The GERD Cough
GERD, or Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease, is a condition in which the esophageal sphincter is weakened and allows stomach acid back up into the esophagus. Known for causing heartburn in Albany, this condition can be caused by a variety of factors, including smoking, being overweight, eating too large of a meal or lying down too soon after eating. These factors can place pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter therefore causing it to lose its grip and relax.
In addition to the well-known symptom of heartburn, one of the most common side effects of GERD is a chronic cough. This type of cough is caused by inflammation that results from the stomach acid climbing back into the esophagus. Such irritation over time causes mucus buildup in the lungs and trachea. The GERD cough is a result of this mucus buildup. Doctors have found that sometimes patients do not have any other symptoms of GERD beyond the cough. This makes it a challenge to diagnose and treat the condition for those patients.
Treatment for the cough caused by GERD typically involves treating the condition as a whole in order to remove the causes of the symptoms. The common avenues of treatment are avoidance of large meals, stopping smoking and alcohol as well as medications that inhibit the acid production. These medications can be found in both over the counter and prescription versions. Once the GERD is identified and treated then the symptoms are often relieved, including the chronic heartburn and cough.