Former cabbie speaks of frustration over mystery condition which has left him constantly BURPING

·4-min read

A dad-of-two has spoken of his frustration at suffering from a mystery condition which has left him constantly BURPING - for the past eight months. 

Michael O'Reilly, 61, bursts into uncontrollable fits of belching every seven minutes after a single cup of tea triggered the bizarre affliction last June.  

He had been on a golf course with a pal when his gassy outbursts kept putting him off his shot - prompting him to go to the doctors.

But so far medics have not been able to diagnose the condition, which has led to the burps becoming louder and more violent over the last eight months. 

The belching is particularly worse whenever Michael has something to drink - with Weetabix and milk being the worst for triggering the attacks. 

Sometimes Michael will only burp once every few minutes but often he suffers prolonged and excessive bouts of belching which has made his life a "nightmare".  

Former taxi driver Michael, of Erdington, Birmingham, said: "It just began with a single burp from drinking a cup of tea last June. 

"It was before I went out on the golf course and the old guy I was playing with gave me a couple of boiled sweets to help as it continued during the round. 

"But it only seemed to make it worse, I kept on burping. It was pretty off-putting but I thought nothing more of it - until the burps would not stop coming the next day. 

"They happen every seven minutes now, pretty much without fail, they can be short single burp or a series of sharp ones which come out of nowhere. 

"It's almost like a hiccup as you can't feel them coming, they just take me by surprise, and it's been an absolute nightmare.

"If I have Weetabix with milk that sets me off the worst but if I eat pie and chips, they aren't as bad. It is mainly whenever I have any fluids. 

"It is just so random and I don't know what is going on. They can last for about three seconds. I just want it to stop though as it really worries me."


Michael believes he could have aerophagia - a condition of excessive air swallowing, which goes to the stomach. 

He added: "I think it could be that but so far the doctors have been unable to help. 

"I've been prescribed medication which hasn't worked so I'm just waiting now for further appointments.  

"I've had online sessions with a neurologist but so far nothing has stopped me burping every few minutes.

"They are really loud and getting louder. I've been searching for work but this has made it almost impossible. 

"Who is going to employ someone who is burping every few minutes through an interview. 

"With lockdown it hasn't been as embarrassing as it could be as obviously we can't socialise as much. 

"But I can't go on like this, I want to get back out on the golf course and I don't want to be burping on the 18th, it could put me off my shot. 

"Apparently aerophagia can last up to two years which I hope isn't the case, I'm just hoping doctors can get to the bottom of it.  

"The only time it stops is when I'm lying down on my back. If I sit in a forward crouched position, it seems to set them off.

"People have asked if it could be down to anxiety or nerves - but I'm a relaxed, laid back kind of person so I don't believe it's that.

"I have Huntington's disease and suffer from insomnia too but I don't think it's connected to that in any way. 

"Whatever it is, I just want it sorted so I can go back to enjoying a cup of tea without worrying about bursting out into loud burps." 

The website WebMD says aerophagia can be a nervous habit, but sufferers can get it if they eat, chew, or talk quickly.

It states: "You get aerophagia when you swallow so much air that it makes your stomach feel bloated and uncomfortable. Chewing gum can make it worse.

"Doctors often see aerophagia as a sign of other problems, such as an illness that affects your digestive system, or a psychological disorder like anxiety or depression.

"You may also have aerophagia if you have sleep apnea and use a device called a CPAP machine to help you breathe while you sleep. 

"The device blows air into your nose and mouth, so you may end up swallowing more air than normal.

"These problems can last two years or more in some people. 

"The symptoms are similar to other stomach illnesses, such as acid reflux, an irritation of the stomach lining, or irritable bowel syndrome."