What is Acid reflux Cough?

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 after eating or drinking. If you have persistent cough after eating with or without phlegm and you cannot figure out why you are coughing, 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. You may want to avoid spicy and oily food to suppress acid reflux cough.

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 treat 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 a doctor treats it. 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 treating 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.

Why do I produce Phlegm after Eating?

Why do I produce Phlegm after Eating?

Phlegm after Eating
Phlegm after Eating

Phlegm after eating is very annoying as it can make you nervous and uncomfortable.

You might at that black-tie dinner trying to make some new friends or at your first date trying to impress your potential love. 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? You may want to try this to help clear your throat after eating.

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 common in heavy smokers. This means smoking is definitely a major cause for phlegm in throat.

In addition to smoking, some viral infections or 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 it out. 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 having 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.

GERD or Acid Reflux

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. Acid reflux is another name for GERD.

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 you come in contact with a foreign substance that you are allergic to, your body tries to protect you 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 makes you cough after you eat.

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.