There are several situations where you can get phlegm. Our body naturally makes mucus every day, and its presence isn’t necessarily a sign of anything unhealthy.
Ever wondered why you get phlegm after eating? Why does a certain situation facilitate the formation of it? What is this phlegm really?
We typically don’t produce noticeable amounts of phlegm unless you are sick with a cold or have some other underlying medical issue. When you cough up phlegm, it’s called sputum. You may notice different colored sputum and wonder what the colors mean. While you can get phlegms for several reasons, getting this after eating is a very common phenomenon.
But can this take a serious turn? Or can you do anything to get rid of it? What is the best way for clearing throat after eating?
After reading this article, you will be able to understand the causative factors of phlegm and how you can combat it by yourself at home.
We also pointed out when it is a medical emergency and should be taken care of immediately.
Table of Content
What is Phlegm?
Phlegm is produced by mucus membranes that run from your nose to your lungs. Every time you breathe in, allergens, viruses, dust, and other debris stick to the mucus, which is then passed out of your system. But sometimes, your body can produce too much mucus, which requires frequent throat clearing.
What causes this?
There are several possible causes of this, including acid reflux, asthma, food allergies, and dysphagia (which refers to difficulty swallowing).
Coughing is your body’s way of keeping irritants out of your respiratory system, so work with your doctor to figure out what’s causing the irritation.
Reasons why you can face phlegm after eating:
Most of the time, coughing is a symptom of an underlying condition. The body is responding to an irritation in the throat. So, the offending irritants are trapped by the mucus in the throat and expelled as phlegm.
Phlegm is generally a good thing but if there’s too much, it might cause more harm than good. Excess phlegm may cause difficulty in swallowing, constant irritation, coughing fits, etc. Some people may even experience throwing up phlegm after eating.
So what are causing the underlying coughing symptoms? Here are a few things you need to know about coughing after eating. These can happen for:
- Respiratory Infections: Coughing is a common symptom associated with upper respiratory infections because of congestion and postnasal drip. Eating can affect the congestion in your throat, resulting in the need to cough to clear the passageways.
- Asthma: This chronic condition can affect the lungs, often causing chest tightness, wheezing, and coughing.
- Food Allergies: One symptom of food allergies is coughing after eating. Usually, this reaction happens within two hours of eating. Severe allergic reactions can result in coughing or wheezing that leads to anaphylaxis, which could be life-threatening and requires immediate emergency treatment.
- Acid Reflux: When the stomach acid moves up the esophagus, it can cause irritation in the throat, resulting in coughing. Look for other coughing symptoms, such as a bitter taste, sore throat, or heartburn.
- GERD: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid frequently flows back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach (esophagus). This backwash (acid reflux) can irritate the lining of your esophagus. Many people experience acid reflux from time to time. When you have a chronic cough after meals, regardless of the types of food you eat, it could be GERD.
- Laryngopharyngeal Reflux: This condition is often referred to as LPR. It happens when the stomach acid moves high enough to affect the nose and/or larynx. It’s silent reflux, which means that you might be hoarse or need to clear your throat, but you don’t have other symptoms of acid reflux.
What can you do to prevent it?
The first and foremost thing that should be considered is some dietary changes to prevent coughing after eating. Foods can play a big role in the irritation of the throat and also the production of phlegm. Eating irritant foods may cause the production of thick phlegm after eating.
Things to Avoid:
- Avoid Phlegm-Causing Foods
- Spicy Foods
- Citrus and Acetic Acid
Another preventive measure will be controlling your eating habits or at least having a check on them. You should check which foods are causing more phlegm production after eating. You can also reduce your chance of coughing after eating by changing your eating habits.
Here are a few recommendations:
- “Overeating can increase the risk of acid reflux, so you should be proactive about managing portion sizes.”
- “Eat slowly and chew well before swallowing.”
- “Sit up straight and avoid eating while lying down.”
- “Take small sips of water between bites.”
- “Keep a food diary to see the patterns that increase the risk of coughing after a meal.”
- “Don’t eat during a coughing fit.”
- “Take medications as recommended by your doctor for asthma or acid reflux.”
Home Remedies for Phlegm :
Here are some quick and easy home remedies that can help you deal with phlegm:
1. Humidify the air:
Dry air can irritate the nose and nasopharynx and cause phlegm build-up. Using a humidifier can help solve this problem.
2. Stay hydrated:
Drinking plenty of water ensures that your body can create enough moisture to keep your nasal cavity and throat moist. This helps prevent phlegm formation.
3. Take respiratory health-promoting ingredients:
Eat foods that help clear nasal congestion and soothe the throat. A nice warm soup is one of the best examples.
4. Gargle saltwater:
A lukewarm saltwater gargle is one of the most tried and true remedies for any throat problem. A good gargle can help fight throat irritation and phlegm.
5. Use eucalyptus oil:
Eucalyptus is famous as a medicinal plant for its many health benefits. Essential oils from the Eucalyptus plant have anti-inflammatory properties that can treat throat irritations, thus fighting the cause of phlegm.
6. Try over-the-counter remedies:
If your Phlegm problem is being caused by common issues such as allergies, you can take over-the-counter drugs like Antihistamines. This can help with your allergies, treating your phlegm in the process.
What to do in cases when it’s chronic?
If your only symptom is a lingering cough and you feel otherwise healthy, keep an eye on how long it lasts. A chronic cough may indicate deeper or more serious infections. It may also be a sign of underlying diseases or autoimmune disorders.
It’s essential that you talk to a doctor to find the underlying cause of your coughing fits. It is wise to not take medications without consulting a doctor.
How do I get rid of phlegm after eating?
By keeping the air moist. Drinking plenty of fluids. Using a saline nasal spray or rinse. Gargling with saltwater.
Why do I get phlegm in my throat after eating ice cream?
Eating cold foods like ice cream or drinking something cold could trigger a reflexive cough action. In combination with cold temperature, the mucus can become thicker and can induce a cough to clear the throat.
Does GERD cause phlegm?
In adults and children, irritating acidic juices may back up from the stomach into the esophagus (swallowing passage) and throat (frequently called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.) This condition may occur at any time, but it happens more often when you are laying down.
Is it normal to have phlegm every day?
Your body naturally makes mucus every day, and its presence isn’t necessarily a sign of anything unhealthy.
As you are here now, you understand that getting phlegms is not unnatural but at the same time, it shouldn’t be overlooked as well.
Take care of your health, avoid dust, and always wear a mask when going to crowded places. Hopefully, this article helped you to understand what to do when the throat is being a bit suspicious.