A woman who is unable to burp naturally has finally had her first belch – thanks to a Botox injection.
Natalie Bickel, from Floyds Knobs, Indiana, has a condition called no-burp syndrome.
As a result, she suffered such ‘uncomfortable’ bloating as a result that she often couldn’t fit in her clothes due to her ‘stretched out’ belly.
The only effective way she could release gas was by flatulence, which she admits was not ‘ideal’ and often left her husband Jacob in stitches, which she found embarrassing.
Jacob eventually urged Natalie to seek treatment in February after researching no-burp syndrome online.
Due to her condition, Natalie (pictured) would suffer from extreme bloating, as she was unable to burp, leaving her with uncomfortable excess air in her stomach
It wasn’t until she had Botox injections in her throat that Natalie was finally able to belch – though she says the treatment ‘hasn’t completely solved the issue’
The unusual condition, known medically as retrograde cricopharyngeal dysfunction (R-CPD), can be treated with a Botox injection into the throat, specifically the cricopharyngeal muscle.
This temporarily paralyses the muscle, allowing it to relax and release pockets of gas.
Now able to burp, Natalie is much less bloated and encourages fellow non-burpers to explore similar treatment.
However she admits that the treatment hasn’t completely solved the issue.
She still passes wind more than the average person so may need more Botox injections in the future.
Natalie said: ‘I was extra bloated all the time. I couldn’t relieve gas until the digestion process started. I couldn’t fit in my clothes. It was just very uncomfortable.
‘It stopped me from hanging out with people and going to events as I felt so bloated and I didn’t know what to wear.
The 29-year-old (pictured) said that the condition would cause such discomfort that it would stop her from spending time with friends
What is no-burp syndrome?
Symptoms of Retrograde Cricopharyngeal Dysfunction (R-CPD) or the “No Burp Syndrome” are the lifelong inability to burp, chest pain and discomfort, stomach bloating, gurgling sounds coming out of your throat and flatulence.
These symptoms make social social interaction very stressful.
People with this problem often have to watch what they eat or drink as certain foods may exacerbate the symptoms.
Carbonated beverages and beer are two things many patients comment they must avoid.
Treatment can include a Botox injection of the cricopharyngeus muscle.
This is performed under general anesthesia using a minimally invasive approach through the mouth.
The surgery is day surgery that takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes.
‘I would feel so uncomfortable and just end up not going.’
Natalie said she often experienced abdominal cramping as the gas built up and her belly ‘stretched out’.
After being encouraged to get it checked by Jacob, the PR specialist spent two years visiting doctors, getting tests and eliminating foods in an attempt to ease her discomfort, but nothing worked.
Natalie said her gastroenterologist had not heard of the condition but referred her to an ears, nose and throat specialist who offered the treatment.
In May this year, she was given the Botox injection at Norton Brownsboro Hospital, Kentucky.
Some two weeks after receiving the Botox jabs, Natalie was finally able to burp, which has improved how she feels, but hasn’t been life-changing, she says
She received a general anesthetic before the 10-minute-long procedure and paid close to $1,000, after insurance deductions.
Immediately after the treatment, Natalie had a sore throat and was unable to swallow properly.
Despite these ‘weird’ side effects, she was able to burp within two weeks.
Natalie said: ‘I’ve seen improvement, but it’s not been life changing.
‘I’m able to burp but they are completely unexpected.
‘I can’t make myself burp like other people – as in I can’t force the air out when it feels like it needs to come out.
‘It’s funny because I gasp every time I have a burp because they’re so random.
Now Natalie is planning to return for a second round of the injections, and is hoping she will be able to learn to burp on demand
‘My bloating has gone down as well.’
Despite having ‘less flatulence’ now, she claims to still fart more than the average person.
She said: ‘My husband finds my flatulence funny, but it’s definitely not ideal.
‘I don’t want to be doing that all the time around him. But he’s not grossed out by it.’
Natalie plans to return for a second round of Botox treatment after her check up next month – to hopefully help her learn to burp on demand.