Feeling of Fullness in Throat After Eating

The feeling of fullness in the throat can develop as soon as you start eating or when your meal is completely over. Symptoms can be extremely unpleasant and affect the quality of life. Because throat fullness after eating can sometimes signal a harmful medical condition, it's essential to understand why it occurs and how you can remedy it. (Ref#3: NLM)

Throat fullness can be uncomfortable. (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Knowing Your Symptoms

Besides fullness in the throat, you can experience a painful burning sensation between the breastbone and bellybutton. In addition, nausea, bloating, hoarseness of the voice, tightness in the throat, a dry cough, difficulty swallowing, bad breath, gagging, vomiting, excessive throat clearing and regurgitation of food and acid can develop. (Ref#3: NLM, Ref#1: Temple, Ref#7: CHOP & Ref#4: Ny Times)

Identifying the Culprits

Throat fullness after eating can be due to indigestion, which can be caused eating too quickly, eating large amounts of food, eating foods that are high in fiber or eating greasy food. In some cases, indigestion can also be triggered by gallstones, ulcers, pancreatitis and gastritis. (Ref#3: NLM) Fullness in the throat can also be due to acid reflux, which is a condition caused by a weak or malfunctioning sphincter muscle in the esophagus. Because the sphincter muscle doesn't close properly, acid and food come up from the stomach and can burn the throat tissues, resulting in swelling and the feeling of fullness. (Ref#2: Dr Oz) A hiatal hernia can also contribute to acid reflux. (Ref#1: Temple) Throat fullness can also be caused by an immune/allergic condition called Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) (Ref#5: AAAA) or an enlargement of the thyroid glands caused by a thyroid condition. (Ref#4: NY Times) In rare cases, the feeling of fullness can be the symptom of a tumor. (Ref#2: Dr Oz)

Getting Help

See your doctor if throat fullness after eating is chronic. A doctor can perform tests and procedures to identify the exact cause of your throat fullness. (Ref#2: Dr Oz) For throat fullness caused by indigestion and acid reflux, take an over-the-counter medication such as an antacid, foaming agent, H2 blocker medication or proton pump inhibitor. Your doctor can also prescribe a prokinetic medication to help strengthen the sphincter muscle. (Ref#1: Temple) Avoid the suspected allergen if your throat fullness is caused by EOE. Corticosteroid medications can also help reduce inflammation in the throat. (Ref#5: AAA) If your throat fullness is due to an enlarged thyroid, your doctor may prescribe a thyroid hormone replacement pill or radioactive iodine to reduce the size of the thyroid gland. In severe cases, surgery to remove the thyroid gland may be required. (Ref#4: NY Times)

Preventing Reoccurrences

You can prevent throat fullness related to indigestion and acid reflux by avoiding triggers such as alcohol, smoking, chocolate, caffeinated drinks, citrus fruits, fatty foods, mint, garlic, onions, tomato-based foods and spicy foods. Losing weight if you are overweight, chewing your food carefully and eating slowly can also help reduce symptoms. (Ref#1: Temple & Ref#3: NLM) For EOE related throat problems, you can prevent symptoms by staying away from the allergen and any products that might contain the allergen such as beauty products and medicines. (Ref#5: AAA) To prevent thyroid enlargement, a doctor may recommend consuming 150 micrograms of iodized table salt every day. (Ref#4: NY Times & Ref#6: Go Ask ALice)

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