Why does your throat gurgle when swallowing? (+3 reasons)

In this article, we will discuss gurgling in your throat when swallowing food, drink, or medication. We will also discuss some factors which may cause throat gurgles while swallowing and their management techniques.

Why does your throat gurgle when swallowing?

Your throat gurgles when swallowing food because your stomach is trying to remove excess air. You may draw excess air while drinking carbonated drinks, eating too fast, drinking through a straw, chewing gum, or talking while eating.

You may make gurgling noises while swallowing food if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), dyspepsia (indigestion), postnasal drip or anxiety. Throat gurgling is quite common and you may experience it during or after swallowing food.

However, if you are making persistent gurgling noises while swallowing, consult your doctor immediately. Your doctor will look into your medical history to identify the possible root cause of frequent gurgling, especially when swallowing food.

What factors make your throat gurgle when swallowing?

There are various factors which may cause gurgling in the throat while swallowing food. Occasional gurgling is harmless, however, if you experience repetitive and frequent gurgling in the throat when swallowing, consult your gastroenterologist.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

GERD may weaken the stomach sphincter and cause acid to gurgle up and burn the lower end of the oesophagus. Gurgles in the throat usually happen due to the regurgitation of food. The constant gurgling of stomach acid develops into a heartburn (1).


Indigestion may cause pain and a burning feeling in the upper part of the abdomen. Loud stomach gurgling and burping may occur due to indigestion. Indigestion is often caused by GERD, stomach ulcers, infection, pancreatitis, or improper eating habits (2).

Postnasal drip

Excess mucus formation and postnasal drip may cause throat gurgles, especially when swallowing. Postnasal drip increases the frequency of swallowing the mucus to clear the throat, intensifying the gurgling sounds and voice hoarseness (3).


Dysphagia is difficulty in swallowing which is often characterized by gurgling noises during or after eating the food. It may also cause coughing, choking, chest discomfort, and hiccups after swallowing food (4). 

Anxiety aerophagia

Due to anxiety, the patients feel excessive pressure on the throat that seems to radiate from the stomach, chest, or abdomen. Anxiety may also cause stomach churning and indigestion. Stomach churning is an uncomfortable sensation that causes throat gurgles when swallowing food.

Is it normal that your throat gurgles when swallowing?

It is normal to have gurgling noises in the throat when swallowing food. They are often temporary and happen due to the drinks and food you are eating. However, you should consult your gastroenterologist if you also experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the stomach,
  • Nausea,
  • Excessive bloating,
  • Heartburn,
  • Diarrhea or constipation, and
  • Abdominal swelling and distention.

How to manage and prevent throat gurgles when swallowing?

Doctors often prescribe medicines to prevent throat gurgles when swallowing food by treating the underlying disease. It is also important to adopt lifestyle modifications and eating norms to reduce the occurrence of gurgles.


Antacids are often prescribed to reduce acid reflux and throat gurgles. Examples include Gaviscon (aluminium hydroxide and magnesium carbonate), Pepcid (famotidine), Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate) and TUMS (calcium carbonate).

In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe two antacids together for the relief of symptoms, including Pepto-Bismol and Tums. They are both available over-the-counter (OTC) and can be safely taken together without causing any adverse effect.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as omeprazole, esomeprazole, and lansoprazole work by blocking and reducing the formation of stomach acid. PPIs also help reduce heartburn, gurgles, and burning sensation in the mouth.

Antihistamines (such as levocetirizine, loratadine, and fexofenadine) and decongestants (such as pseudoephedrine) help relieve the symptoms of postnasal drip and throat gurgles. You may also take mucus-thinning agents (such as guaifenesin)

Lifestyle modifications

Try eating in portions and never rush while eating your food. Avoid eating spicy, and acidic food as it may increase the incidence of acid reflux. Do not lie down immediately after eating food.

Limit your consumption of carbonated drinks and alcohol. Caffeine is also known to relax the stomach sphincter, increasing the incidence of acid reflux and gurgling. Try to sleep on your left side to avoid putting pressure on your stomach and other organs.

I often get throat gurgles and burps while drinking a carbonated drink. It is quite normal and easily manageable. Quit smoking if you are a habitual smoker. You should strictly follow the dosage regimen prescribed by your doctor for throat gurgles to get relief from these symptoms.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



Malfa GA, Di Giacomo C, Cardia L, Sorbara EE, Mannucci C, Calapai G. A standardized extract of Opuntia ficus‐indica (L.) Mill and Olea europaea L. improves gastrointestinal discomfort: A double‐blinded randomized‐controlled study. Phytotherapy Research. 2021 Jul;35(7):3756-68. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ptr.7074


Drinnan M, Powell J, Nikkar‐Esfahani A, Heading RC, Doyle J, Griffin SM, Leslie P, Bradley PT, James P, Wilson JA. Gastroesophageal and extraesophageal reflux symptoms: similarities and differences. The Laryngoscope. 2015 Feb;125(2):424-30. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/lary.24950


Bernstein AL, Cassidy J, Duchynski R, Eisenberg SS. Atypical headache after prolonged treatment with nasal continuous positive airway pressure. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain. 2005 May;45(5):609-11. https://headachejournal.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1526-4610.2005.05117_3.x


Wieseke A, Bantz D, Siktberg L, Dillard N. Assessment and early diagnosis of dysphagia. Geriatric Nursing. 2008 Nov 1;29(6):376-83. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0197457207003990


Lacy BE, Crowell MD, DiBaise JK. Functional and motility disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. New York: Springer; 2015. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-1-4939-1498-2