
Reduce intake of high-protein food, which is the biggest culprit in the cause of egg burps. Reduce alcohol intake, drink more water, and eat more high-fiber food, which help in general digestion, especially of high-protein food. Take herbal teas, antacids, or a solution of baking soda and water. Consider asking your doctor for alternatives to medicines with high sulfur content.

Tip!

Sulfur burps are often caused by having a diet high in sulfur. The intake of sulfur results in the production of sulfide byproducts, which then escape the body through the mouth, often with a very unpleasant smell. To minimize or altogether eliminate burps that smell like rotten eggs, it is crucial to switch to a low-sulfur diet. Some of the food items with low sulfur content include squash, zucchini, apples, and eggplant.

Sulfur burps are a result of the digestion process. What gaseous byproduct during digestion causes burps to smell like rotten eggs?

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