Why do I get so congested after I eat?
June 26, 2013 2:32 PM Subscribe
I'm trying to figure out why I get congested after I eat many types of foods. Often after I finish a meal, I get very congested in my chest 10-15 minutes later, and my throat and chest feel somewhat tight. Not wheezing-I-can't-breathe tight, but tight like how things feel during a panic attack. When this happens I have to cough a lot and clear my throat to get the phlegm out of my chest. Then, after about 15-20 minutes, everything goes away and I feel normal. What's going on?
This has been happening for years, but seems to be getting more frequent as of late. It does not happen after all meals - I've noticed that it happens mostly with Asian food of all types, Indian food, Mexican food, and anything that involves spicy. However, it's also happened after eating smoked salmon, cured meats, and a salad that contained only vegetables and dressing. Really the only time it does not happen is when I prepare bland foods from fresh ingredients at home. It sucks because the aforementioned types of foods - the ones that make this happen - are my favorites!
I consulted an allergist because I thought maybe I am allergic to peppers or chiles or something, but he said my symptoms are not really indicative of a food allergy (no wheezing, swelling, hives, etc.) and that it is more likely a sensitivity to something, which apparently you can't really test for. Since this happens so much it is more annoying now than scary, but it is uncomfortable (feeling your chest and throat tighten up is never fun) and it has made me not really look forward to meals out.
What should I do? Should I go on a total detox/cleanse for a few weeks and then slowly reintroduce certain foods? Should I see another doctor? Should I start keeping a food diary?
Also, has anyone dealt with anything similar?