A common question among novice divers is whether or not they can burp while underwater.
As with all things scuba, there is a scientific explanation for everything. So, can you burp while scuba diving?
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How burping works
Burping is caused by a build-up of gases in the stomach.
When these gases become too much for the stomach to handle, they are expelled through the mouth in the form of a burp.
Under normal circumstances, the diaphragm (the muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities)contracts and pushes the contents of the stomach up into the throat.
At the same time, the lower esophageal sphincter (a ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus) relaxes to allow those gastric contents to pass into the stomach.
However, when you are scuba diving, this process does not work in quite the same way.
How to burp while scuba diving
The easiest way to burp while diving is to simply make sure that you are in a position where your head is higher than your feet.
This makes it easier for ‘gas’ to move upwards.
Simply burp as normal through your regulator.
If you have trapped wind which is uncomfortable then it can help to gently gulp air which will help you generate a ‘burp’ to release trapped gas.
The effects of pressure on burping while scuba diving
When you are scuba diving, you are constantly surrounded by water pressure. This pressure has a direct effect on your body and its ability to expel gas.
The deeper you dive, the greater the water pressure becomes.
At depths greater than 10 meters (33 feet), that extra pressure has a significant effect on your lungs.
This is because, at those depths, your lungs are compressed to about one-third of their normal size.
As a result, it becomes much harder for you to take in air and expel gas.
In fact, at depths greater than 40 meters (130 feet), it is almost impossible for divers to exhale all of the air from their lungs because of this compression.
The good news is that most recreational divers never go deeper than 20-30 meters (66-100 feet).
And at those depths, while it may be more difficult to burp than on land, it is still possible to do so if you have a build-up of gases in your stomach.