Why Do i Cough After i Eat? 9 Reasons Behind it

Why do i cough after i eat? Many people mysteriously cough after eating. This can happen after every meal or only occasionally.(coughing after eating)

so,why do i cough after i eat? There are several possible causes, including acid reflux, asthma, food allergies, and dysphagia, which refers to difficulty swallowing.

Coughing is your body’s way of preventing irritants from entering your respiratory system, so work with your doctor to determine what is causing the irritation. 

Most of the causes can be treated by changing your diet and eating habits or by taking medication.

1. Acid reflux & related conditions

Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid travels up to the esophagus. There is a band of muscle around the bottom of the esophagus called the lower esophageal sphincter

When you eat or drink, it relaxes, allowing food and liquids to enter your stomach. 

Sometimes it does not close completely after eating or drinking, allowing stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus. This irritates the esophagus, which can make you cough.(why do i cough after i eat-coughing after eating)

Other symptoms of acid reflux include:

  • sore throat
  • bitter taste in the back of the throat
  • sour taste in the mouth
  • burning sensation in the chest, known as heartburn

2.Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

GERD is a continuous and more serious form of acid reflux. A chronic cough, especially after eating, is a common symptom.(why do i cough after i eat)

Other symptoms of GERD include:

  • gastric reflux at least twice a week
  • nausea or vomiting
  • difficulty swallowing
  • wheezing
  • eructation

3.Gastroesophageal reflux disease

There are many possible causes of a prolonged cough, but it is often overlooked, yet quite common, with gastroesophageal reflux disease .

It is a digestive disorder such as the stomach and esophagus, but there are cases where there are no gastrointestinal symptoms and only coughing continues.

There are many cases in which the symptoms are similar to those of cough asthma, and those who have not been cured even after treatment for cough asthma have improved by switching to treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease.

What is gastroesophageal reflux disease?

As the name implies, gastroesophageal reflux is a condition in which stomach contents and acid flow back into the esophagus

However, even in healthy people, this reflux is a normal physiological phenomenon. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is when some symptoms or disorders occur due to the reflux.

The top part of the esophagus is in contact with the pharynx, the entrance to the trachea that connects to the lungs. 

If you lie down or have a strong reflux, gastric juice and contents will reach this pharynx. The stomach has a barrier function and is protected from strong acids, but the pharynx does not have that barrier function. 

Then, the mucous membranes of the pharynx and esophagus become inflamed, causing symptoms such as heartburn, acid reflux, coughing, and hoarseness.

This condition is called gastroesophageal reflux disease.

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Characteristics of gastroesophageal reflux disease

Needless to say, gastroesophageal reflux disease is a gastrointestinal illness, so there are many characteristics of gastrointestinal symptoms

However, when it comes to the appearance of symptoms, those who have only digestive system symptoms, those who have only chronic dry cough and voice swelling symptoms, and those who have digestive system symptoms or have a relationship with them.

You need to be careful because there are various things such as.

Major features
I have heartburn or chest pain
Burp often comes out
Acid reflux (sour, bitter liquid in your mouth)
Difficult to swallow food and drink
I have a feeling of strangeness in my throat
Cough characteristics
Chest X-ray shows no abnormalities, cough lasting 3 to 8 weeks or more (may be several years)
There is a dry cough (dry cough) called konkon
There is a feeling of hoarseness or discomfort in the pharynx
Cough worsens 1-2 hours after eating
Cough worsens when sleeping at night or lying on his back
Have bronchial asthma (related and prone to complications)

Treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease

The treatment is the same as the treatment for reflux esophagitis, which is an oral treatment that suppresses gastric acid. 

At the same time, we will improve eating habits and lifestyle habits to prevent backflow. If intensive medical treatment does not improve, there is anti-reflux surgery, but if there is nothing special, only medical treatment is needed.

Oral treatment

Treatment to suppress stomach acid. Drugs called proton pump inhibitors (proton pump inhibitors, PPIs) and histamine H2 receptor antagonists (H2 blockers) are used.

PPI and H₂ blockers are the first drugs used, and they often improve, but if they do not improve, drugs that protect the mucous membrane of the esophagus, drugs that neutralize stomach acid, and active esophageal exercise.

In some cases, medicines to be used may be used together.

Symptoms such as heartburn may subside in a week or so, but coughing symptoms often take more than two weeks. 

Also, if you stop taking the medicine because you think it has improved, it may recur, so be sure to follow the period instructed by your doctor.

Improvement of eating habits

Refrain from high-fat foods and sugar-rich foods as they promote gastric acid secretion. The same is true for pungent foods.

Avoid coffee, tea, mint, chocolate, citrus fruits, etc.

Also, regarding how to eat, do not eat too much, do not eat early, do not eat late at night (before going to bed), etc.

Lifestyle improvement

Prohibition of alcohol and tobacco, improvement of irregular life, etc.

Obesity is also a risk factor for regurgitation, so if you are overweight, go on a diet.

The rest is a contrivance, but when you lie down, it is easy for you to regurgitate, so you should raise your upper body when you go to bed, and because abdominal pressure also encourages regurgitation, you should not wear clothes that tighten your body.

Treatment of complications

I mentioned above that coughing with gastroesophageal reflux disease is similar to the symptoms of coughing asthma, but in fact both gastroesophageal reflux disease and coughing asthma may occur. 

Gastroesophageal reflux disease can also be associated with bronchial asthma.

This is closely related to the contact between the esophagus and the bronchi, and the action of refluxed gastric juice entering the bronchi and causing inflammation, and the pressure applied by a severe cough promote the reflux of gastric contents.

Both of the effects of peeling off can be considered.

Therefore, it is possible that coughing may not improve with either treatment. 

It is also important to give detailed information about your symptoms so that your doctor will not be late in noticing the complications.

4.Laryngopharyngopharyngeal reflux (LPR)

Why do i cough after i eat? RPM, sometimes called silent reflux because it doesn’t have traditional reflux symptoms, is a type of GERD that involves the passage of stomach acid through the esophagus and into the larynx or even the nose. 

You can have an RPM with or without GERD. LPR can make you cough during and after meals. You might also have a cough when you wake up, talking or laughing.(coughing after eating)

Symptoms of RPL include:

  • hoarseness
  • constantly needing to clear your throat
  • a feeling of a runny nose in the back of the throat, called a postnasal drip.

Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of RPM. Untreated LPR can eventually lead to voice disturbances or throat ulcers, which is why early treatment is essential.

There is no cure for acid reflux, GERD, or RPL, but certain medications and home treatments can help you manage the symptoms.

5. Respiratory infections

Why do i cough after i eat? Many coughs are caused by upper respiratory infections, but these coughs usually go away after two to three weeks. Any cough lasting 8 weeks or more is considered chronic. 

A chronic cough after eating can be caused by an infection that never heals properly.

A cough caused by an infection looks like a hard, dry, persistent cough. This cough causes inflammation of the airways, which can lead to a bigger cough.

Coughs caused by infections are difficult to treat because the cycle of inflammation and coughing prevents healing. If the cough does not go away, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, such as inhaled or oral steroids.

6. Asthma

Why do i cough after i eat? Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the lungs. It can cause wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing. Asthma usually starts in childhood, but it can also start when you are older. 

Cough caused by asthma usually gets worse late in the evening or early in the morning.

Asthma symptoms get worse during an attack. Lots of things that can trigger an asthma attack, including sulfites, which are found in beer and wine as well as in dried fruits and vegetables, pickled onions, and soft drinks. 

If you have a tendency to cough after eating or drinking any of these products, asthma could be the cause.

You can often easily manage asthma by using medication and avoiding common asthma triggers.

7. Food allergies

Food allergies usually develop when you are a child, but they can strike at any age. It’s even possible to develop an allergy to a food you’ve eaten for years. Food allergies usually cause an allergic reaction within two hours of consumption.(why do i cough after i eat)

Symptoms of an allergic reaction vary from person to person, and sometimes they affect the respiratory system, causing you to cough. Other respiratory symptoms of a food allergy include wheezing and shortness of breath.

In rare cases, food allergies can lead to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening illness that affects your breathing. Make sure you know how to recognize it so you can get treatment right away.

8. Dysphagia

Dysphagia is difficulty swallowing. If you have dysphagia, your body needs more time and effort to transport food and fluids through your stomach, which makes swallowing difficult or nearly impossible. 

This can lead to coughing or gagging during swallowing. Dysphagia can also make you feel like you have food stuck in your throat, causing you to cough.

Many conditions can cause dysphagia, including acid reflux and GERD. Work with your doctor to determine the cause of your dysphagia. 

Sometimes simple exercises are enough to solve the problem. In more severe cases, you may need endoscopic or surgical intervention.

9. Aspiration pneumonia

Sometimes small pieces of food or drops of liquid are inhaled into your lungs, where they can introduce bacteria. 

This usually happens when you swallow something and it “goes down the wrong hole“. Healthy lungs usually clear on their own, but if they don’t, these bacteria can cause a serious condition called aspiration pneumonia. 

Acid reflux or dysphagia increases the risk of developing aspiration pneumonia.

A wet cough after eating is a symptom of aspiration pneumonia. You can also cough up mucus that looks green or bloody. Other symptoms include:

  • painful swallowing
  • coughing or wheezing after eating
  • stomach pains
  • fever that starts within an hour of eating
  • recurrent pneumonia
  • extra saliva
  • congestion after eating or drinking
  • shortness of breath or fatigue when eating or drinking

If left untreated, aspiration pneumonia can cause serious problems, such as a lung abscess or respiratory failure. Talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you think you might have aspiration pneumonia.

How can I prevent a cough after eating?

No matter what makes you cough after eating, a few simple steps can help you cough less and avoid complications like aspiration pneumonia:

  • Eat slowly.
  • Keep a food diary and mark all the foods that make you cough.
  • Do not eat during a coughing attack, as you may suffocate yourself.
  • Take all of your medications, especially those for acid reflux or asthma, as prescribed.
  • Keep a glass of water handy when you eat and drink lots of water.


There are several things that can make you cough after you eat, and most of them are easy to treat or manage. 

Take note of any other symptoms you have and work with your doctor to determine the underlying cause.

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