What causes Coughing after Eating in adults?

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Coughing after Eating

Coughing after eating? Why do I cough after I eat? Do you worry about cough at the dining table? Do you feel embarrassed with cough at family dinners or business lunches? Well, you are not alone. There are many people out there who too often cough after eating. Coughing after eating is a condition that has been attracting some medical attention lately.

There has been a good amount of research into ‘coughing after eating’ worldwide. These researches conclude that there are many different reasons why people cough after they eat. The researches also established that the condition can be dealt with and managed easily. As a result, researchers made significant advance in understanding what causes coughing after eating. By treating the underlying conditions, coughing after eating is no longer a difficult situation to deal with!

What causes Coughing after Eating in adults?

Well if you are coughing after eating just for a bit to clear your throat after a nice meal that should be okay. But if you are coughing constantly for a long time after eating, that is something you may want to pay more attention to. In this article, we will try to explain you as much as we can about what causes coughing after eating in adults.

What causes Coughing after Eating in adults?
What causes Coughing after Eating in adults?

Please note that the author is not a professional doctor or an expert in coughing after eating. The contents of this article are only the findings from the research that this author did out of personal interest. You are strongly advised to see a doctor if you think necessary rather than treating your cough after eating on your own.

Coughing after eating is generally caused by one or more of the below reasons. Please note that these conditions may not be directly causing coughing after eating. Coughing after eating may be the side effect of one more of these conditions. So next time you wonder Why do I cough after I eat, you can check if you have any of the below conditions.


  1. GERD or Acid Reflux

Coughing After Eating GERD

GERD means gastro esophageal reflux disease. Some doctors also call it GORD or Acid Reflux. It is the most common cause for coughing after eating and heart burn. For this reason sometimes cough after food called as acid reflux cough. As the name suggests, a reflux action in the stomach area upwards causes coughing after eating. This happens when the muscles at the entry to your stomach do not close as they should after eating  or re-open during digestion. This makes semi-digested food come back into your lower esophagus causing irritation in your throat. When this happens, your brain causes a reflux action that results in coughing. Cough due to acid reflux generally occurs after eating but in some cases, it may also occur during eating.


Some simple tips to deal with GERD cough include:

  • Avoid over eating; instead have smaller meals throughout the day.
  • Avoid going to bed soon after eating a meal; give it a couple of hours after a meal so you do not go to bed on a full stomach.
  • Try to eat slowly at a leisurely pace and chew all food very well before swallowing,
  • Identify what foods trigger cough after eating in your case the condition and stay away from them,
  • Try to bring your body weight to a healthy level; lode weight if needed and avoid being obese.
  • Try and drink more water throughout the day and keep your body well-hydrated.

If your acid reflux cough condition does not improve soon with above tips, please see a doctor and seek medical advice. Some people also use over the counter medicines to deal with GERD cough. OTC medicines may be good but a medical consultation is highly recommended for any persistent cough.

  1. Allergy

Coughing After Eating Allergy

Have you ever wondered your body quiet does not like certain types of food or certain kinds of cooking? That could be an allergy. You may be allergic to certain foods or the way food is cooked. Allergy  could be another reason why you cough after eating. It could be that certain foods or types of foods or the way food is cooked or the temperature of the food that can cause coughing after eating. Before you eat such food next time, you better know what allergy means and how to suppress a cough caused by allergy.

In simple terms, allergy is a damaging immune response by your body to some foods. Your body may be hypersensitive to such foods. People of any age can suffer from an allergy but it is more common in children. Some children find their allergy disappearing as they grow older whereas, some adults start to show allergy symptoms to certain foods to which they were not allergic during childhood. Most common food items that can trigger an allergic reaction in humans are nuts, fruits, shellfish, eggs and milk.

The best way to deal with an allergic cough is to keep away from such foods that may cause an allergy. You can see a doctor and seek medical advice when you feel you are being allergic to certain foods. Doctors can prescribe you medicines like antihistamines or decongestants or steroids. In some cases, doctors may recommend immunotherapy to deal with coughing after eating. Immunotherapy means you get exposed to an allergen in a controlled manner over a long period of time by which your body gets used to the allergen and does not react with a severe response such as a cough.

  1. Infection of Esophagus or Larynx

Coughing After Eating Infection

Infection of esophagus and larynx can cause inflammation in the areas through which food passes when you swallow. This may result in malfunction of the parts that help you swallow food. As a result you may cough while you eat. This may even make you cough after you eat. Infections and inflammations of esophagus and larynx can sometimes cause more serious problems than just coughing after eating. These include difficulty in swallowing, severe irritation or even choking.

If are coughing after eating or you see any of these symptoms or you know you have such an infection, you must see a doctor as soon as possible for a medical advice. Your doctor may offer you some antibiotics. Antibiotics are cannot be bought over the counter without prescription in many countries. Even if someone offers you antibiotics without a prescription, you must avoid such use as it might harm you in the long run. Antibiotics must be used only when necessary and in the right dosage for the right duration. Only a qualified doctor can help you with how to suppress a cough with antibiotics.

  1. Dysphagia

Coughing After Eating Dysphagia

Dysphagia is a condition that causes discomfort in swallowing. Your body tends to reject the food you try to eat. This can result in coughing after eating. In some cases, you may even cough while you eat. Other symptoms of dysphagia include the below. 

  • choking when eating or drinking,
  • bringing food back up sometimes through the nose,
  • sensation that food is stuck in your throat or chest and
  • persistent drooling of saliva.

If you see any of these along with coughing after eating, you must see a doctor. If neglected, dysphagia can lead to weight loss and repeated chest infections on long term in addition to  difficulty in swallowing.

Dysphagia is generally caused by another inherent health condition such as stroke, head injury, dementia, mouth cancer, oesophageal cancer, of GERD. Treatment of dysphagia includes:

  • changing the consistency of the food and drink thus making it easier to swallow,
  • feeding from nose or direct into stomach via a tube,
  • placing a stent in the esophagus to widen the food passage by surgery.
  1. Asthma

Coughing After Eating Asthma

Asthma is a very common condition that may cause difficulty in breathing. It may not be a direct reason for coughing after eating. An allergic reaction or an infection of the airways that is related to your asthma is what causes coughing after eating.

If you have asthma and cough after you eat, you may want to find out if they both are related. You may refer yourself to a chest specialist. A chest specialist would conduct some tests on you to determine if you are coughing after eating because of asthma. If asthma is not the cause for your cough after you eat, he may look for other causes. If your cough with food is known to be a result of your asthma, doctors may do something to treat your asthma. Common drugs used for asthma are in the form of steroids.

  1. Aspiration Pneumonia

Sometimes accidentally food enters into lungs. This might happen either when you eat or drink something in a hurry or during a vomit. In either of these cases, you may end up coughing. So, when food or drink enters your lungs, your body responds with a cough to expel the foreign material. This is what happens in coughing after eating due to aspiration pneumonia. So if you are coughing after eating, and you feel food or drink entered your lungs or respiratory tract, you must see a doctor to check out if it is aspiration pneumonia. A doctor can help you with medical advice to help you get rid of your coughing after eating due to aspiration pneumonia.

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What is Dysphagia?

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What is Dysphagia?

What is Dysphagia? Dysphagia is a word derived from Greek. ‘Dys’ in greek means bad or disordered and ‘phag’ means eat. Thus literally, dysphagia means disorder in eating.

In medical language ‘Dysphagia’ is a term used to refer to ‘difficulty in swallowing’.  In the medical field, in a broader sense, dysphagia may refer to the sign, symptom or even the condition of ‘difficulty in eating’.

Thus dysphagia basically suggests difficulty in moving solids or liquids from mouth into the stomach. Such difficulty can be due to a lack of pharyngeal sensation or a different inadequacy of the swallowing mechanism.

Dysphagia should not be confused with other conditions like Odynophagia or Globus that too make swallowing difficult.  Odynophagia causes painful swallowing while Globus causes a sensation of a lump in the throat.

What happens if you do not treat dysphagia?

Sometimes, people may not be aware that they have dysphagia. This may delay or prevent proper diagnosis and treatment. A person having dysphagia may suffer from coughing while eating or coughing after eating or difficulty in swallowing.

If dysphagia is not treated, it may lead to pulmonary aspiration or aspiration pneumonia. This happens when food enters parts of respiratory system. Such food may carry bacteria into respiratory tract.

In some cases, dysphagia when not treated, may also lead to dehydration, malnutrition or renal failure.

Normally people cough and show signs of discomfort when food enters respiratory tract but some people neither  cough nor show any such outward symptoms. Some doctors call this ‘silent aspiration’.

What are different types of Dysphagia?

Dysphagia in humans can be broadly classified into 4 types as below.

Oropharyngeal dysphagia is normally associated with anamolies in muscles, nerves or structure of oral cavity, pharynx and upper esophageal sphincter.

Esophageal and obstructive dysphagia arises from a problem in the body of esophagus, lower esophageal sphincter or the cardia of the stomach. Such condition usually results from mechanical causes or mobility problems.

Neuromuscular symptom complexes.

Functional dysphagia is when a person suffers from dysphagia but a diagnosis fails to find anything that is causing the condition.

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Why do I cough after I eat?

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Why do I cough after I eat?

Why do I cough after I eat
Cough after eating

Why do I cough after I eat? Is that what you worry about at meal time? This may be making you very nervous about eating a meal. Coughing after eating is a common problem that some of us face. But why do you cough after eating? There could practically be many reasons why you cough after you eat. It could be something to do with the food you ate or its temperature or how it was cooked. It may also to do something with your health.

The below may provide some possible answers for your question Why do I cough after I eat? These may also help you explain why you have phlegm after eating.

Do I need to see a doctor if I am Coughing after Eating?

When you often find yourself coughing after eating, it is important you start thinking of ways to treat the condition. What you can do to deal with your cough after eating may depend on your specific situation. If the cough is mild and not frequent, you may try some home cough remedies. If you think the cough after food is getting worse, you may want to try some OTC cough medicines. In cases where you find yourself coughing after eating for a long time, you must definitely see a doctor. You must see a doctor as soon as you can and ask him why I cough after I eat. Please do not self-diagnose and treat yourself. You must see a doctor as soon as possible.

Does GERD make me cough after I eat?

Yes. GERD is the most common cause for coughing after eating. GERD is the case where some of the part-digested food from your stomach is trying to enter your esophagus. This irritates the throat so your body responds with cough to get rid of the irritation. GERD cough is usually accompanied by some chest pain after eating. When you notice you have such symptoms, you must see a doctor for advice. The doctors would investigate why food from stomach is entering into throat. Common possibilities include situations where your stomach muscles are opening up the entry into stomach after you eat or they are not closing at all. A doctor can investigate and help you with your GERD cough.

Am I coughing after eating due to allergy?

Allergy to certain foods or the way they are cooked can be a reason for your coughing after eating. When your body gets in contact with an allergen, it responds by triggering a cough to expel the foreign substance. Allergy can sometimes cause constant dry cough that sounds like a post viral cough. Whatever the allergic cough sounds like, it is important to find out why you cough after you eat. When you suspect that you have a cough due to an allergy, the best thing for you to do is see a doctor and seek medical advice. A doctor can do some allergy tests on you to establish what allergies you have and advise you on your cough after eating. You can also keep a food list that causes you to cough so you can avoid such food.

Am I coughing after eating because I have an infection?

Sometimes infections in your body can also cause you to cough after you eat or chest pain after eating. If you are coughing after eating and suspect you have an infection, please see a doctor. The doctor may ask you to take some pathology tests and prescribe you the right medicine for your infection. Sometimes doctors may give a medicine for your cough too.

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Why do I produce Phlegm after Eating?

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Why do I produce Phlegm after Eating?

Phlegm after Eating
Phlegm after Eating

Phlegm after eating is a very annoying as it can make you nervous and uncomfortable at critical moments. You might at that black-tie dinner trying to make some new friends or at your first date trying impress your potential lo9ve. But you end up with phlegm almost every time you eat which you want to spit out. This gets very annoying. In a room full of people, you can neither spit nor swallow. Very embarrassing isn’t it? Clearing throat after eating is the only thing on your mind at that moment. You just want to spit that excess mucus in throat or phlegm after eating. So, what is phlegm and what causes phlegm?

What are the most common causes of Phlegm after eating?

Phlegm in throat is nothing but excess mucus from your respiratory tract or chest. ‘Phlegm after Eating’ is commonly seen in heavy smokers. This means smoking is definitely a major cause for phlegm in throat. In addition to smoking, some viral infections and bacterial infections may also cause excess mucus in throat after eating.

You may feel very uncomfortable when you have phlegm in throat. Excess mucus in throat after eating can make you want to spit out excess mucus in throat after eating. You may want to be aware of this especially if you are a heavy smoker or have had any viral infection or bacterial infection recently. You may want to figure out how to avoid phlegm after eating as it may not be easy to clear your throat after eating every time.

Phlegm medicine is one option that can prevent excess mucus in throat after eating. When you are seeing mucus in throat frequently after eating, it is important that you get it investigated and treated by a doctor. A good doctor can do some tests and determine what causes allergy in you so you can avoid the allergens. This may significantly help in preventing phlegm after eating.

What are other causes of Phlegm after Eating?

Some of the other causes for phlegm after eating are GERD, allergies, and side-effects due to medicines etc. It is always wise to consult a doctor to understand the cause of your phlegm after eating. As practically there can be one of many reasons for phlegm after eating, a doctor is the right person to find the cause for your phlegm in throat and help you with treatment.

However, you may find the below useful in gaining a general understanding of phlegm after eating.


When food travels back up into esophagus after you swallow it down, acids from stomach also enter esophagus along with semi-digested food. This condition is called GERD, and can cause irritation in throat after you eat. GERD normally results from the fact that your stomach muscles are not closing properly after you swallow food or they are re-opening. The acids and semi-digested food that reenter your throat etc. may lead to coughing after eating and phlegm after eating. Constant phlegm in throat is annoying. To avoid such discomfort due to GERD, the easiest thing to do is to avoid eating spicy and oily food.


Certain allergies you may have can also cause phlegm after you eat. When your body comes in contact with a foreign substance that you are allergic to, it tries to protect itself by rejecting or expelling the allergen. Your body usually does this by producing excess mucus to trap the allergen and cough to expel the allergen. This is how allergy can cause phlegm after eating or coughing after eating.

Allergies can cause serious disruptions in life if not treated. You may want to see a doctor if you have any allergy that bothers you with mucus or cough.

side effects FROM MEDICINES

Some medicines that are prescribed for controlling high blood pressure may sometimes cause phlegm after eating as a side effect. It is not a good idea to accept the side effects of medicines if they are bothering you too much. If any blood pressure medicines that you use are causing you discomfort with phlegm after eating, you need to discuss with your doctor. Your doctor can change the medicines you take to those that do not cause phlegm after you eat. Using a different medicine for blood pressure can minimize the side effects such as phlegm and cough.

mucus from nose

In some cases, mucus released in nose enters into throat from the back of the throat. This may lead to coughing after eating or phlegm after eating. If you think you have mucus from nose entering throat and causing you discomfort, you must consult a doctor to get it checked. Doctor can investigate why mucus is entering the throat from nose and then help you with a good medical advice.

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What is Acid reflux Cough?

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What is Acid reflux Cough?

Acid reflux Cough is one of the most common types of cough in adults. Acid Reflux is also known as GERD.  GERD cough is a result of the reflux action of the body when contents of your stomach re-enter the food pipe upwards. Body makes this reflex action to ease the irritation of oesophagus muscles caused by acidic or non-acidic contents from stomach. Acid reflux cough is very common and acid reflux is one of the top causes of cough. If you have persistent cough after eating with or without phlegm and you cannot figure out why, it is very likely ‘acid reflux cough’. GERD cough is so common that experts say if a cough is persistent, there is 25% chance that it is due to acid reflux or GERD.

When you have acid reflux cough, you may see a doctor for a diagnosis of reflux cough. In some cases, you may also seek help from a nutritionist about foods that help acid reflux.

We may also see reflux in new-borns. Symptoms of reflux in babies cannot be ignored. Parents of new-borns must be aware of signs of reflux in babies. New-born reflux causes difficult times for parents if they are not aware what GERD is. GERD in babies makes parents nervous about travel as they never know when the baby cries. Consulting a good paediatrician may help.

What causes acid reflux cough?

When you have a cough, it may be very helpful to know some common causes of cough. Acid reflux cough is triggered when acidic or non-acidic contents of stomach re-enter esophagus or areas above esophagus. The semi-digested from the stomach irritates your throat when it re-enters food pipe. When your body notices this irritation, it responds with a cough to ease the irritation. This cough is called acid reflux cough.

A new-born can also suffer from acid reflux cough. However, new-born reflux can have its own causes and can be discussed in more detail with a pediatrician.  

Can children get acid reflux cough?

Yes children can get GERD. Usually GERD can cause acid reflux cough in children after 1 year of age and rarely in infants. The main symptoms of GERD in babies include vomiting and refusing to eat. It may not be always easy to understand baby reflux symptoms and often, symptoms of reflux in babies go unnoticed. When you see signs of reflux in babies, visiting a paediatrician can help to find out what helps acid reflux. Sometimes it is referred to as silent reflux in babies. 

Do I need to see a doctor for acid reflux cough treatment?

The acid reflux cough remains persistent unless it is treated by a doctor. Sometimes it may be difficult to diagnose GERD cough without a doctor’s help as it is not generally accompanied by any other related complaints such as heart burn. If a patient has cough that cannot be explained by any other reason, doctors usually suspect GERD. A doctor’s medical advice will help you deal with Phlegm after Eating. So you must see a doctor for treat GERD.

How is acid reflux cough diagnosed?

Acid reflux Cough
Acid reflux Cough

GERD cough or acid reflux cough is not an easy one to diagnose. Common tests cannot detect GERD as it is not accompanied with heartburn etc. There are a couple of special tests that doctors use to diagnose GERD.

One of the GERD tests is to put the patient on PPI (proton pump inhibitors) a medication for GERD for about 3 months and see if the GERD symptoms come down. If PPI helps the person to treat GERD cough, then it is also the confirmation of GERD itself.

Popular GERD Tests
Popular GERD Tests

Another GERD test uses a 24 hour pH probe. This probe measures the pH of esophagus for a continuous period of 24 hours. Based on how the pH varies, one can say whether the acidity in the esophagus is raised. If acid reflux cough is the reason, then the acidic pH values confirm that.

It may be more difficult to diagnose silent reflux in babies. It is even more difficult to diagnose reflux in newborns. Baby reflux symptoms may be difficult to figure out and may need a specialist to help you.

What are acid reflux cough risk factors in adults?

In adults, the risks factors for acid reflux cough include consumption of excessive amounts of foods that may cause acid reflux. Examples include alcohol, coffee, chocolate and fried foods.

Spicy foods and fatty foods are the common foods that cause acid reflux cough. Such foods contribute to GERD more than others. Knowing what foods to avoid with acid reflux and taking them out of your diet helps treat acid reflux cough.

Thus, adults can see some relief from GERD or acid reflux cough by certain lifestyle changes. It is important that you know the foods to avoid with acid reflux cough. These include consuming less alcohol, less spicy food and non-oily food as part of their diet. Even if you like foods that cause acid reflux very much, eating less of acid reflux foods to avoid improves your condition. You can eat more of the foods that help acid reflux.

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