Why am I short of breath after eating?

After enjoying a full-course meal some people experience extreme bloating, which causes shortness of breath. This is extremely uncomfortable and unnerving to those that experience it, but in most cases it is completely harmless.


After eating, some people experience being short of breath. This feeling can come on gradually or immediately after eating. You may feel that you are extremely full, and you may even belch up bits of your food (acid reflux).


The main cause of feeling short of breath after eating is overeating. When you over eat your stomach distends to a point that it begins to put pressure on your diaphragm, which in turn puts pressure on your lungs.


The only treatment in this case is prevention. Eating smaller amounts of food with meals spaced further apart will help to prevent over filling the stomach. This will also help to get rid of excess gas that may also be a cause of breathlessness after eating.


Breathlessness after eating usually subsides after digestion. If you have eaten and found that it is difficult to breath you may need to walk a bit to aid digestion.

Special Considerations

If you experience this feeling even after reducing the amount of food you intake at any one time you should contact your physician immediately, as you may have a food allergy.

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About the Author

April Khan is a medical journalist who began writing in 2005. She has contributed to publications such as "BBC Focus." In 2012, Khan received her Doctor of Public Health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She also holds an Associate of Arts from the Art Institute of Dallas and a Master of Science in international health from University College London.