A chronic cough is one of the most common reasons that someone might make an appointment to see me. A cough that is considered chronic, is defined as a cough that persists for more than eight weeks. If you are experiencing a chronic cough, you shouldn’t ignore it or band-aid it with cough drops. In many cases, the cause of a cough can be serious and dealing with it can cause anxiety, depression and social isolation which can definitely impact your quality of life.
Common symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Throat clearing
- Hoarseness and post nasal drip
- Urinary Incontinence
- You may find that talking, exercise, eating and lying flat tends to trigger your chronic cough.
The most common underlying conditions associated with a chronic cough include asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and rhinosinusitis. Your provider can run some minimally invasive tests such as allergy testing, imaging and spirometry to determine the cause of your chronic cough. They may prescribe medications like nasal sprays, antihistamines, inhalers or acid suppressing medications.
If your cough is not due to a common cause, your provider may do additional testing to check for a more rare or serious cause such as cancer, interstitial lung disease, airway malformations and sarcoidosis. Multiple causes of a chronic cough can co-exist so it’s important to see a provider.
DISCLAIMER: The contents and opinions expressed by Everett Clinic teammates and providers on “A Healthier You” blog and those providing comments are theirs alone and are not a substitute for medical advice. Consult your own provider for personal health recommendations.
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