Did you know that chronic cough can be caused by acid reflux? It’s one of the top three causes of chronic cough, but it can be treated through lifestyle changes and medications like Prilosec and Nexium, which are available from eDrugstore.com.
A chronic cough is defined as a cough that persists for longer than eight weeks.
Anyone who develops a chronic cough should have it evaluated by a doctor, because in rare cases, chronic cough can be linked to serious illnesses.
However, the three most common causes of chronic cough are:
- Postnasal drip: inflammation of the nasal passages resulting in mucous that accumulates in the throat, commonly associated with allergies, though there are other causes
- Asthma: a disease usually associated with chest tightness and wheezing, but sometimes with chronic cough as the only symptom
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): sometimes known as acid reflux, GERD may cause an unpleasant acid taste in the mouth, heartburn, or sometimes a chronic cough
Coughs Caused by Acid Reflux
Acid reflux, or GERD, is actually one of the most common causes of a persistent cough. In fact, 20 to 40% of chronic cough cases may be due to acid reflux. Many people with a cough due to acid reflux don’t experience the classic symptoms of acid reflux, like heartburn, and therefore assume the cause of their cough is something else. Some clues about whether a cough is caused by acid reflux include:
- Non-productive cough that occurs more frequently during the day when the person is sitting upright
- A cough that occurs in the absence of other common cough triggers like cigarette smoke
- Cough without asthma, post-nasal drip, or in patients with normal chest x-rays
Most children under 12, and many adults with acid reflux, do not experience the classic heartburn symptom. Rather, they experience a dry, non-productive cough, symptoms that may mimic asthma, or they may have trouble swallowing.
The Reflux / Cough Cycle
One of the most frustrating aspects of chronic cough caused by acid reflux is that coughing itself can cause acid reflux, which in turn can cause more coughing, resulting in a vicious cycle. Those who don’t experience classic symptoms of acid reflux may experience excessive throat clearing or hoarseness, usually while sitting in an upright position. This type of acid reflux that affects the throat is called laryngopharyngeal reflux, or LPR.
Treating Acid Reflux
People who only experience occasional acid reflux cough can often treat the problem with simple lifestyle changes, like eating smaller portions at a time, avoiding eating right before bedtime, and avoiding common acid reflux trigger foods, like carbonated drinks and spicy foods. Other foods commonly associated with acid reflux include:
- Alcoholic drinks
- Fried foods
- Citrus foods
- Tomato-based foods like pizza, spaghetti sauce, and salsa
- Mint-flavored foods
Those who are unable to control acid reflux with lifestyle changes may be helped by medications for acid reflux, including popular drugs like Prilosec and Nexium.
Medications for Acid Reflux
Prilosec is a prescription medication in a class of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors. These drugs inhibit actual production of acid secretion in the stomach and are the treatment of choice for those with acid reflux problems. Prilosec is usually used for up to four weeks to treat acid reflux, or up to eight weeks to help heal acid reflux-related damage to the lining of the esophagus. It can be used under the supervision of a doctor in children under age 16.
Nexium is another prescription drug in the proton pump inhibitor class. It is used to treat acid reflux and is sometimes used along with antibiotics in the treatment of ulcers caused by H. Pylori bacteria. Like Prilosec, Nexium inhibits the amount of acid that the stomach produces.
These drugs may also be used to treat the underlying cause of chronic cough that occurs due to acid reflux.
If you come down with a cough that lasts longer than eight weeks, you should consult a doctor to try to find out what’s causing it. Many people don’t realize that acid reflux is associated with chronic cough, but it can be, and it can be treated effectively by controlling the acid reflux with widely-used acid reflux treatments like Prilosec and Nexium.
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