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9 Effective Ways To Deal With Phlegm Production After Eating

Feb 15, 2022 | Blog, phlegm after eating

Coughing after eating is not uncommon; it is a preliminary response your body shows for trying to clear the airway passage, especially after meals. Occasional coughing is fine, but phlegm after eating every meal might throw you off; let’s dig a little deeper into this issue.
Coughing is considered an indicator of an underlying condition; it is like an alarm in the human body, and the best way to stop it is to reach the root cause. If you have this issue and are wondering, “Why do I get phlegm after eating?” read this blog for your answers; we have detailed a few reasons for thick phlegm secretion after eating.

Difference Between Acute And Chronic Cough

Acute coughs are common after eating because of irritants or if the food accidentally enters the wrong pipe. This kind of cough happens immediately after eating as a reflex and is put into a fit or acute cough category. Acute cough does not happen repeatedly and stops when the irritant is cleared from the area.
Drinking or eating appropriately is very important to stop the stimulus and consequent phlegm/cough.

Causes of Excessive Phlegm Production after Eating

If you are coughing up phlegm after eating, it may be because of one of the reasons mentioned below:

1. Asthma

This condition is an ongoing battle of the lungs; the airway undergoes inflammation making it narrow. This condition is characterized by chest tightening, wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing. Some individuals are at risk of suffering from an attack after eating triggering food items like sulfites present in onions, beer, etc.

2. Food Allergies

People with food allergies require constant monitoring while eating. Mostly, the immune system reacts to the food’s response after 2 hours of eating. Reactions are mild or severe, i.e., coughing up phlegm after eating to anaphylactic shock.

3. Upper Respiratory Tract Infection

Cough is a major yet very common sign indicating a respiratory tract infection. The reason could be chest congestion or postnasal drip. Certain food also triggers mucus or phlegm development, resulting in coughing for clearing the pathway after eating.

4. Acid Reflux

Irritation or cough occurs because of stomach acids’ movement up the esophagus because of a condition known as hiatal hernia. Our diaphragm helps in keeping the acid inside the stomach and separates it from the chest, but in a hiatal hernia, this does not happen.


Acid reflux progresses into a much more severe condition known as GERD – Gastroesophageal reflux disease. Stomach acids in a GERD patient move up, persistently damaging the esophagus lining and tissues, resulting in cough and phlegm after eating every time.

6. Dysphagia

Dysphagia is a swallowing disorder in the body that requires more effort than normal to move the food around to the stomach, which activates the gag reflex.

7. Laryngopharyngeal Reflux

Laryngopharyngeal reflux or LPR is a condition in which the acids travel high enough to reach the larynx or nasal area.

8. Aspiration Pneumonia

Inhaling small food particles is possible while eating and coughing clears the obstruction. However, those whose lungs are not strong enough can’t do that, and the debris causes a bacterial infection that results in aspiration pneumonia.

9. Diet

Diet plays a major role, while spicy food items aid in developing acid reflux, citrus or acetic acid containing food trickle down the throat stimulating the cough center. This is why eating such food produces phlegm resulting in a cough.


If coughing gets out of control or an allergen is consumed, reach out to one of the pulmonology experts in Tomball at Pulmonary Medical Consultants. Most of the cases are easily manageable and treatable; talk to us; call at (281) 357-1300 for more details.


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