Chronic Cough May Be Caused By GERD

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Have you been coughing for 3 weeks or more, and aren’t sure why? If you don’t have a chronic respiratory disease or other symptoms of illness, your chronic cough may be the result of GERD. People with GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, suffer from frequent acid reflux and can experience many other health complications, including seemingly unexplained coughing.

How does GERD cause coughing?

Frequent acid reflux, when stomach acids flow back up into the esophagus from the stomach, can cause coughing in two ways: esophageal-tracheobronchial reflex and aspiration.

  • Esophageal-Tracheobronchial Reflex: Stomach acid refluxing into certain parts of the esophagus can trigger irritant receptors, signaling the brain to cough. If acid is reaching this part of the esophagus regularly, you may experience frequent coughing.
  • Aspiration: In some cases, a small amount of the stomach acid that is refluxed can actually enter the bronchial tubes or lungs. Your body’s natural response to this type of aspiration is coughing.

If you have a frequent cough that may be caused by GERD, the best way to resolve your symptoms is to address your GERD. GERD can be treated by making lifestyle changes, taking prescription medications designed to reduce acid production in the stomach, or having surgery. Your doctor can help you determine the best treatment options for you.

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