Not being able to burp means it comes out the other end

US scientists conducted interviews with 199 people who lack the ability to burp, a condition called retrograde cricopharyngeus dysfunction (R-CPD), and they reported some pretty unpleasant symptoms, including excessive flatulence, a bloated stomach, socially awkward gurgling noises, and difficulty vomiting. A muscle in the throat of non-burpers – the cricopharyngeal muscle – can’t relax to allow gas to escape, causing the condition. As well as the unpleasant symptoms, half the patients had not talked to their doctors about the condition, with many being too embarrassed to broach the subject. Some also said it affected their relationships and working lives, and that it had led to anxiety and depression. The experts hope to raise awareness of  R-CPD to reduce the stigma and feelings of embarrassment among sufferers

Journal/conference: Neurogastroenterology & Motility

Link to research (DOI): 10.1111/nmo.14721

Organisation/s: Texas Tech University, USA

Funder: No funding was necessary for this manuscript. The authors have no competing interests.

Media release

From: Wiley

How does the inability to burp affect daily life?

The inability to burp—called retrograde cricopharyngeus dysfunction (R-CPD)—is caused by failure of the throat’s cricopharyngeal muscle to relax to allow the outward passage of gas. An interview-based study in Neurogastroenterology & Motility that included 199 adults affected by the condition reveals the impact of R-CPD on quality of life.

Most participants reported abdominal bloating, socially awkward gurgling noises, excessive flatulence, and difficulty vomiting. Only half discussed their symptoms with their primary care clinician, and 90% felt they did not receive adequate help. Participants also reported embarrassment, anxiety/depression, negative impacts on relationships, and work disruption due to R-CPD.

“R-CPD encompasses more than just the physical challenge of being unable to burp; it also significantly impacts people’s daily lives, relationships, and mental well-being,” said corresponding author Jason N. Chen, a medical student at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Future efforts should concentrate on raising awareness about R-CPD, which can help increase identification and treatment rates.”


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