Chronic Cough and GERD: cut from the same cloth?

September 22, 2017

Are you suffering from a nagging chronic cough that just will not go away? You have seen all the right doctors and tried all the various recommended treatments, but still have not found the right fix? Maybe you have some other associated symptoms such as throat clearing or some voice changes? The solution may be escaping you because your symptoms are related to another underlying medical problem that you have not considered: GERD.

 

GERD, which is otherwise known as Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease, is a disorder of the stomach and esophagus where acid or even non-acid contents reflux backwards from the stomach to the esophagus. The classic symptoms include any or some of the following:

 

  1. Heartburn

  2. Acid reflux or indigestion

  3. Chest pain

  4. Abdominal pain/ burning

  5. Burping

  6. Bloating/Gas pain

  7. Nausea

 

But did you know that if left unchecked, the symptoms may progress and include:

 

  • Chronic cough

  • Throat clearing

  • Sore Throat

  • Voice changes

  • A feeling of fullness or a feeling of a lump in the throat or neck

 

GERD is a very common disease process which is the reason for many patients to schedule a Gastroenterology office visit, but there are still many patients who unfortunately suffer and do not get evaluated because they may not experience the classic symptoms which prompt an evaluation. Chronic cough is a great example of one of those symptoms in particular. It is much more common for a chronic cough to be related to an allergy or lung issue, however if you have been seen by your Primary Care Doctor, Allergist, and a Pulmonologist, and you are still trying to figure out how to get rid of that nagging cough, it may be time to see a Gastroenterologist.

 

When you are seen by a gastroenterologist, they will likely recommend you undergo a procedure called an EGD, also known as an Upper Endoscopy. This is a relatively quick and painless procedure for which you will be given mild Anesthesia, and a small camera can be used to look at your esophagus and stomach. In addition to taking pictures, biopsies can be performed to look for inflammation that may be under the surface, and not readily apparent by visualization. After the exam a trial of medication may be offered based on the results.

 

You may feel like you’ve tried every remedy under the sun but are not getting the answers you need for your cough. Don’t despair! Discuss with your doctors whether GERD may be a reasonable diagnosis to consider, and ask for a referral to see a gastroenterologist.

 

This article was originally posted on the website for Clear Allergy, Immunology, and Laser Center, the medical practice of Dr. Eric Kavosh who is a Board Certified Allergy and Immunology physician. You can learn more about Dr. Kavosh and his practice by clicking here.

 

 

 

Photo by Remy_Loz on Unsplash

 

DISCLAIMER: Please note that this blog is intended for Informational Use only and is not intended to replace personal evaluation and treatment by a medical provider. The information provided on this website is not intended as substitute for medical advice or treatment. Please consult your doctor for any information related to your personal care. 

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STUART AKERMAN, MD

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