Can Acid Reflux Cause a Cough?

Acid reflux is an indication of gastro esophageal reflux disease. While many people experience acid reflux occasionally, you develop it into a serious problem which becomes persistent or chronic when the occurrence is at least thrice in a week.

People suffering from acid reflux often show symptoms of severe health problems over a period of time. The common symptom of acid reflux is burning sensation in the chest. The others include pain in lower abdomen and stomach cramps. A few adults experience the symptoms without heartburn with additional signs. These other symptoms include a chronic cough, difficulty in swallowing, wheezing and belching.

Can Acid Reflux Cause A Cough?

Can Acid Reflux Cause A Cough?

Acid reflux is a constant element of persistent coughing. In fact, according to the school of medicine, the University of North Carolina, around 25 percent of all the cases of a chronic cough occurs due to acid reflux. People suffering from persistent coughing due to gastro esophageal reflux disease do not show the signs of the classic symptom, which is the heartburn.

The occurrence of a chronic cough is due to acid reflux of non-acidic contents produced in the stomach.

The following clues will be helpful in determining whether a chronic cough is due to acid reflux:

  • Coughing after a meal or mostly at night
  • Coughing while lying down after eating a meal
  • Persistent coughing could also be a side effect due to medicines or when shared causes are absent such as smoking

Diagnosing Acid Reflux

Acid reflux can be a painful procedure to diagnose in people who are suffering from a chronic cough. It is because asthma and postnasal drip also cause a chronic cough. It is the upper endoscopy or EGD that gives an in-depth evaluation of the symptoms.

Other tests include 24-hour pH probe, where it monitors the pH levels in the esophagus tube. It is a useful test for people suffering from a chronic cough caused due to acid reflux. Another test, MII-pH is capable of detecting non-acidic reflux as well. Selection of an examination depends on the symptoms experienced by the individual. The physician will decide the best testing procedure to evaluate acid reflux and chronic cough relationship.

The other ways to test the presence is by using proton pump inhibitors. It is a type of medication with the doctor uses it for certain period to see if the symptoms resolved. If the symptoms reduce with the use of proton pump inhibitors, then the persistent cough is due to acid reflux.

Treatment for Acid Reflux

Proton pump inhibitor medications are available in the pharmacy as over the counter medication. However, if you are suffering from a high degree of a persistent cough, it is preferable to approach a doctor. The reason could be due to other factors, and he or she will be in a position to suggest a better treatment that will help in curing acid reflux that is causing a persistent cough.

Additional symptoms of acid reflux include:

What are the Risk Factors for Acid Reflux?

You are only increasing the risk factor of acid reflux by the following conditions:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Caffeine beverages
  • Chocolate
  • Garlic
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Spicy foods increases the risk of acid reflux
  • Fried and fatty foods
  • Citrus fruits and vegetables.

What are the Recommended Lifestyle Changes for Acid Reflux?

Making lifestyle changes will be enough to reduce acid reflux and the persistent cough. It includes:

  • Avoiding foods that worsen acid reflux symptoms is a good lifestyle change.
  • Eating smaller meals than larger ones
  • Losing weight
  • Quit smoking and alcohol abuse
  • Wearing loose fitting clothes
  • Including exercises
  • Avoiding lying down immediately after a meal.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 4, 2018

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