Chronic Cough and its Usual Causes: Asthma, Chronic Rhinitis and Postnasal Drip, and GERD.

Chronic Cough has many causes and at Atlanta ENT we treat the usual reasons for one’s cough.   Here is a quick overview of three common causes of chronic cough:  Asthma, Chronic Rhinitis and Postnasal Drip, and GERD.

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the lungs.   During an asthma flair up, the airways are irritated and narrow, causes wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness or a persistent, dry cough.  Diagnosing asthma requires a visit with a specialist, and will typically involve breathing tests like spirometry and exhaled nitric-oxide measurements.

Chronic Rhinitis and Post Nasal Drip

Post nasal drip is the discharge of mucus from inflamed and swollen nasal membranes.    Symptoms include itchy throat, a bad taste in the mouth or the feeling like something is caught in the throat.   Postnasal drip is a very common side effect of allergic rhinitis or sinusitis.   Identification of possible allergies and treatment of allergy symptoms, and treatment of sinusitis if present, is essential to treat cough caused by post nasal drip.

GERD

Medical professionals typically refer to acid reflux as GERD.   While most people think of heartburn as the main symptom of GERD, three of four patients with GERD will suffer from a chronic cough, with or without heartburn symptoms.  GERD is best treated with a combination of lifestyle changes, dietary changes and medication.

Ramie Tritt, M.D., President, Atlanta ENT