Table of Contents
- Chronic cough facts
- What is chronic cough?
- What are causes of chronic cough?
- What are causes of chronic cough? (Continued)
- What are the different types of chronic coughs?
- What kinds of doctors treat chronic coughs?
- How is chronic cough treated?
- How is chronic cough treated? (Continued)
- Are there home remedies for chronic cough?
- Can chronic cough be prevented?
Quick GuideTips to Calm Your Cough in Pictures
What are causes of chronic cough?
Some common causes of chronic cough include asthma, allergic rhinitis, sinus problems (for example sinus infection),esophageal reflux of stomach contents, medications such as ACE inhibitors, and whooping cough. In rare cases, chronic cough may be the result of inhaling foreign objects into the lungs (usually in children). It is important to see a doctor who may order a chest X-ray if a chronic cough is present. The following are common causes of chronic coughing.
- Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of a constant, chronic cough.
- Asthma is a disease of the airways, resulting in difficulty breathing or wheezing often characterized by abnormal breathing tests. Some asthma sufferers have chronic cough as their only symptom. They may even have normal lung functions tests. This is often referred to as cough-variant asthma. Asthma symptoms can be aggravated by cold air, exposure to air pollutants, pollen, smoke, or perfumes.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) refers to acid reflux, or backward flow, of stomach acid and other contents into the esophagus. If stomach acid moves backward up the esophagus, reflexes result in spasm of the airways that can cause shortness of breath and coughing. In some instances, acid reflux can be so severe that substances can be inhaled (aspirated) into the lungs and cause similar symptoms as well as damage to lung tissue. In some individuals, no sensation of heartburn is felt and their only symptom may be chronic cough.
- Sinus problems and postnasal drip also are causes of chronic cough with mucus. This condition can be difficult to detect. Sometimes CT scan of the sinuses is necessary for diagnosis. Affected individuals often complain of a "tickle in their throat" and frequent throat clearing.
Medscape.com. Diet High in Fruit Fiber and Flavonoids May Prevent Chronic Productive Cough.
National Lung Health Education Program. Chronic Cough.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Proton Pump Inhibitors: Use in Adults. August 2013. 16 June 2015 <http://www.cms.gov/Medicare-Medicaid-Coordination/Fraud-Prevention/Medicaid-Integrity-Education/Pharmacy-Education-Materials/Downloads/ppi-adult-factsheet.pdf>
UpToDate. Patient information: Chronic cough in adults.