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Do you suffer from shortness of breath after eating?

Updated on April 3, 2012

What are the causes of shortness of breath after eating?

During heavy meals, or when taking mouthfuls rather rapidly, the stomach can become bloated and puffed-up. This would lead to adverse events as the bloated stomach presses against the overlying 'diaphram' of the chest. The diaphragm is an essential entity in allowing the chest to expand fully and when it is compromised it may lack its effectiveness. This would mean that, the person has to breath faster in order to obtain the same amount of oxygen which the person acquires during normal breathing takes place.

Another possibility is 'acid reflux'. In certain individuals, the stomach acid can travel back through the esophagus towards the 'voice box' and cause sudden muscle spasm. As it is the entrance to the lungs, the spasm would restrict the air intake and therefore lead to breathlessness.

In certain instances, when a person is suffering from 'heart failure', the body may not be able to meet up with the oxygen demand as more blood gets re-distributed to the intestine. Thus, the heart would have to function more vigorously although the heart failure would prevent them doing so. This would lead to breathlessness as the lungs would have to compromise the failing heart.

When people suffer from tumors in the region of trachea, esophagus...etc, taking a meal would compromise the already compressed airways and the diaphragm which might lead to shortness of breath.

Apart from these causes, allergic reactions to foods can also give rise to breathlessness although it can be associated with several other manifestations such as rashes or hives, itching of the body and facial or body swelling.

How to prevent shortness of breath after a meal?

When looking at the possible underlying causes, there are several methods to curb the shortness of breath in some instances. These include,

-Taking small frequent meals instead of a larger single meal.

-Avoid laying down soon after taking a meal.

-Avoid taking excessively fatty food.

-Drinking water after the meal instead of between each mouthful.

-Avoid taking fizzy drinks during meals.

-Taking antacid medications before the meal.

-Avoiding excessively spicy foods.

-Undergo medical checkup to ascertain the health of the heart and the lungs.

What should you do?

Given the multiple causes associated with shortness of breath, one should not neglect nor leave it to settle automatically for any reason. Thus, after undertaking the measures mentioned above if relief is not forthcoming, medical advise should be obtained without a delay.


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    • MSantana profile image

      MSantana 5 years ago from Madison Wisconsin

      This conditions although common could be really serious. Stomach cancer is one of the most serious problems related to this. If your doctor prescribe antiacids and do not take your symptoms seriously ask for a second opinion. I also recommend that people consult med sites.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      This is a very helpful hub. Although some things, if persistent, shouldn't be ignored; there are often more common explanations than the big ones we all fear. Thanks!

    • pandula77 profile image

      pandula77 5 years ago from Norway

      I agree. Thanks for the comments cat on a soapbox.

    • jeanihess profile image

      jeanihess 5 years ago from Cape Town South Africa

      With increasing overweight problems this must be a common problem now in obese societies!

    • pandula77 profile image

      pandula77 5 years ago from Norway

      Yes it is jeanihess! thanks for your comments!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Very helpful information! Voted up and sharing.

    • celeste inscribed profile image

      Celeste Wilson 4 years ago

      Voted interesting and useful. I have an allergic reaction to any fermented food like pickles, wine etc. If I have these in excess I develop shortness of breath. So I found your article extremely interesting. I think I also eat too fast and I didn't realize that it could make my condition worse. Thank you for an interesting article.

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