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British Lung Foundation
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Can anyone help with breathing issues when eating?

Hi everyone

I’m hoping someone may have experienced similar issues to me and might be able to provide some guidance. I’m asthmatic well managed. A year ago positive helicobactor pylori and since had terrible breathless episodes when or just after eating, feels like an asthma attack/allergic reaction feels like my lungs hyperinflate, throat and tongue gets congested and feels like it’s swelling. This all lasts for up to an hour every time I eat. It doesn’t matter what food I eat. I’ve cut out sulphites gone organic and I’m already on a gluten free diet. Allergen testing normal. I’ve tried various as I thought this was related to acid reflux however PPIs havent worked and gastrocopy, barium swallow and ph study all normal. Lungs appear okay and chest X-ray normal. Symptoms appear classic acid reflux but tests disprove this. I also have constant oral thrush and bad breath. Can anyone offer any guidance on where I go now and how to manage symptoms as they’re terrifying and I’m struggling to cope. Thanks in advance and apologies for long post.

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That's sounds very distressing for you ..if all tests have came back all normal . Sometimes when people eat they take in lots of air and eating in smaller mouthfuls might help ..

..also if you have constant thrush they need to look into that or give you nystatin which is the treatment for it...thrush can be painful in itself and we can get it from inhaler use if you use them ...

you could also try eating a smaller meal .eating a full meal can push on the diaphragm pushing against the lungs making it feel difficult to get air in giving you a knock on effect with the rest of the upper anatomy etc....if PPIs aren't working you could ask the doc for a change maybe to include ranitidine as well i hope that helps you some..helicobacter should clear with the antibiotics you were perhaps given after the gastroscopy if you were given them I hope you get resolve but speak to your doctor... they need to look into the bad breath and thrush if it's constant

Angie xx

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Hi Angie

Thanks for your reply. I do eat very small meals and take a long time to chew and digest them. GP keeps advising to use daktarin for the thrush so thanks I’ll ask for nystatin to see if that makes a difference. Yes had various courses of antibiotics for the hpylori and now re-tested negative. Unfortunately ranitidine didn’t help. Gastroenterologist advised to see ENT, however I’m not sure that will be much use, but will go on the waiting list. It’s all very baffling.

Em x


If you have thrush it maybe a good idea to exclude sugar from your diet and take a good probiotic. May help. Good luck


Thanks Leesa, I haven’t been able to eat sugar as I’ve been on a really plain diet, basically porridge, fish and veg and solely water. I’ve tried probiotics such as actimel etc but wondered about kefir as I hear this is a natural probiotic, I can only find it online though and I’m wary of buying things like that online.

Morrison's stock Kefir usually in the World Food aisle or sometimes in the Polish food area. You could also try Sauerkraut (Krakus).

I can also recommend Optibac probiotics as I take Saccromyces Boulardii which I buy from Dolphin Fitness online and Amazon stock it too.

That was my next suggestion referral to ent. They focus on the upper respiratory tract nose tongue throat larynx pharnyx which is where you seem to be getting your problems...you seem to be doing everything right but maybe an ent consultant will come up with a solution ..

Have you tried easy breathing technique sniff the rose blow the candle pursed lip breathing....if your getting anxious about things .

Hope you get sorted

Angie xx

Thanks For the breathing technique Angie, I’ll try this as I do feel Im getting anxious every time I have an episode and I’m probably letting my breathing get out of control. Fingers crossed I don’t need to wait too long to see an ENT as I’ve spent all my savings on seeing a Gastroenterologist ☹️

Em x

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Your welcome Em terrible you have had to spend money on treatment and I hope you feel better look on you tube for videos on breathing fingers crossed for keep posting and let us know how you get on 😀😀😀😀 Angie xx

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I have a sliding hiatus hernia and have the same symptoms , has this been ruled out .

Take care



Hi Dorothy, I’ve had endoscopy and was told that was normal, so presume this would have ruled out a hernia. How do you manage your symptoms, are you on medication for it?

Hi yes that would have ruled it out I have managed for 27 years ok that’s when I was diagnosed have had to have endoscopy every 12 months because I have Barrett’s but 4 years ago said I wasn’t having anymore ,I can’t lie down and what would they do can’t operate on me so in answer too your question the last 4 months I also ,like you have been bad with my breathing after eating I try small meals take my omeprazole my gaviscon and hope it wll go away

I shall be interested in what replies you get

I think your going to have to insist that your GP refers you to a specialist I would suggest first Gastrointestinal specialist. GPs don't specialise so they're only going to look for the obvious. Sounds like it's needs proper investigation to get to the bottom of it all.

Perhaps Oramorph in small doses may help? It relaxes and dispells anxiety and you are probably anxious now before meals because you know what well might follow......

The comment about sugar and thrush makes sense, thrush is common with people taking steroids because steroids increase the natural blood glucose level, and this excess is what the thrush ( candida) feeds on, so any further added sugars will (probably) increase blood sugar levels further.

The Daktarin does work for thrush..........I use the ointment for skin. It can take a week of applications, usuallly twice a day, to clear up a bad infection, but it does work. Every over the counter remedy I tried did not work, so I was very happy to get Daktarin on prescription.

I hope you get some relief soon.

I know this sounds stupid but do you sit at a dini g table to eat. If not i would try that for a while it helps if you are sat up straight to close off the airway. You may be getting small amounts of food into the air way entrance and causing irritation. Hope this helps

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