Cough, throat clearing, postnasal drip and the sensation of a lump in the throat are manifestations of inflammation of the voice box or larynx.
Cough is one of the top ten symptoms that brings patients to the doctor’s office. When present more than a month it is considered chronic, since long-acting inflammatory compounds called leukotrienes are elevated. More than simply an annoyance, a lingering cough can disrupt your sleep and affect your work. It may be accompanied by other symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, runny nose, congestion and heartburn. If your accompanied by fever, excessive phlegm production or blood; fails to improve after your other symptoms have disappeared; interferes with your daily activities or sleep; or you have difficulty breathing, call your doctor for an appointment.
Causes of a Cough
Cough is like a threshold with multiple causes in a single patient. Common causes include:
- Acid Reflux from the stomach to the throat (may be silent)
- Pertussis or whooping cough, mycoplasma infections
- Vigorous coughing and throat clearing can make inflammation worse
- Medications that contain angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) such as Lisinopril
- Sinusitis or postnasal drip
- Obstructive sleep apnea makes reflux worse and chronic snoring rubs and irritates throat tissues
- Rarely tumors or cancers
Treated with multiple medicines, with a high success rate. Typical medications include antibiotics to treat infections, a long-acting steroid shot, medicine to reduce stomach acid, and potent cough suppressants that may include tramadol, amitriptyline, or gabapentin. This combination has helped many people who have coughed for years. Home remedies incorporating lifestyle changes – quitting smoking or adjusting your diet to eliminate foods that trigger acid reflux, for instance – can also be effective.