Most people have a mysterious cough after they eat. It might happen after every meal or occasion. Several possible causes include acid reflux, food allergies, and dysphagia. Coughing is the way of your body that keeps irritants out of your respiratory system, as it is essential to identify the cause of irritation. Most of the reasons are treated by modifying your diet and eating habits or taking medicines. It is common to cough after you eat, whereas coughing is a typical reaction of the body trying to clear irritants from the airway. Irritants are introduced into the body when eating, leading to cough.
Most Common Cause Of Cough After Eating Are:
1) Respiratory Infection
Upper respiratory infections often cause many coughs, but these coughs clear up within 2 or 3 weeks. Any cough lasting for more than eight weeks is considered a chronic cough. A chronic cough after eating could be caused by an infection that never healed.
A cough caused by an infection sounds harsh and dry. This cough causes inflammation of the airway, which leads to more coughing. Cough caused by infection is hard to treat as the cycle of inflammation and coughing prevents healing.
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the lung and causes wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing. It usually starts in childhood but can also happen when you are older. Coughing caused by asthma is generally worse at night or early in the morning. The symptoms of asthma worsen during the attack experienced by the person. Many things can trigger asthma attacks, including fruits and vegetables and soft drinks. If you tend to cough after eating, asthma could be the cause.
3) Food Allergies
Food allergies usually develop in the child but can strike at any age. It is even possible to create an allergy to a food you have been eating as the food allergies typically cause an allergic response within an hour. Allergic reaction symptoms vary from person to person, which affects the respiratory system that causes you to cough. Other respiratory symptoms of a food allergy include wheezing and shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing. In some cases, food allergies can lead to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition that affects your breathing.
Dysphagia refers to having swallowing difficulty. If you have dysphagia, your body takes lots of time and effort to move food and liquid into your stomach, making swallowing painful. It leads to coughing while swallowing. Dysphagia also makes it feel like you have food stuck in your throat that causes you to cough. Many conditions can cause difficulty in swallowing, including Acid reflux and GERD.
5) Acid Reflux And Related Condition
Acid reflux occurs when acid from your stomach moves toward the food pipe. The acid may make its way into the upper food pipe through the stomach’s opening, known as the lower esophageal sphincter.
When a person is eating, the sphincter relaxes and allows food to travel in the stomach. Sometimes, the sphincter does not close, and the resulting gap allows the stomach to travel upward.The acid can irritate the food pipe that causes a cough after eating. People may experience a sore throat and a burning sensation in the chest. More frequent acid reflux can be usually caused by GERD( gastroesophageal reflux disease) and LPR(laryngopharyngeal reflux)
GERD is a chronic condition that causes a more severe form of acid reflux as the person having GERD experiences cough and trouble swallowing, wheezing, excessive stomach gas, etc.
LPR does not have similar symptoms as GERD. When it occurs, the stomach may travel as far up as the nasal passages as it cause coughing, hoarseness, postnasal drip, etc.
Treatment Of Cough
Treatment is done according to cause as treatment may be as simple as avoiding trigger foods or treating the condition with medications. Treatment often focuses on prevention, so regardless of what’s causing you to cough after eating, some simple steps may help you cough less and avoid complications such as aspiration pneumonia:
- Eat slowly
- Keep a food diary and mark any foods that cause cough after eating
- Do not eat a coughing attack as it leads to choking
- Take all your medications, especially those for acid reflux, as prescribed.
- Keep a glass of water nearby when you are eating.