announcement

Help someone with useful health advice.

Shortness of Breath After Eating

Shortness of Breath After Eating

Do you feel out of breath after eating a nice and heavy meal? It can happen due to various reasons including overeating, indigestion, food allergies, etc.
Aastha Dogra
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
When we undertake physically exerting activities such as running or jogging, it is bound to happen. Short breaths are a means for the body to pump in more air into the lungs, so that the body is able to receive more oxygen. Our body needs oxygen, in order to function properly, and if the body does not receive adequate amounts of oxygen due to any reason, it devices various ways like rapid and short breathing to fulfill that requirement.
Shortness of breath after having food is also experienced primarily due to the same reasons. Some of the causes of this problem are mentioned below:
Excessive Intake of Food
Due to overeating, the stomach may become bloated. A bloated stomach presses against the diaphragm. When a person breathes, the diaphragm expands. Since the expansion cannot take place properly due to the bloated stomach, the result is fast and short breathing to provide the body with adequate supply of oxygen.
Indigestion
Eating spicy food or high fat content food can cause this reaction, as spicy and fatty foods are not easy to digest. Also, not chewing the food properly can prove detrimental to your digestive health, as it causes indigestion.
Food Allergies
It could also be caused due to consumption of food that a person is allergic to. Sensitivity to certain food items like dairy products and wheat, can lead to a host of allergic reactions including narrowing of the air passage, which in turn leads to shortness of breath. Besides food allergies, excessive consumption of alcohol can also cause this condition.
GERD
Due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux disease, the stomach acid flows into the esophagus and the larynx. In order to prevent the acids from entering the lungs, the body starts to breathe rapidly. This results in dizziness and shortness of breath, accompanied by a burning sensation in the stomach, throat and heart.
Respiratory Disease
Patients with an already existing respiratory disease, such as asthma, may experience shortness of breath after eating. This is because their air passages are already narrow and when they consume food in excess, their diaphragm does not expand properly. The body, in order to meet the oxygen requirements, resorts to rapid breathing, resulting in this condition.
Underlying Tumors
People who have tumors inside the esophagus and the windpipe or even close to it, may also experience this condition. The tumor blocks the free flow of air in the wind pipe. When such a person consumes food, the food further poses a hindrance to the free flow of air in the wind pipe, thus causing difficulty in breathing after eating.
Heart Disease
After a person consumes food, the heart pumps rapidly, in order to meet the oxygen demands of the body. The heart muscles of a person, with an underlying heart disease, are already weak. So when such a person consumes food, sometimes it may happen that the heart is not able to cope up with its fast pumping and this may result, in heart failure in an occasional patient. Heart failure can cause shortness of breath and rapid breathing in a person.
If you experience shortness of breath after meals, then make a few changes in your dietary habits like eating small meals six times a day, instead of three large meals, chewing your food properly and refraining from foods that you are allergic to. However, if it is not caused by the food that you eat, it is recommended that you get yourself thoroughly checked by a doctor as an undiagnosed medical condition could be behind it. Remember, 'there should be no compromise, when it comes to your health!'