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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!


MARK
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,
emory
Avatar universal
giardia sounds like a safe bet for your symptoms.

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

also:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinidazole
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metronidazole

-emory
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?1236542572
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,
emory
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?1236542572
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.
Phil
Avatar universal
Possibly gallbladder disease.  Had all the symptoms described and had cholecystectomy in 2003.  Would get these burps right before an attack, plus vomiting/diarrhea.    Had ERCP/Sphincterotomy (Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction) in 2007 when the symptoms continued.  Relatively free of all symptoms since.
Avatar universal
The symptoms you describe would seem to correlate with a YEAST infection, namely Candida Albicans. You may want to get tested for this.

However, not every physician is aware of this condition nor do they all know how to test for it. There is a very strong drug available by prescription, but it is often with side effects, and if you drop the drug, it can lead to a recurrence of the condition. There is an all natural remedy available which I use personally. If you want more information, please send me an email at acemail2005-***@****.

Note: I am not a physician, but I am practicing user of herbs and supplements for many years and the information I have is informational only until you consult with your physician. Always consult a physician.
Avatar universal
Because you seem like an allergic person (asthma), it might be an allergy to sulphur containing foods or preservatives (eg 220 in dried fruit).  To identify these you could start keeping a food journal and noting whether your symptoms are worse when eating sulphur rich foods such as eggs, asparagus, cabbage, broccoli and legumes.
Symptoms of a sulphur allergy include diarrhoea, asthma or respiratory symptoms, headaches and itchy eyes - the constipation might be the flip side of your diarrhoea (as in alternating with).  The strong smell in your stool could be a tell tale sign of sulphur allergy but suggests that your body isn't digesting properly in any case.  It can also indicate parasites or bacterial overgrowth in the lower gut which is called dysbiosis.
Another aspect to your problem might be the fermentation of foods containing insoluble fibre that occurs in your large instestine - it's a process that creates a lot of gas that can cause bloating and lower abdominal pain but also burping and smelling stools. (My husband has this when he overdoes his fibre intake and doesn't drink enough water.)
Foods that contain non digestible fibre include legumes (eg lentils), cellulose (outer part of fruit and vegetables) and the starch or fructan content in grains, fruit and vegetables.  Fructans (fructo-oligosaccharides) are a stored form of fructose that are not digested in the small intestine and are found commonly in garlic, onions, artichoke, corn, potato, oats, apples, banana and rice.  Similarly, starchy foods contain a certain amount of resistant starch (especially oats, bananas and cooked cold potato) that like fructan, is not digested but passes to the large intestine.  Once there, bacteria ferment the non digested fibre and use the bi-products to make foods that feed them.  The waste products that ensue are hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane; sometimes the hydrogen is converted to sulphur which is what makes flatus or burps smelly and produces bloating and belching. In the case of sulphur containing foods, too much gas passes to the lower bowel which also contributes to these symptoms.
Until you get this sorted maybe you should cut back on your fibre intake (insoluble) and foods rich in sulphur, and pre-soak all of your nuts, grains and seeds to remove any excess sulphur or other chemicals (eg enzyme inhibiting chemicals) that could worsen your problem.  I've heard lightly cooking foods rich in sulphur helps to eliminate this gas too.
It might be worth seeing a naturopath or integrative medical practitioner about an elimination diet in which you would remove the suspected foods for 2 weeks then re-introduce them one at a time (3 serves 3 days in a row).  If the bloating, belching or diarrhoea persists this usually suggests that you are senstive to these foods. I hear vega or live blood testing can also be quite accurate in diagnosing food intolerances or allergies, not to mention bacterial/parasitic overgrowth in the intestines that as mentioned, might be another reason for your poor digestion and weight loss. Slippery Elm can be fantastic for acid reflux; it creates a protective coating down your gullet.  Calcium is also a natural antacid as is a herb called Meadowsweet that you can drink as a herbal tea.  
Avatar universal
hi. i am 18 years old and i get those nasty smelling burps that smell like rotten eggs. the first time i got them i was about 15 or 16 years old. and i get them at least under ten times a year. they last all day and sometimes wake me up in the middle of the night. im so emmbarest to burp in front of any one cuz it smells so awful. and as i started getting them more offten it came along with some new symptoms. like sometimes i would be constipated or i would have dyarrha. never vomited yet and happy about that. the taste makes me want to tho. i know there is something wrong and i would really like an answer. i tried the dr.s and they say go in when i have the smelly burps. but my ergent care is just to far for me. i need answers.
Avatar universal
I think I may just have an answer to all or at least most of your guys' queries. GALLSTONES! I had to have my gallbladder removed in February of 2004 after a miserable 6 months of living what was later coined to be gallstones. It all started on July 4th 2003 after I ate some grilled hamburgers. Later that evening, I became extremely bloated, than I presented with rotten egg burps, severe stomach pain(pain can also be felt in the back or even shoulders, but it is usually felt most in your upper abdomen under your ribs on the right side where your liver is located because your gallbladder is attatched to your liver.) and that led to pea soup green colored projectile vomiting which I usually had to induce myself, as well as green colored stools, and when I would get an attack it always included hot and cold sweats, chills and sometimes a fever. I was confined to bed because I was in such excrutiating pain, and the only thing that would give me some relief was throwing up .It always happened to me after eating fatty meats especially beef and pork. But you have to make sure you get it all out or you will still have symptoms. That happens because the gallbladder produces (green) bile that helps digest fat in the stomach. If there is a stone blocking the duct, that food sits in your stomach undigested. I remember a really bad episode after a just a few bites of Thanksgiving dinner. I thougt I was going to have to call an ambulance, it was that bad. Ask your doctor to give you an ultrasound. And since it's bothering you that much you should definitely have surgery to remove it, because you will never recover from it on your own, the symptoms may get more bareable from time to time but they will come back with a vengence someday. I hope that I have given you all some helpfull advice. And I truly do hope that all of you get well and do so soon. Good luck to you all, and if you need some advice, please feel free to contact me @ ***@**** Thanks!
Avatar universal
I think I may just have an answer to all or at least most of your guys' queries. GALLSTONES! I had to have my gallbladder removed in February of 2004 after a miserable 6 months of living what was later coined to be gallstones. It all started on July 4th 2003 after I ate some grilled hamburgers. Later that evening, I became extremely bloated, than I presented with rotten egg burps, severe stomach pain(pain can also be felt in the back or even shoulders, but it is usually felt most in your upper abdomen under your ribs on the right side where your liver is located because your gallbladder is attatched to your liver.) and that led to pea soup green colored projectile vomiting which I usually had to induce myself, as well as green colored stools, and when I would get an attack it always included hot and cold sweats, chills and sometimes a fever. I was confined to bed because I was in such excrutiating pain, and the only thing that would give me some relief was throwing up .It always happened to me after eating fatty meats especially beef and pork. But you have to make sure you get it all out or you will still have symptoms. That happens because the gallbladder produces (green) bile that helps digest fat in the stomach. If there is a stone blocking the duct, that food sits in your stomach undigested. I remember a really bad episode after a just a few bites of Thanksgiving dinner. I thougt I was going to have to call an ambulance, it was that bad. Ask your doctor to give you an ultrasound. And since it's bothering you that much you should definitely have surgery to remove it, because you will never recover from it on your own, the symptoms may get more bareable from time to time but they will come back with a vengence someday. I hope that I have given you all some helpfull advice. And I truly do hope that all of you get well and do so soon. Good luck to you all, and if you need some advice, please feel free to contact me @ ***@**** Thanks!
Avatar universal
I also have this condition.  It is Gastroparesis
Avatar universal
This could definitely be Gastroparesis.  It causes you to feel full before you should, your food sits for long periods of time in your stomach and "ferments" it then proceeds to eject either via vomiting or diahrea with extreme abdomen pain.  There are many sypmton' I haven't mentioned and I would rather give birth than suffer these bouts of pain.

See your GP and request a gastric emptying study to be done.   Its a simple test and will rule out this very dangerous disease.

My weight went down to 31 kgs before a gastro doctor finally picked it up.

Good Luck.

Debbie
Avatar universal
yes, gastroparesis does seem like a likely bet.

more info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastroparesis

thanks for the diagnosis and the advice on doing a gastric emptying study!
Avatar universal
My 6 year old daughter had some of these symptoms.  It started with stomach pain, then it evolved into intense stomach pain, sulfur burps, sulfur gas, thick, creamy, foul smelling vomit. She had these symptoms on and off for about 3 months.  About every month she would break out in hives each time it was worse.  After two trips to the ER, blood test for allergies, stool samples, h-pylori testing, and numerous trips to her physician, no answers.  Then finally she was referred to an allergist.  First day seeing the allergist we had answers.  They preformed scratch tests.  Found out she was allergic to 7 different foods.  She has had none of the symptoms for about 6 months after cutting out all the foods.  But it took a good 2 weeks after cutting out the foods before the stomach pain went away.  Now if she accidentally eats something on the list it takes about two days after eating it and she has stomach cramps, I give her allergy med. lasts short time then she is feeling better.  So relieved to find answers, I know how helpless I felt,  not being able to help my daughter through those 3 months, and I feel for everyone who suffers with this.  Hope this helps.
Avatar universal
this is really gross. i want to throw up but i hate throwing up.and here is a tip try to drink alot and maybe hold in some of your burps it might help
Avatar universal
I am having a bout of this 2nd time in two weeks. I think it is triggered by meat and sugar. I took some good bacteria last week and boy did my stomach go into over load with pain. I have suffered with diarrhea for a long time and since taking the flora I haven't really had a good bowel movement. My stomach started hurting yesterday and today...sulfer burps. I am now going to do an oxy-powder colon cleanse, clean the heck out of my house, change the sheets and hope for the best. Will let you know how that works for me...had a bout with this a year ago, thought it was a sour stomach but I am convinced my protruding belly and severe bloating is much more than that.
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