Do you ever find yourself coughing after eating? Coughing is normally caused by some sudden irritation of the air passages or throat. It can also be a reflexive action, if you have gastric problems or a nervous disorder.
There are times when drinking cold beverages or eating ice cream that could trigger a coughing bout. If it happens a lot, you should let your physician know. Otherwise, read on to figure out the best ways to combat this problem.
What Causes Coughing after Eating?
Coughing results when your body tries to get rid of the irritation in your airway or throat. Everyone has bouts of coughing once in a while, but if you regularly experience coughing after eating, this could be a symptom of an underlying health issue.
There are two separate types of cough that you may experience after eating. The brief one, which is just done to clear your throat, rarely indicates that there is something to worry about.
Prolonged fits of coughing, however, can be caused by various conditions. Speak with your physician, rather than trying to diagnose yourself, so that the problem can be resolved while it’s still relatively easy to treat.
Food sensitivities and allergies are fairly common causes of irritation in the throat, and the reaction is often coughing. It may not be the food per se that starts the coughing, but perhaps the temperature of the food or the way it was prepared. If you are unaccustomed to eating a certain type of food, this can also lead to sudden coughing.
- Acid Reflux
The main symptom you will experience if you have acid reflux is food that enters the stomach and then returns to the lower part of your esophageal passage. The sphincter muscle at the end of the passage isn’t fully closing, or is re-opening when you digest your food. This condition brings food that is partially digested back into the esophagus. There, the acid content leads to irritation and coughing during and after eating.
If you have asthma, you may cough after eating as the result of allergens, or it may be a more complicated issue. Asthma itself can make you cough, even if you’re not eating. Chronic airway infection often leads to problems with excessive coughing.
This disorder makes it more difficult to swallow. When you are eating, it may trigger a defense mechanism within your body that causes you to begin coughing after eating, as your body tries to get rid of the food that was not properly swallowed. Eating your food pureed may help, and taking smaller bites may also be helpful.
- Inflammation or Infection
This is a common cause for coughing after eating, on a recurring basis. When you have inflammation or infection in your larynx, esophagus or other throat areas, this can cause all the parts to function improperly. This can cause difficulty in swallowing and other symptoms.
The inflammation may be caused by multiple things. A virus, bacteria or environmental allergens are often the cause. With inflammation or infection, coughing is not the only problem. You may also experience choking.
- Aspiration Pneumonia
This pneumonia does not come from a virus. Rather, the issue is brought on when you aspirate (breathe) liquid, food or vomit into your lungs. This is a serious condition. You should speak to your physician if you even suspect that this might be the reason for your coughing after eating.
What can you do about Coughing after Eating?
There is good news here! There are many things than help in reducing the urge to cough after you eat. Your physician may prescribe medications to control phlegm thickness or heartburn, and you can try OTC remedies that he suggests, first.
- Eat healthy foods.
Build and follow a balanced, healthy diet. Avoid sugar, salt and processed foods. This will take care of nutritional imbalances and allergies that may be at the root of your coughing problem. It helps in boosting your immune system, as well.
- Avoid foods that make the coughing worse.
Track the foods that cause you more problems and eliminate them from your diet. Allergies or sensitivities to specific foods can cause coughing.
- Eat more slowly.
Train yourself to slow down when you eat. Cut smaller sized bites and chew your food longer. This will make it easier for you to swallow and then digest. Taking small sips of water between bites will help, as well.
- Keep your throat moist.
Drink tea or other warm liquids all during the day. This will help in keeping your throat moist. Dry throats are more likely to experience the overproduction of phlegm and raspy coughing.
- Breathe warmed air.
Take hot showers, pausing to take in lots of moist, warm air. You can also use a vaporizer. Warming the air you breathe will reduce your phlegm reaction.
What have others Experienced?
It’s vital to see your physician as soon as you can if you are coughing after eating more than now and then. There is potential for this to be symptomatic of a serious health issue. Here are two cases of people with these symptoms, along with the way they handled the problem.
One patient who suffered from frequent coughing after eating suspected that she had acid reflux. Even though she did not often suffer from heartburn, she did experience a lot of mucus and phlegm. She felt constantly congested, which interfered with her meals. The phlegm got worse when she was eating, so much so that eventually, it became hard to breathe while she was eating. She decided to call her physician, in the hopes that she could find out the source of her problems. She had a viral infection that responded well to medications, and does not have excessive coughing anymore.
Another person who often coughed after eating worked with his physician to determine the cause, as well. At first, it was more like post nasal drip. OTC medications didn’t help and neither did a prescription given to him by his doctor. This patient did not think it was serious, but it was bothersome.
After visiting several specialists and having testing done, he was diagnosed with reflux and a hiatal hernia. The medications he takes now help more with his coughing after eating, even though he still feels like he has mucus in his throat. He is continuing to seek out medications that could be more helpful, under his physician’s guidance.