A persistent cough can have many different causes, and it’s important to have this symptom evaluated by a doctor. While it’s natural to assume a chronic cough is due to a respiratory problem, you might be surprised to learn that studies indicate a persistent cough is often a sign of GERD, a condition caused when the contents of your stomach inappropriately leak into your esophagus. While most people experience occasional acid reflux, some people may develop a more serious form of acid problems. This is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). People with GERD experience chronic, persistent reflux that occurs at least twice a week.
Most of the cough episodes are self-limited and disappear after a respiratory infection is resolved with our without specific treatment. Cough that persists will need medical attention.
When COPD is diagnosed late, patients have more severe symptoms and the treatments do not work as well. A nagging “smokerâ€™s cough” should not be ignored. A chronic cough in a smoker or former smoker may be a sign of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis).
Your doctor may try putting you on proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), a type of medication for GERD, for a period of time to see if symptoms resolve. PPIs include brand name medications such as Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec, among others.
Chronic lung disease – a productive cough could be a sign that a disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is getting worse or an infection has started. Rascoe has more advice. â€œPatients with severe long-standing GERD disease should see a gastroenterologist. These patients may need a screening endoscopy for Barrettâ€™s esophagus, a condition that greatly increases your risk for esophageal cancer.â€ Those patients with known Barrettâ€™s disease undergo routine endoscopic surveillance to detect any evidence that the disease may be progressing to cancer. Esophageal cancer risk factors include tobacco and alcohol; gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); obesity; Barrettâ€™s esophagus (precancerous changes in the cells of the esophagus); and not eating enough fruits and vegetables.
Non-specific associations also occur as a result of an abnormal cough reflex, itself associated with a number of factors. A detailed history will often suggest a likely association or trigger for chronic cough and should include a number of key components (table 5). In normal subjects acute cough associated with URTI is not usually a cause of hospital admission.
Chronic cough – lasting eight or more weeks – is one of the most common reasons for a doctor visit. A specialist cough clinic should provide a combination of diagnostic testing and treatment trials. Although specialist cough clinics have generally been set up in secondary care, they could be developed within a Primary Care Trust.
Find out more about the link between acid reflux and sore throat, what causes it, how to treat it or relieve symptoms at home, how it can affect children, and how to distinguish this from other types of sore throat. Coughing is the fast expulsion of air from the lungs when the vocal chords are open, which gives a cough its characteristic sound. Find out here about why we cough, how we contract a cough, and when it might be wise to visit the doctor. Also, we give details on home remedies that might ease the symptoms of a cough. There are many other causes of chronic cough.