British Lung Foundation
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What do you eat/drink that makes your breathing worse? And why??

I'm usually replying but I thought I'd kick this off, see if anything chimes with others.

I've been diagnosed mild COPD(emps), with a few issues that make it feel worse (throat mucus, sinusitis left over from undiagnosed GERD + asthma + adverse reactions to meds).

On one of the Xrays I had left lung plate atelectasis - a minor collapse of a transverse section of lung. That's 5 years ago. But I think when I eat food that creates bloating, like sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, salads etc. I think it collapses again.. then I feel I need to clear sputum, but cant cough anything up. I get crackles if I lie down.. But if I belch the gas out (sorry,..) I'm then OK until I gas up again.

At first, this used to scare me, felt like a brick inside my lung, until I found 'the belch' eased it. But next day when the bloating has gone, I'm back to 'OK' normal.

You'll think I'm joking when I say beer doesn't cause it... but you'd think 'gassy.. and would', but it doesn't except if mixed with any of the above.

So what affects you? What do you do to get over it? Or just don't eat it?

21 Replies

Well I am only at the mild stage and the only thing which affects me really is eating too big a meal coz it seems to push at my diaphragm. x


Hi , I have GERD but having surgery in Tuesday . I find eating late , eating too much and gulping food down doesn't help , I try to chew and rarely eat after 7pm . I also try and avoid anything spicy and chocolate . I think certain foods definitely trigger me to start coughing then I feel like I'm going to be sick ( not very pleasant ) I also suffer with trapped wind and this gives me bad back ache , oh the joys of having GERD 😱


Hi I don't know what GERD is but it sounds nasty! x


Hi , it is gastric reflux disease and they have only just connected it with people who have bad lungs . The valve in my stomach doesn't close properly therefore acid leaks back up . Eating the wrong foods can be a nightmare and causes a coughing fit making me very breathless . Foods that can trigger it are spicy , acidic , chocolate , caffeine , fried so I try to avoid these although sometimes you have to treat yourself . Keep well x

1 like

What's the surgery? Laparoscopic fundoplication?

You in UK?

Yep chocolate & coffee too affect me. My tummy thinks coffee is a vegetable lol (serious). Chocolate + coffee also make my throat mucus worse.

If I have a little 'greens' chewing it really well does help avoid the acid indigestion/bloating.

Good luck with the op.



Hi , yes having fundoplication on Tuesday . I'm in the UK , how about you ? Chewing greens help is that green vegetables ?. Take care Kelly


Sorry, I meant if I don't chew green veg really well, I get the problem worse. I still eat smallish portions (edited the confusing post for clarity).

Yep, in UK, too. I asked because I thought they are reluctant here to perform it, less so in USA.

Is your gerd bad? Not controlled by meds?

Will you please let us know how it is afterwards?

Best wishes.


My previous husband who died in 2003 with heart failure following severe COPD and asthma, used to find highly acidic foods made him worse. Once I made a sweet sour sauce balancing the flavours by taste rather than following a recipe and put too much vinegar in, which made him serioiusly breathless. I learned not to do that again.


Interesting post thank you - I too get wind which causes pressure and pain on my diaphragm and lungs which I get rid of by applying gentle pressure just under my rib cage sometimes rubbing in small circular motions to ease the wind upwards and out - always works for me and I like cabbage and sprouts etc. so do not want to give them up especially as they are so good for us. And, as you, I also have a beer now and then and agree they are not as gassy as one might think. xx


Yep - and the beer seems to keep the mucous at bay for a while, too. I do a bit of manual manipulation to help with wind - when it seems to be trapped.

Best wishes


Hi soulsaver, I get terrible throat mucus after too much butter or cheese in fact too much dairy altogether. I very rarely have a cough but have a problem speaking sometimes with a rattly throat. Apart from that, potatoes definitely don`t do for me. And I recommend a cup of peppermint tea to anyone who has that bloated feeling. Oh the joys of COPD- you have to laugh- but be prepared to wet yourself when you do !

Keep well, Sheila x


Lol.. Hi Sheila Potatoes don't affect me badly, thankfully.. except as shop bought chips & I think that is the veg oil they're cooked in.

Ginger tea is supposed to be good for mucus movement/thinning too.

And thankfully I don't have the last prob...

Best wishes


heh heh.....................................never prepared, must try harder. Never had so many showers in my whole life.


Hi soalsaver

Have just read this post and i am the same mild copd and anything i seem to eat bloats me out but if i have a beer or 2 it dont.

And i thought it was just me, how strange

Good luck



Hi Music, I'm glad you resurrected this post as I have some developments since: You're not by any chance on statins, too? I'm not sure yet if statins cause it but I'm absolutely certain they make it worse. I've had my dose cut down to the minimum and changed from generic back to Lipitor... and whilst I occasionally still get it (bloating and acid indigestion) it's much improved.


Hi Soulsaver

Thanks for getting back and yes i am on statins 20mm but have been on them for about 10 years.

I have stopped smoking for near 3 years and that was hard enough has i still crave for one when i have a beer has the 2 of them has always gone together in my life ( nicoteen and acohol)

Has i do like a glass or 2 of wine at night or a beer and i am not stopping that unles i have to has the fags were hard enough lol.

Take care



Yep so was I (ten years on statins with no prob) when I was diagnosed & went on inhalers. I then started to get regular acid indigestion, bloating & nausea attacks I'd never had before. I (eventually) stopped the statins and things improved dramatically. I've compromised now on the min dose (10mg).

My theory is it's caused by a combination of statin & inhaler... but I can't risk stopping the inhaler.

You too.


PS as an aside I play an instrument & read music, too...


You are all so au fait with terminology. I have copd - what is (emps), and GERD?

I eat anything and everything, but nothing after 7 at night, because I am too full when I go to bed. I don't cough at night like I did when I was first diagnosed. It was horrible and you have my sympathy. Have you tried a process of elimination>


Hi A1JIS emps =emphysema; Gastric Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD, UK spelling) Or esophageal US spelling = GERD. I'm in UK , just but put GERD 'cos .. I just do. lol.

I have cut back on inhaler dose, too and improved more. I believe its overspill from the bronchodilator (maybe not rinsing enough?) that relaxes the tone of smooth muscle outside the lungs, too, affecting the diaphragm and peristalsis - causing trapped wind, gerd etc. Statins can cause bloating anyway, and I think the combination of the two things & exacerbated by any green veg, tomato etc. caused a nightmare.

Still much improved now, but will be difficult on staying low dose inhalers during winter, if I get a cold/infection.


I'm resurrecting this post because I pretty well resolved the bloating belching problem but had to come off Spiriva completely.

It appears to paralyse the peristalsis in my small intestine, supposedly a rare side effect - although it is listed on the patient leaflet.. but bloating IS on leaflets for statins and other drugs too. Anyway for certain that's what caused it & exacerbated by higher dose of generic statins.

I hope that this info may help anyone struggling with the same trouble.


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