Man left physically unable to burp for 30 years reveals how he finally managed to belch again

Man left physically unable to burp for 30 years reveals how he finally managed to belch again

How much do you take the simple act of passing wind for granted? To be honest, most people probably don't even think about it. We've all had the somewhat-embarrassing experience of letting loose a loud burp at an inappropriate moment in public, and have wished that we could get rid of belching and never have to do it again. But once you read this story, you might think twice about that particular fantasy...

Talent spotter Neil Ribbens endured a lifetime of agony and discomfort because of one bizarre reason: he was biologically incapable of burping. It might sound like a boon to never have to burp again; but Neil was left in pain every time he ate or drank, when methane gasses would quickly build up in his stomach and gut without having any way of being released.

Neil Ribbens with his girlfriend on holiday. Credit: Press Association

Neil first developed the curious condition in his childhood, when he noticed that, after eating a large meal or drinking alcohol or sodas, he'd soon endure painful stomach aches and violent hiccups while his belly bloated to twice its normal size. He'd also fart far more, as the gas was forced to escape his body another way.

Neil was later saved by an unlikely cure: Botox.

Now, most people think that Botox is purely a method of erasing wrinkles and smoothing out skin, but it has a number of other useful applications. After a £3,000 private procedure, in which a doctor injected the substance into his larynx, Neil's throat muscles loosened up after decades of tension and now he can burp to his heart’s content.

Commenting on his peculiar gastric problem, Neil stated:

"One doctor I spoke to laughed, which wasn’t great. After that, subsequent GPs would just prescribe me various over-the-counter drugs. There was no one who had heard of my condition. I avoided going to the pub with friends until I was about 25, because I knew I’d be in pain and would have to leave. Not being able to burp really impacted on my social life. If I had a three-course dinner I’d feel terrible afterwards, which led to me missing things like big work Christmas meals."

Neil Ribbens with his girlfriend. Credit: Press Association

He added:

"I don’t know how many people have this condition – but they should have this procedure. It was worth every penny. This condition is being gradually better understood by a handful of doctors around the world, but it hasn’t even got a name, which shows there’s still a long way to go. But words can’t really describe how much better I feel now and, luckily, unlike cosmetic Botox, it won’t have to be repeated at monthly intervals. The one operation should have cured my problem for good.”

Neil's girlfriend is apparently very happy that he has been cured, and personally I'm very glad that Neil is now capable of breaking wind comfortably, and can enjoy drinks at a bar without suffering.