All About Air

by Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Writer

Acid reflux can be more than a food and digestive issue. There also are symptoms of acid reflux that are related to air.

Air in the esophagus

Sometimes if you have acid reflux, you feel as if you have an air bubble in your esophagus. You might be feeling gas related to the reflux. According to a 2001 study in the journal Gastroenterology, acid reflux can be acid, non-acid, pure liquid, or a mixture of gas and liquid. In another study, published in Gut in 2008, gas in the esophagus was present in about half of the recorded reflux events.

Swallowing air

According to a 2007 study published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, individuals with acid reflux disease swallow air more frequently than those without reflux. Even though people swallow air more often with reflux, this does not seem to make the reflux worse.


Research suggests that people with acid reflux also seem to belch or burp more often than those without reflux. In a 2003 study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 70 percent of those being monitored for acid reflux reported belching during the monitoring period. However, more research may still be needed to determine the range of normal and abnormal belching or burping for patients with acid reflux.

Breathing difficulties

Acid reflux can also impact your breathing. In one report, published in 2009 in the Annals of Thoracic Medicine, more than 85 percent of reflux episodes in infants were accompanied by breathing irregularities. There is also a known link between asthma and acid reflux. According to the Mayo Clinic, acid reflux can impact asthma, and asthma can impact acid reflux. While the exact relationship between the two disorders is not completely understood, it is clear that the esophagus and the lungs interact in a variety of ways.

**Your doctor can help you determine if your symptoms are related to acid reflux or not. Keeping a journal of what, when, and how often you feel the symptoms may provide your doctor with helpful information.

Dr. Tracy Davenport is a health writer, advocate and entrepreneur who has been helping individuals live their best life. She is co-author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux. Follow Tracy’s love of smoothies on Twitter.

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.
Meet Our Writer
Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.

Davenport is the founder of Using the latest scientific research, she helps people live their healthiest lives via one-on-one coaching, corporate talks, and sharing the more than 1,000 health-related articles she's authored.