Although quite a frightening symptom, shortness of breath after eating is actually quite a common complain, especially for those who suffer with conditions such as acid reflux. GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, brings with it many symptoms and respiratory problems is just one of them.
Dyspnea is the medical term for shortness of breath after eating and the reason behind it is down to the excess stomach acid produced by the stomach, or a leak from the stomach causing acid to leak into the esophagus. When it narrows, the acid can also reach other areas of the body such as lungs, airways and also the vocal folds. As you can imagine, the inflammation caused like this can wreak havoc on the way you breathe and can come with many symptoms often associated with asthma.
Generally medication will keep this condition in check and if it is not working for you, or you are experiencing symptoms again after a period of time, you should get back in touch with your doctor.
There are a number of other reasons why you might experience a shortness of breath after eating. In some cases, it’s a perfectly natural reflex to something you’ve eaten or the way you have eaten but at other times, it can be a symptom of something more serious. Take a look:
Causes of Shortness of Breath After Eating
A food allergy can bring many symptoms along with it and if you seem to experience the same shortness of breath after eating a particular food, it might be the case that you are allergic to it. What is happening is your immune system freaking out, trying to attack the bad thing present in the body.
There are many foods which could trigger an allergic reaction and among the most common are things like nuts, seafood or shellfish, soy, wheat, eggs, milk and more.
Because these symptoms are caused by an allergy, stopping eating them will cause symptoms to dissipate.
Eating too quickly or too much in one go can also have a similar effect on your body because the stomach has become enlarged too quickly. Generally caused by swallowing too much air, the bloating and swollen stomach will press into your diaphragm causing the shortness of breath after eating.
Long and breathing problems can clearly cause shortness of breath after eating, and even something as simple as a cold or the flu can have the same effect. If your airways or respiratory system is inflamed, eating will irritate the problem further, as will your enlarged stomach.
Arrhythmia or an irregular heartbeat is actually relatively common and although harmless can still bring with it some worrying symptoms.
Shortness of breath after eating can be joined with heart palpitations, exhaustion, chest pain, and in some extreme cases, fainting. The good news is that this can be treated with lifestyle and dietary changes as well as medication in more serious cases.
Your mental health can have a massive impact on how the rest of the body behaves. When stress hormones are released, for example, the body starts to produce different chemical reactions and in the course of this, many things are likely to change and happen within your body.
Stress disorders commonly affect not only the mind but also the digestive systems and even the respiratory system. If you feel anxious or upset while eating, you may find that you experience things such as hiccups and other ailments which in turn can also lead to shortness of breath after eating. These symptoms could even be joined with others like weight loss, loss of appetite, headaches, fatigue, exhaustion and more.
When is Shortness of Breath After Eating Dangerous?
For the most part, this shortness of breath you’re experiencing is only a short-term problem and it will go away by itself. In some cases, you may need medication from your doctor such as with other medical conditions.
If you experience shortness of breath after eating that goes on for longer than a couple of hours, you experience a temperature increase to decrease, or you feel otherwise unwell, it is wise to seek out medical advice.