Have you ever had a cough after eating? Everyone coughs from time to time. Coughing is a way our body protects itself by removing irritating substances from the throat or respiratory tract.
Occasional coughing after eating may be due to some foods you’ve eaten that irritates the throat, or it may be due to a neurological disorder. If you have eaten something that is too hot or too cold, it is normal for your body to react. You do not need to worry too much about this symptom.
However, if you have a chronic cough after each meal, there may be other reasons such as food allergies, asthma, infections, and various gastrointestinal disorders. Please consult your doctor to determine the cause and take appropriate treatment.
Common Causes of Coughing After Eating
If you have a cough after eating, there are some remedies that can help you get rid of this problem. First, you need to identify the cause of a cough, which is the basis for taking the appropriate treatment. Here are the 6 most common causes.
Allergies may be one of the most common reasons for coughing after you have just eaten something. According to a survey found that food allergies affect about 3% to 4% of adults and 6% of children. So food allergies are more common in children, but they also affect adults.
The most typical symptoms of food allergy include coughing, wheezing, stuffy nose and tearing. In some cases, food allergies can cause other symptoms such as itching, burning, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, even difficulty breathing, which may be a threat to your health of life. At this time you need to be treated as soon as possible.
The most common foods that can easily cause allergies to include eggs, soy, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, fish, and shellfish. If you have symptoms of food allergies, try to avoid these foods.
There are instances when it is not the food itself that is causing the allergies but the way that the food is prepared. This explains why some people who have never been allergic to the chicken before suddenly develop an allergy probably because the chicken has not been cleaned properly.
How to Get rid of the coughing from allergies
When you have allergies then you can take note of the foods that you have taken. In the next meal, try to avoid these foods that have caused allergies.
If you have an allergic reaction, you can take some anti-allergy drugs. If the situation is serious, you need to seek medical advice immediately.
Sometimes, a cough after eating is caused by esophageal, throat or respiratory infections. Viruses and fungi may cause these areas to become infected, inflamed and cause coughing.
These coughs usually disappear automatically within 3-4 weeks, but if they last longer than 8 weeks, which are considered as a chronic cough. They may be the sequelae of cold without a complete cure.
How to Get rid of the coughing from infection
This chronic cough caused by the infection is difficult to treat because coughing can aggravate the inflammation. You need to consult your doctor to take some anti-inflammatory drugs for treatment.
Asthma is a chronic disease caused by food allergies or lung diseases. People with this condition may experience a persistent cough, wheezing, chest tightness, breathing difficulty after eating. This is because asthma can irritate the airways and lead to inflammation.
Foods that may trigger asthma attacks include beer, dried fruit, pickled onions, beverages containing sulfites, foods containing irritating additives, etc.
How to Get rid of the coughing from asthma
A cough caused by asthma is more common in the night or early morning, you can take some medicine to manage asthma to avoid cough.
4. GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux, is a common chronic disease. It can cause tissue damage that can lead to chronic coughing after eating.
The main symptoms of GERD include acid reflux, heartburn, cough, bloating, indigestion, and a sour taste in the mouth. Other symptoms include wheezing, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
GERD is a severe form of acid reflux, mainly due to the abnormal function of the lower esophageal sphincter. This will cause partially digested foods and stomach acid to rise to the esophagus, lungs or throat, lead to the Inflammation of the airways and coughing.
How to Get rid of the coughing from GERD
Some OTC remedies can help reduce gastric upset. Supplements and digestive enzymes can help increase digestion and get rid of stomach acid problems.
Dysphagia is another common cause of persistent coughing after eating. This disease can slow down the act of swallowing food. You may feel the food sticking in your throat and swallowing the pain.
Dysphagia can also cause food regurgitation and suffocation when eating. Sometimes it causes stomach foods and stomach acid to enter the lungs, leading to pneumonia or more serious illnesses.
How to Get rid of the coughing from dysphagia
Dysphagia may be a sequela of certain diseases such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, diabetic nerve injury, and tumors, etc. You need to go to the hospital for an examination. Mild dysphagia can be alleviated by simple exercises but severe symptoms may require surgery.
6. Aspiration Pneumonia
Aspiration pneumonia is pneumonia caused by the inhalation of foreign matter into the lungs. The foreign matter such as food, drink, vomit, or saliva can breed bacteria, which will cause inflammation of the lungs. People with acid reflux or dysphagia are more prone to aspiration pneumonia.
The symptoms of aspiration pneumonia include heartburn, swallowing pain, postprandial fever, fatigue, salivation, and shortness of breath. You may also cough up green mucus, which is the typical symptom of aspiration pneumonia.
How to Get rid of the coughing from Aspiration Pneumonia
Aspiration pneumonia is sometimes fatal. It can cause lung abscess and even respiratory failure. You need to go to the hospital for treatment as soon as possible.
Preventing of Coughing After Eating
Prevention is always better than getting treatments. There are certain things that you can do in order to improve your health. If you are healthy, you have a lesser chance of acquiring certain diseases.
- Eat Slowly. Spend more time in eating. Chewing and swallowing slowly can effectively help you digest food and prevent coughing.
- Healthy Diet. Stick a nutritionally and healthy diet. Eat less spicy and greasy food. Avoid foods that can cause indigestion, allergies, and asthma. For some lactose intolerance patients, try to avoid eating dairy products.
- Drink more water. Keeping the throat moist can effectively improve a cough after eating. Drying can irritate the throat, causing itching, coughing and swallowing the pain. Eight glasses of water a day can improve your blood circulation and increase your immunity. You can also add some lemon or honey. Not only do they taste better, but they also help get rid of phlegm easily.
- Breathe in warm air. Warm and moist air can effectively help soothe irritated airways and relieve coughs. You can take a hot shower and breathe the warm and moist steam. You can also use a humidifier to moisturize your airways.
- Have enough rest. Exhaustion can sometimes lead to coughing, so be sure to have enough rest and let your body recover. Try to keep 7-8 hours of sleep every day, which can effectively improve your immunity.
- Stop smoking. Many smokers develop symptoms of coughing after eating. Smoking can damage the cilia in your trachea and weak the function of removing mucus. This may also lead to a chronic coughing problem.
- Vitamin C.Vitamin C can help boost immune function, which can help prevent irritants and allergens that contribute to coughing.
When to See Your Doctor
Occasionally cough or mild chronic cough is normal for many people, you do not need to worry about it. However, frequent coughing after eating or coughing that lasts for a long time means your body is abnormal. This needs special attention.
X-ray examination and barium swallowing test can help determine the causes of a cough problem. You’d better see a doctor when you have the symptoms below:
- There are some other symptoms such as heartburn, digestive upset, bloating.
- A serious and persistent cough.
- There is too much mucus and there is blood in the mucus.
A healthy diet and good life habits are the most important for your health. Most coughs can be treated with home remedies. So you do not need to worry too much. Appropriate treatment can effectively help you control a cough after eating.