ZocdocAnswersWhy do I wheeze and cough after eating a meal?

Question

Why do I wheeze and cough after eating a meal?

I am a 34 year old male asthmatic non tobacco user. I am a daily cannabis user. After some meals, I have a wheeze and cough and will produce phlegm. This has happened for a few years now.

Answer

Wheezing and coughing after meals is very classic for gastroesophageal reflux disease, which is a common condition in which acid washes out of the stomach and up the esophagus and into the mouth. Some of this acid may make its way into the lungs, provoking the cough and wheeze. You should definitely have this possibility investigated by your primary care doctor. It may be that some of your asthma symptoms are actually related to gastroesophageal reflux, and that if you control your acid reflux symptoms some of your asthma symptoms will get better. Alternatively, the wheezing and cough may just be because you are suffering from uncontrolled asthma and that you notice the symptoms more after meals. You should report to your doctor for example how many times you feel short of breath during the day and night and how often you have to use your albuterol rescue inhaler. All of these symptoms will help your doctor determine whether or not you need to change your asthma medication regimen. Finally, you should not smoke cannabis. Asthmatics should not smoke any substance, as all inhaled substance substantially worsen the reactivity of the lungs and lead to worsened wheezing, cough, and other symptoms.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.