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Coughing After Eating

Rutuja Jathar Jan 23, 2019
Coughing after a meal can be caused due to several reasons, from common to the most obscure. Read on and understand the many reasons your body may choose to cough each time you decide to eat.
Coughing is caused due to sudden irritation in the air passage or as a reflex action for any nervous or a gastric disorder. A normal cough will make itself appear upon the production of phlegm, where, the body will involuntarily try to cough up the phlegm.
People may also suffer from cough after eating ice cream or after eating and drinking other cold food products. However, if it happens to be of a chronic nature then this is something that has to be examined without delay.


There are numerous reasons for a person to start coughing after eating. As stated earlier, such coughing can be a reflex action due to some particles of the eaten food product getting lodged in the respiratory tract. Other than that, there are some medical conditions that cause sudden coughing post lunch or dinner.

Allergies and Infections

Some people are allergic to certain foods and experience chronic coughs after ingesting those particular food products. Therefore people experience coughing after having cold food products, spicy, or greasy food. The body is probably not used to the cold or the spiciness hence, it evokes an immune response that results in coughing as soon as you eat.
Few other types of allergies and infections can also cause cough after eating. Any infectious disease of the larynx and esophagus can lead to a temporary dysfunction of the organ and trouble to swallow food, drink  that ultimately causes choking. This situation can result in a chronic cough after eating anything, irrespective of it being spicy or bland.

Medical Conditions

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), known as acid reflux disease, is a medical condition that causes several major problems in the functioning and mechanism of the lower esophageal sphincter.
After you're done ingesting your food, the sphincter isn't able to hold down the food along with the stomach's digestive juices and acids, resulting in some of the stomach contents pushing back into the esophagus. This situation may cause the body to start coughing.
Another medical condition is Zenker's diverticulum, in which a small pouch appears in the swallowing passage and causes the coughing after having a meal. Heartburn too can contribute to the person coughing. Dysphagia is a condition that inhibits a person from swallowing his/her food properly.
The action of the peristalsis force is either absent or too feeble to move the food along, hence bringing about a feeling of food being stuck in the throat. This will definitely bring about a case of chronic coughing each time you eat something.

Treatment Options

Treatment for this condition is indeed dependent on the factors that are causing the cough. If a cough is due to choking upon the food and occurs very rarely, then it doesn't really need any special treatment.
The problem can be solved by chewing and swallowing the food slowly. However, if the coughing is persistent, then it warrants a visit to a pulmonologist. He is the best person to get to the root of your problem and come up with a suitable treatment plan for you. There are a few old-fashioned home remedies for people who suffer from coughing.
Following a healthy diet that will not cause acid reflux and heartburn, avoiding food that one has severe allergies towards, and practicing some healthy eating habits like properly masticating your food and then swallowing it gently are some measures that you need to take to make sure that it doesn't become a chronic problem for you.
Coughing is a symptom that indicates that all is not right with your body, either there is a foreign particle that doesn't need to be there or an organ in your chest region isn't doing what it's supposed to. Hence, if your cough is getting worse, then seek medical help immediately.
Disclaimer: This is intended for information purpose only. Do not use the information presented herein as a substitute for medical practitioner's advice.