Why is it hard to breathe after I eat?

In this short article, we will answer the question “Why is it hard to breathe after I eat?” and will detail the most probable causes.

Why is it hard to breathe after I eat?

A person may have shortness of breath following eating for a variety of reasons. Food allergies, inhaling bits of food, and acid reflux are some of the potential reasons. Depending on the cause, different therapies are used.

Some of these possible causes will be discussed below, along with information on solutions.

Food allergy:

A food allergy is, by definition, immune system response to a specific food component. The purpose of our immune system is to defend the body against pathogens including bacteria, viruses, and poisons.

Immune response to immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies, a protein produced by the body, is what causes an allergic reaction to happen. Even in modest doses, allergy-causing foods can result in symptoms that range in severity, even becoming life-threatening. 

The following are the primary risk factors for food allergy:

Family history: 

The likelihood of developing a food allergy is higher when disorders like asthma, eczema, hives, and other allergies run in the family. Typically, food allergies coexist with asthma. In some situations, both diseases’ symptoms are more severe than usual;

Food allergy history: 

In most cases, food allergies in children subside when they get older, although they might reappear as adults. 

Other allergies: 

You are more likely to develop allergies to other foods if you already have a food allergy of some sort;


Research shows that food allergies are more prevalent in children and infants because as people age, their digestive systems develop and their bodies are less likely to absorb allergen-causing foods or their components.

Therefore, it is advised to get allergy testing done so you may find out in advance if you have any kind of food allergy and can then take the necessary precautions and treatments.

Food particles aspirations:

Coughing and gagging are the most typical results when food or saliva “goes down the wrong tube” and enters the windpipe rather than the oesophagus.

However, food particle aspirations increase in frequency as we age and can result in life-threatening illnesses such as lung infections and pneumonia, the type of which depends on the quantity and character of the aspirate. 

Water is typically the food that causes the initial instances of choking, a condition that occurs more frequently as you age. The choking risk may be increased in people with neurological complications from head injuries, brain tumours, or stroke. 

In a few instances, individuals may not have any cough reflex at all, which is referred to as “silent aspiration.” What to do in each instance of food particle aspirations is as follows:

  • Speech therapists do exercises to stimulate swallowing throughout rehabilitation, and they also provide proper nutritional assistance.
  • Nursing technicians or, more extensively, physiotherapists can aspirate secretions when they are present using their material and in conjunction with ventilatory exercises. 
  • When pneumonia develops, it is important to treat it with medications and take care of any other issues that may arise.
  • Tracheostomy, gastrostomy, or jejunostomy are appropriate when there is a substantial risk of food particle aspirations or when there is no method to improve airway protection.

Stomach acid reflux

The condition known as gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the muscle and sphincters that are designed to stop stomach acid from leaving the stomach do not work properly. This causes pain and ongoing inflammation of the oesophagal wall.

Because the lining of the stomach shields it from the effects of its acids, the oesophagus lacks these characteristics and experiences an uncomfortable burning sensation.

This sensation is known as heartburn, the amount of inflammation brought on by reflux depends on the acidity of the stomach contents and the amount of acid that comes into contact with the lining of the oesophagus. This condition is known as esophagitis.

The discomfort associated with reflux symptoms makes it crucial to consult a gastroenterologist as soon as possible. 

This will allow for an evaluation to be conducted and the best course of treatment to be determined, which typically entails taking medications that reduce the production of acid in the stomach and ease symptoms.

Simple steps like eating sensibly or utilizing medications like domperidone, which hastens gastric emptying, omeprazole or esomeprazole, which lessens stomach acid, or antacids, which balance the acidity already present, can be used to treat reflux.


In this short article, we answered the question “Why is it hard to breathe after I eat?” and have detailed the most probable causes.



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