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Avatar universal

Chronic rotten egg/sulfur burps.

I am a 25 year old female and my only illness asides from these rotten egg/sulfur burps is Asthma -- since an infant. I have suffered with these burps for years of my life, and sometimes I can go years symptom free. When I was a little girl I'd get an isolated episode, projectile vomit until the veins in my face broke, and then was ok for a good year or so. The burps then started up again last October and were chronic and occurred 3-5 times a week. They stopped in Feb, and then began again in April. I have never had them last or be a problem for so long at a time.

These burps ruin my life. Asides from the disgusting taste -- I have to spend 12 hours in bed or else I vomit. I notice around hour 6-8 of the burps I get severe gas pains, bloating, and I cry it is so painful. By hours 10-12 they are gone and don't come back for about another day or two, then reoccur. In the meantime I take 10 mg of OTC pepcid 2X daily to try to prevent them and the heartburn that they come with.

My bowel habits change when the burps are back, and I get extremely constipated. Not to be gross but my bowels are often floating and fowl smelling like the sulfur I burped the day before. Food does not want to digest and I burp up the taste of food eaten over 8-10 hours after a meal. I have lost a large amount of weight as well due to not being able to eat. I had a baby in 2006 a year prior to them starting and I went from 185 after delivery to 145, mainly because of these sulfur burps.

I don't know if this condition is psychosomatic with people around. My husband claims he had a bout of them, as did my mother. I think for them because it was isolated it was in their heads more or less than a real issue. They have to continually see me suffer with the condition.

I quit eating chicken thinking that it was a problem with food. I quit eating wheat. I quit eating raw fruits and vegetables because they are known to be harder to digest. I have tried digestive enzymes, and special yogurts to promote digestion. I about about to try grapefruit seed extract. I am very tired of this condition. I have researched it to no ends on the internet and have found no answer. I am terrified I will starve to death because I can never eat. I have to spend half the week curled in bed with stomach pains while trying to nurse and care for my toddler. It is depressing beyond all means. From reading others around the internet world I know this is a viable problem and is not a simple "stomach virus".

Does anyone have some answers for what this could be, possible medications to treat it, and prognosis?

Thank you!
107 Responses
Avatar universal
ive had the same thing since 1998.  have been to doctors many times but never any helpful/accurate diagnosis.  it seems to come and go (sometimes attacks are two days apart, sometimes two years).

the only hopefully helpful advise i can offer is to make yourself vomit as soon as soon as the burps start.

once the attack starts, the burping and subsequent pain just get worse and worse until you eventually expel everything from your stomach.  in my experience, there is no way to avoid this.  however, if you can force yourself to vomit early on, you can largely avoid the 6-8 hours of misery.  making yourself puke is miserable too, but it only gets harder as the pain gets worse.

the key is getting EVERYTHING out your stomach.  when my attacks recur a day or two apart, it seems to result from not throwing everything up the first time.  i find taking a sip or two of water helpful for triggering the last few pukes.

one question for you (and anyone else suffering from this miserable curse): have you ever taken accutane, an acne medication?

theres been a lot of news lately about potential links between accutane and intestinal disorders (eg IBD).  i havent found any overwhelming evidence that this is related, but i did take accutane for a year or two in high school and curious how many other sulfur burpers did too ...

sorry i cant be of more help. will post again if i find out anything new ...

good luck!
Avatar universal
Hey Lily,

I'm Mark, and I'm 25 years old too. I definitely don't have the severe problems as you do from reading this, but I can say this, I ate a burger at Burger King back in July 2008, and a few days later woke up with Rotten Egg / Sulfur burps. The rest of the day I was in the bathroom with the worst diarrhea of my life. It was basically like I was peeing from my bum.. Sorry to be so graphic.

But it doesn't end there. About every 14 days or so I will wake up with rotten egg burps, and my stomach gets really upset when I eat meats, or other certain types of foods, and drink anything dairy (especially milk). I never had this before, until after I ate that burger at Burger King.

I've narrowed this down to being a parasite from the burger I ate. Most likely the parasite known as Giardia. Could have been some form of food poisoning too like Salmonella, or E Coli too. But I want these symptoms to go away.

You mentioned trying GSE (Grapefruit seed extract) which might not be a bad idea. There is also this other thing I am trying called "OREGANOL." If you haven't heard of it, go look it up. I just ordered some 2 days ago. I really hope that this Oreganol Super Strength does the trick. If you have any other recommendations for this please let me know. Or if you'd just like to chat more about this, Here is my email :

I will let everyone know how well it works for me. God bless you and yours for New Years!

Avatar universal
This isn't scientific (yet), and may be only an old wives tail, but I will share my experience.  I was a missionary in a 3rd world country for 10 yrs.  Off and on my children and I would get these "sulfur burps" and gassy tummies, but never to the point of severe discomfort or vomiting, just gross.  I had learned from a fellow missionary who grew up in PNG that this is caused by intestinal parasites...worms.  Whenever I or my children would experience these nasty burps, I'd run down to our local doc and request anti-parasite medicine (I don't recommend taking it regularly, it's hard on the liver).  It always took care of the problem.  I know there are natural ways to rid oneself of parasites, black walnut, garlic, "zapping".  I think it's worth looking into!  (Which is why I'm here, researching.)  

HTH,  Jane from Fiji
Avatar universal
May I recommend this page... http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4599959_what-causes-sulphur-burps.html

Confirms my old-wives tail as one cause!

Jane from Fiji
Avatar universal
thanks jane,

i have used a couple of the anti-parasite medications, and they definitely do work for parasites.  (the one-shot pill you get in third world is much more effective than flagyl and other fda-approved stuff available in states, by the way).

the sulfurous burping is indeed a common symptom of giardia, which i have had at least a couple times.  the anti-parasite stuff has always eliminated the giardia, as well numerous other "worms" that they test for in honduras (presumably similar in other third world countries).

however, my symptoms began before my giardia and have continued to persist after eliminating it. also, the recurrent nature of the attacks -- mine happened every 2 months for the first couple years, although now its more like twice a year -- is apparently unheard-of for giardia (or any other parasite afaik).

h. pylori (not a parasite, but also mentioned in your link) is something i havent researched much, though i did consider it to be a possible cause at one point.  

thanks again,
Avatar universal
giardia sounds like a safe bet for your symptoms.

see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giardia_lamblia


Avatar universal
Thanks for all your help, I'm trying the Oreganol but it hasn't really gotten rid of this yet. I think that I'll need to do some major to get these symptoms to go away. If you're able to email me please do :

mcnba @ hotmail
787467 tn?1236546172
I have been free of these awful burps and vomiting for 35 years. Now at 49 years old, they are back every week or 3, and after 8 months I have had enough of these unsociable burps and days in bed being sick. My doctor and Gasterinterologist are testing me for everything, but finding nothing wrong. I am working on the theory that it is a form of Fructose malabsorption. This means consuming more sugar and less Fructose & Diet Coke to keep the sulfur burps and Vomitting down to an acceptable level.
I am most interested how you guys get on though, and have your burps got worse with reduced sugar intake like me? also, does Diet Coke affect it?
Avatar universal
hi phil,

its been about 6 months since my last episode (which was a series of 3 attacks over a period of about a week).  

i havent noticed any correlation to sugar intake, however, i cant say ive ever consciously reduced sugar intake.  i did try a lemonade diet--the master cleanse[r]--a couple times, for 10-15 days each time. it didnt seem to affect the problem either way. as for diet coke (or other diet sodas), ive never had more than a sip, so i dont think that could be the culprit in my case.

please do post a follow-up if your tests turn up anything interesting.  ive been to a couple gastroenterologists and had two upper GI's to no avail.  once was actually during a vomiting episode (that barium drink doesnt taste any better on the way out).  im sure i will go again though at some point (which i can only hope wont be for another 35 years), so would be nice to know what has or hasnt been effective for others.

good luck,
Avatar universal
I suffered these burps for over a year, i changed my diet stopped eating alot of foods, i felt like any high sugar intake triggered it. I felt like everything I ate sat in my stomach and didnt digest and would build up for days then turn into diarreah the burps would get so bad and be followed by heartburn. I thought it was IBS and had treatment, i suffered these burps for days on end then theyd go away after severe diarreah for another few days then a continuous cycle, certain foods like meats and dairy triggering it off, UNTIL the other day I read that worms could be the culprit. I ran to the local chemist and embarassingly bought a threadworm& roundworm  treatment called pripsen which you dissolve in water then take again 14 days later to kill the worms then kill any that have hatched a fortnight later from eggs. Now no burps, no stomach pain, no diarreah and I feel free to eat what I likee without worrying, and when i do burp it does not smell. I feel like I have more energy. I heard worms feed on sugar and destroy the good bacteria in your gut leadin to some infood tolerances and food not properly being digested, leading to the fermenting of food in the stomach being the reason for the smell of rotting. Also you must change all bedsheets and dust your home and  hoover and wipe with a damp cloth, or steam with a steam cleaner or else reinfection is easy and your problem will be back within weeks. HOPE THIS HELPS EVERYONE.
Avatar universal
This sounds like exactly what I had when I was pregnant with my youngest son...do you have pets.  I had goats at the time and thought I had been meticulous about washing my hands..but I had recurring bouts that would start with burps (rotten egg), then severe stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea.  Then they would go away..I would be exhausted, but fine within 24 hrs.  But weeks later the same thing would happen.  I am dreadfully worried because now my 2.5 year old has had 4 episodes of this in the last 2 months...no diarrhea, but presents with all the other symptoms.  I have a tidy house..but a toodler house..and I don't no how to keep their germy little hands constantly clean.  to prevent reinfectin..if that is what it is.  We have pets, and my 2.5 year old feeds the dogs with his older brother, but no goats anymore.  I am honestly completely exasperated and exhausted.  Dreading putting him to bed and having an episode.  
787467 tn?1236546172
No Chris, I do not have pets. I do not think it is an infection as the house is real clean and the rest of the family is not getting it. The gastroscopy went down through my stomach real easy and confirmed there was no evidence of peptic ulcers or hiatus hernia. What it did show was that my small intestine was also very clear. Most people have small intestines with constricting internal rings that provide refuges for enzymes and good digesting opportunities. My food has the opportunity to just slde on through too easily into the large intestine. Whenever I feel something is not right, I am reaching for the sugar which is bringing the condition under control thankfully.
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