Chronic Cough can often have many causes. A cough is a reflex that occurs when air, fluid, or mucus is attempted to be cleared from the body. A chronic cough can be caused from nasal congestion, allergy symptoms, and postnasal drip that irritate the throat. It can also stem from a variety of throat conditions where both infectious and/or inflammatory processes can occur. Gastroesophageal reflux (from the stomach) and laryngeal reflux (“silent reflux”) can also cause a chronic cough. Lung conditions can also be infectious, allergic, or inflammatory in nature can be an underlying source of a chronic cough and may need to be evaluated by a pulmonologist.
Often when a cough lingers, identifying the time frame in which it started and any aggravating or changing factors can also be very helpful in uncovering an underlying source. Any new changes in medications should also be ruled out as a chronic cough can also be a side effect of some potential classes of medications.
When presenting to an ENT, please provide a history of allergic or sinus conditions, throat complaints or lung issues to help further evaluate a cough. The provider may review or order imaging like x-rays or CT scans if indicated. Provide a list of medications that may have been used to improve your symptoms and whether they worked or did not provide any relief. A small fiberoptic camera (called a laryngoscope) may also be used to evaluate the nose and throat to look for potential causes for the cough.