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 you eat?

To answer your question ‘why do I cough after I eat?’, you must note that 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 wonder why do I cough after I eat?

When you often find yourself coughing after eating, you obviously wonder why do I cough after I eat. 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 a food 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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What is aspiration pneumonia? What causes aspiration pneumonia?

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Aspiration pneumonia is one of the causes of coughing after eating.

As you eat your food, if you suspect the food entered into your lungs and not your stomach, that’s a problem. That can make you cough after you eat as the food in lungs obstructs your respiration.

There can be many reasons why food enters lungs and not stomach. These include poor oral health, alcoholism, dysphagia etc.

What is aspiration pneumonia?

Aspirate means inhale. When you aspirate food, drink or vomit into your lungs, it may lead to aspiration pneumonia. If you cannot cough up the food, drink or vomit that has entered your lungs, bacteria can develop on the food and cause aspiration pneumonia.

Aspiration pneumonia is an infection of lungs. When a large amount of food enters lungs, it leads to aspiration pneumonia. The food may enter lungs either from mouth or stomach. When food enters lungs and causes aspiration pneumonia, a person may develop fever and cough very rapidly. Though fever and cough after eating are common symptoms of aspiration pneumonia, sometimes it can lead to lung abscess.



Food entering lungs may not necessarily cause an an infection. But lung infection is very much possible with food in lungs as the food may contain a range of bacteria. This infection is aspiration pneumonia. But it is not the bacteria in food that causes aspiration pneumonia. Sometimes non-infectious but acidic food entering lungs can lead to a type of aspiration pneumonia known as chemical pneumonitis.

Aspiration pneumonia may present symptoms similar to other types of pneumonia such as bacterial pneumonia, fungal pneumonia, viral pneumonia or hospital acquired pneumonia. Due to this, it is not always easy to diagnose aspiration pneumonia.


What causes aspiration pneumonia?

Aspiration pneumonia is primarily caused by by food entering lungs instead of stomach. But what causes food to enter lungs? Some reasons why food enters lungs include the below.

In people suffering from dysphagia, there is always a risk of food from mouth or stomach entering into lungs. This is due to the fact that the swallowing mechanism does not work properly in people with dysphagia.

Some other health conditions like stroke, parkinson’s disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis or advanced COPD can weaken your immune system and put you at risk of aspiration pneumonia.

Poor levels of consciousness may cause the swallowing mechanism to fail and allow food to pass into lungs.

Seizures, anesthasia, alcohol etc. can damage muscles that help you swallow and disable body’s natural mechanism to prevent food entering lungs.

If someone does not keep good oral health, bacteria can build up in mouth. Such poor oral hygiene can also lead to aspiration pneumonia.

If someone is older than 75 and has been in a care home or hospital for very long, they can get aspiration pneumonia easily.

There can be many other reasons for aspiration pneumonia. These include ethnicity, age, gender, malnutrition, side effects of medicines etc.

What are the symptoms of aspiration pneumonia?

If you are coughing for no reason with or without mucus, it may be aspiration pneumonia. You may cough after you eat if food you swallow enters lungs instead of stomach.

A strange change in voice can be experienced.

If your swallowing mechanism is damaged, you will find it difficult to swallow. Difficulty in swallowing may be an early sign of aspiration pneumonia.

If your lungs get infected after you aspire food, drink or vomit into lungs, you may have a fever. Fever is a common symptom of aspiration pneumonia.

The food or drink that’s stuck in your lungs can cause chest pain. Infected lungs can also cause pain in chest. So chest pain is another sign of aspiration pneumonia.

Poor alertness, lack of concentration, confusion and unable to think clearly are common experiences of people with aspiration pneumonia.

A person with aspiration pneumonia may lose appetite and lose weight.

Abnormal breathing is a common symptom of aspiration pneumonia. Breathing can become noisy and rapid. Sometimes the patient can feel shortness of breath.

How do you diagnose aspiration pneumonia?

If you suspect you have aspiration pneumonia, you must see your doctor as soon as you can. Your doctor can diagnose your condition. Depending the severity of your symptoms, the doctor may do some examinations on you to diagnose your symptoms.

Diagnosis of aspiration pneumonia starts with a simple physical examination. Doctor may look into your mouth and throat and listen to your chest to begin with. Doctor may want to listen to your speech to look for any strange changes in your speech. Your body vitals like blood pressure, blood oxygen etc. also play a role in aspiration pneumonia diagnosis.

If your doctor feels it is necessary, you may need to go for a chest X-ray. A chest X-ray can reveal any chest infection, inflammation or fluid accumulation in your lungs.

You may need to get your mucus tested for bacteria. To conduct mucus test, doctor may ask you to collect your mucus or extract the mucus from your throat. They look for any bacteria in mucus that may cause aspiration pneumonia.

A blood test can reveal if you have an infection. If you have a chest infection that’s making you cough due to aspiration pneumonia, your blood test shows higher white blood cell count.

A neuro examination can reveal how your nervous system is impacted by aspiration pneumonia. Your memory, level of alertness, hand grip etc. are common factors that are observed during this test.

Sometimes, your doctor may want to observe your swallowing mechanism. You may need to swallow various food of different consistency and be observed to record how well you can swallow food.

How is aspiration pneumonia treated?

Aspiration pneumonia treatment involves a combination of techniques and medicines. Any treatment of aspiration pneumonia needs to be carried out only by a qualified doctor.

If you show signs of infection related to aspiration pneumonia, you may need some antibiotics to treat the infection.

If you are unable to breathe well if your air passages have shrunk due to aspiration pneumonia, you may need steroids. Steroids expand your air passages and help you breathe easier.

If your blood tests show lower oxygen levels, you may need to take some oxygen via a  mask.

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