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Phlegm in Throat after Eating

Do you often sense the presence of phlegm in throat after eating? Scroll down to find out why one may feel the need to clear one's throat after meals.
Smita Pandit
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Have you ever come across people who always feel a strong need to clear their throat or cough up phlegm right after having a meal? While small amounts of clear mucus (slippery, slimy and viscous secretion that is produced by the mucous membranes) is normally present in our throat, the mucous membranes begin to produce larger amounts of mucus on detecting the presence of pathogens. Phlegm, which is present at the back of the throat, is basically the congealed mucus that contains dead white blood cells, tissues, cells and pathogens. It needs to be expelled from the lungs by way of cough. The expectorated matter that is expelled from the mouth is referred to as sputum. The accumulation of mucus in one's throat can be caused due to a variety of reasons.
Here are the possible reasons behind the excessive production of phlegm and the consequent need to spit out sputum post meals.
Dietary Habits
You must cut down on your intake of fried foods. Excessive consumption of oily foods also lead to the thickening of mucus, thereby affecting the drainage of mucus. Such foods can irritate the lining of the mucus membranes and may cause the membranes to produce more mucus. Cut down on intake of alcohol or caffeinated drinks as that can also dry up mucus and affect its drainage. This can cause mucus to accumulate at the back of throat. If you have been consuming foods that you might be allergic to, you are most likely to experience this problem.
As mentioned earlier, excessive production of mucus may occur in response to the presence of irritants, allergens or disease-causing agents in the body. When these foreign particles get trapped in the viscous secretions, the mucus becomes congealed. The congealed mucus can then be expelled out. Inflammation of the lining of mucus membranes or damage to the hairlike projections called cilia can also adversely affect the process of drainage of mucus. No wonder, heavy smokers frequently feel the need to spit it out. More often than not, excessive production of mucus occurs when people contract viral or bacterial upper respiratory tract infections. Bronchitis, sinusitis and asthma are some of the medical conditions that are characterized by excessive mucus in the throat.
Acid Reflux Disease
Acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a medical condition that is characterized by the regurgitation of the gastric juices into the esophagus. When the gastric juices from the stomach back up into the esophagus, it gives rise to a burning sensation in the chest. It is believed that consumption of fatty foods, acidic foods, caffeinated drinks or alcohol may aggravate this condition. Larger amounts of saliva, stomach acid and other secretions are produced post meals which is why symptoms such as heartburn, acid taste in mouth, burping and coughing may be more pronounced after having a meal.
Let's take a look at the dietary modifications or lifestyle-related changes that you can make to prevent excessive mucus.
  • Since phlegm buildup after eating may be attributed to consumption of fried foods, you must be very careful about what you eat. You must cut down on your intake fried foods and caffeinated drinks.
  • One must always stay well-hydrated. Increasing one's intake of water and other fluids would help in loosening the mucus.
  • Steam inhalation is one of the best home remedies for getting rid of excess mucus in throat. One can add essential oils such as tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil or lavender oil to boiling water and inhale steam.
  • Gargling may also help in loosening up the congealed mucus. Add a pinch of salt to lukewarm water and gargle.
  • If there is a constant feeling of mucus in throat, drinking hot herbal teas such as chamomile tea, ginger tea or lemon tea will provide great relief.
  • Since smokers often have to deal with this problem, it would be best to refrain from smoking.
If you often feel the need to clear your throat or spit out sputum after meals, it would be best to make the aforementioned lifestyle-related changes. The need to spit out sputum post meals may also be a sign of infections, food allergies or acid reflux disease which is why people who are grappling with the problem of constant throat clearing and coughing must get themselves medically examined.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.