Coughing After Eating

Do you frequently experience coughing after eating? Are you disturbed by incessant coughing after taking in food? Coughing is a result of a reflex reaction in the respiratory tract to clear out the air passage. It may be the result of irritation or stimulation in the sensory nerves in the respiratory tracts or air passage. Coughing can appear anytime such as in coughing after eating, or coughing when exposed to dust or bacteria. Coughing can be mild to severe.

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The air and food channel normally shares a common passage way, the throat. It’s common for coughs to appear when either one or both causes irritation on the throat. A perfect example is coughing after eating.

Causes of Coughing after Eating

There are various reasons why someone coughs after eating, they are:

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is a consequence of an irritation occurring in the stomach area resulting to the rising of stomach acid to as high as the pharynx. This may lead to irritation thus giving way to coughing.


Some people may have allergic reactions to certain foods. Food related allergies can trigger an inflammation in the respiratory tract which may lead to coughing.


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Coughing after eating happens when food or drinks accidentally enter your trachea or windpipe resulting to a reflexive coughing as a preventive way to stop food particles from entering the lungs. In some cases when food particles reach the lungs, this causes infection which leads to aspiration pneumonia. The infection may persist which would ensue more coughing.

Dysphagia or Difficulty Swallowing

Difficulty in swallowing may be due to various causes of oropharyngeal dysphagia which results to coughing after eating.

Tonsillitis and Pharyngitis

A person with tonsillitis may experience coughing after eating when the inflamed throat gets further irritated by the food or drink particles. Chronic necrotic tonsillitis may also trigger coughing when any small food particles get trapped in the crevices.

Zenker’s Diverticula

Coughing after eating may be a symptom of a condition called Zenker’s diverticula. This condition forms pouches just above the esophageal sphincter and when foods enter this pouch and get trapped a possibility of irritation may occur and result into coughing.

Treatment for Coughing after Eating

Treatment of coughing after eating depends on the cause. When coughing is due to choking, special medical treatment is not necessary; to solve this problem just slow down your food intake and avoid swallowing fast. But if coughing is still persistent even after eating, it is wise to consult a pulmonologist. The pulmonologist is a medical doctor specializing in treating different disorders related to the lungs and the respiratory system. When it comes to coughing, they are the best persons to consult. They can determine the main cause of coughing and be able to give the right treatment.

The best thing to do to avoid coughing after eating is to know the type of food you are allergic to and to avoid eating them. Eating slowly and following a healthy diet is the best way to go. But when coughing still persists, take it as a symptom of a more serious condition and should not be disregarded. Therefore, seek the advice of a medical health professional.

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