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Avatar universal

Gagging & coughing after eating certain foods

My husband has developed a severe gagging/coughing reaction after eating certain foods.  He has had several test; upper GI; gallbladder function; ultrasound; and been on several medications; Acifex, Pepsid, Nexium, Zegerid?, Prilosec.  He has no pain in his chest or throat with these episodes.  They occur within 5 minutes of eating and can last up to 30 minutes.  After the gagging/coughing stops, he is extremely tired, to the point of having to take a nap.  We are at a loss as to the cause.  We have noticed he has a reaction to mainly oils, although some food he can eat if cooked extremely done.  This has been occuring since Thanksgiving 2008.
8 Responses
Avatar universal
The overall, general reaction that leads to fatigue sounds a lot like having an allergy reaction, or something that happens to some with celiac disease (but lacking the coughing). Does he ever get rashes? Or 'brain fog,' or any other symptom that you may not attribute to eating?

Has he been tested for food allergies?

What oils or what other foods does he react to?

Avatar universal
He has been tested for basic allergies, not specific food allergies.  I've not noticed a "brain fog" but I will pay closer attention.  The foods that he was able to eat but now cannot are:  biscuits & gravy (southern style), chocolate cake (but chocolate icing, ice cream, or candy is fine), hibachi style Japanese food, Thai food, bacon (unless it's crunchy/almost burnt), canola oil, olive oil, butter (not margerine), I think that's about it.  Keep in mind, all this started suddenly right around or just after Thanksgiving 2008.

He's very frustrated.  We eat out with family a lot and it's getting hard to find places & foods he can eat & not get this reaction.  He's somewhat a picky eater as well, not a lot of veggies but he's not overweight and he doesn't eat a lot of junk food.  He exercises at least 3 times a week at our local gym, and is basically heathly.  A few years ago (10+) he experienced seizures, but is on medication and a cause was never determined.
Avatar universal
I'm not sure what the common denominator is in the foods that you mentioned except with the biscuits and cake................ This doesn't happen with other foods that contain wheat, rye, barley, oats or malt? Does the food tend to come up and is it accompanied by a lot of mucus? If it does, has he had an upper endoscopy done or has anyone suggested esophageal manometry?

He's not alone in finding foods in restaurants that he can eat. It's a problem many with celiac find each and every day. My husband has learned to 'grill' the chef and question all ingredients. If he has to be picky, encourage him to do so. It's better to be safe and enjoy the company and the friends, than to have a miserable time retching.
Avatar universal
So far this reaction hasn't happened with foods that contain wheat, rye, barley, oats or malt.  He eats whole wheat bread and loves oatmeal.  Nothing comes up when these episodes happen.  No food or mucus.  Just the sever cough, dry heaves, and fatigue.  It happened again this morning.  He went to a different restaurant for a breakfast meeting, had eggs, strawberries, cantelope, danish, hash brown, pancake, chicken strips.  He had this same breakfast last weekend at a different restaurant and nothing happened.  So far, the only common denominator we can attribute this to is cooking oil.  

He has had an upper endoscopy but esophageal manometry does not sound familiar.  Does that test have to do with the opening/closing of the esophagus?  He does, on rare occassions, have problems with food seeming to get stuck.  He just has to wait a couple of minutes for the food to pass down, then he's fine.  This can occur right after the first few bites or later in the meal and it doesn't happen very often.

I think we are going to start asking a lot more questions when we go out to eat.
Avatar universal
Esophageal manometry has to do with the muscular working of the esophagus - it tests how it's working. That tube basically 'milks' the food through by alternately contracting longitudinal and circular muscles in a coordinated manner. When the coordination is 'off,' food can feel like things are 'stuck.'

1028438 tn?1252104306
Go to the thread in this forum concerning the Vagus Nerve. Read all the way down because there is lots of info. there. Also, has your husband had a Hida Scan for his gall bladder function? Or an ultrasound for gall stones? The common denominator with those foods is probably the fat content and spices. I have actually had to reduce my  restaurant experiences to plain grilled fish, plain steamed veggies and maybe a baked potato or plain rice. Very plain! But it goes down okay.
Avatar universal
He has had a Hida Scan, ultrasound, upper GI, test to time his digestion.  Seen family Dr. & 2 Gastrologists.  Family Dr. 1st thought gallbladder but it's working at 82% and ultrasound showed no gallstones.  The first gastrologist thought he had H-pylori, but tests came back negative.  The second gastrologists is convinced he has acid reflux but aside from the coughing/gagging, he has no other reflux symptoms.  He's been on Carafate, Nexium, Prilosec, Acophlex?, & Zegerid?.  Nothing has helped.  It's getting really frustrating, and expensive.
Avatar universal
I was diagnosed with athsma, but my wheezing and coughing is often right after eating...especially icecream, which I eat daily :)  it can be scary because it is not a voluntary "clear of the throat" but a crazy involuntary hacking with LOTs of phlem, but it feels like it is imn my lung, not so much my throat.  Often occurs after laughing hard or laying down after eating.  Some have told me acid reflux could cause.  don't want to take athsma meds for something not related...curious if take prevacid daily it will go away.  HMMM
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