Some people suffer from a mysterious chronic cough that lasts for more than 6 months and defies scientific explanation.
It even manages to dominate all the usual treatments to prevail.
Some of these people cough for a few months while others have a permanent cough for years with the frustration of not finding the issue to this problem.
What is chronic cough?
A cough is a nervous reflex triggered by an irritant in the upper respiratory tract and resulting in sudden expulsion of air from the lungs.
It can be dry or oily, causing bronchial sputum.
It becomes a chronic cough when it lasts longer than 3 weeks.
When it persists, it is difficult to heal because various triggers can generate it.
To successfully stem it, a full assessment is needed because drugs alone will not be able to stop it.
What are the possible causes of a chronic cough?
Chronic pulmonary cough
When linked to lung impairment, chronic cough can be caused by:
– a disease of the respiratory tract
– an infection like whooping cough or pneumonia
– a tumor including cancerous
– an autoimmune disease
– lung lesions
To determine the cause of a chronic pulmonary cough, a chest x-ray is required.
To this first step can be added a bronchoscopy, a chest scanner, a methacholine breath test, or the measurement of partially expired nitric oxide.
When the esophagus makes you cough
The esophagus connects the mouth and throat with the stomach.
The gastric reflux and any other damage to the esophagus can trigger a chronic cough due to irritation of the throat from excess mucus.
Keep in mind that a person with a chronic cough does not necessarily have other symptoms.
Thus, digestive disorders such as heartburn, throat irritation, nausea, or swallowing difficulties are not always present.
But when declared, they direct the diagnosis of cough to an esophageal problem.
The tests necessary to diagnose an irritative cough coming from the esophagus are:
– modified barium swallow (medical imaging done while the patient eats and drinks to assess swallowing problems)
– hour-by-hour multichannel intraluminal impedance test (PH monitoring to treat reflux)
– esophageal manometry (test of the contraction of the esophagus)
– saliva test
Nasal conditions and cough that won’t go away
Allergies, chronic sinusitis, vasomotor rhinitis, or non-allergic rhinitis can trigger a persistent chronic cough due to nasal secretions irritating the throat.
The diagnosis of these sino-nasal conditions is made by:
– a transnasal endoscopy
– allergy tests
– a sinus scanner
At the end of these tests, the patient is invited to try an antihistamine nasal spray to fight against allergy and ipratropium nasal spray to treat vasomotor rhinitis for which there is no diagnostic test.
Medication and constant cough
Certain classes of drugs are well known to cause chronic cough as a side effect.
– angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (heart failure)
– angiotensin receptor blockers (heart failure)
Can allergies cause coughing
Some people with chronic coughs eventually find that they are sensitive to certain foods.
And certain foods indeed are allergenic such as:
– dairy products
However, you should not confuse food allergy and food sensitivity.
Nerve damage and cough reflex
Chronic cough can also be the result of nerve damage affecting the nerve in the throat involved in the cough reflex.
Usually, the nerve senses the presence of any irritant to immediately trigger the expulsion of air from the lungs.
In the presence of nerve damage, it can become overactive and cause an unwanted and constant cough reflex.
When this cause is diagnosed, it is fairly straightforward to initiate medical treatment.
How to cure an incessant cough
All of these problems cause a persistent chronic cough.
Very often, multiple causes intersect in the diagnosis of this condition.
In this case, different treatments are offered and initiated to target each trigger.
To establish the precise diagnosis of a persistent cough, several specialists should be consulted:
– an ENT
– a gastroenterologist
– an allergist
– a pulmonologist
– a neurologist
Home remedies for cough
Steam inhalation for cough
Eucalyptus is a tree native to Australia.
Its leaves produce an essential oil that is very beneficial for treating sinusitis, colds, fever, and any respiratory ailment.
Eucalyptus contains cineole which gives it an expectorant property.
Thus, it soothes coughs while helping to evacuate secretions.
Cineole is an antioxidant and has antimicrobial properties that help strengthen the immune system.
Horehound leaf, a plant in the mint family, is a common ingredient in cough syrups.
It has expectorant properties very suitable for treating allergy, sinusitis, and pulmonary congestion.
Some people use this plant to make their homemade cough suppressant by finely chopping the leaves before dipping them in honey and alcohol.
You can also use white horehound capsules like this (#ad)
The roots of this plant contain several substances that are beneficial for the respiratory tract.
They increase blood flow to the lungs which in turn increases oxygenation to all of your organs.
Osha root is also a very effective natural antihistamine.
This plant is widely used to treat different ailments such as:
– sore throat
– the common cold
You can make osha root tea (#ad) to reap its benefits and soothe irritated airway tissue.
This plant has been used in Asia for millennia.
Ginseng is known for its antioxidant properties which are very effective in fighting inflammation.
It is not only useful for the lungs but has a beneficial influence on all organs.
It also improves the immune system.
Ginseng (#ad) is highly recommended for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Multiple studies have shown that for people with stabilized COPD, combining ginseng with their treatment significantly improves respiratory function.
Mullein or white broth is a plant used for respiratory diseases.
It has antibacterial properties that help fight against gram-positive and negative bacilli.
Some studies have even determined that it also has antiviral and antifungal properties.
It is great for treating colds and respiratory infections.
You can take mullein capsules like this (#ad) for all its benefits.
The best supplements for a persistent cough
Chronic cough is very often caused by a deficiency in calcium and magnesium which triggers tension in the larynx.
As surprising as it may sound, calcium is often recommended for treating cramps, but it also has its uses in calming throat spasms.
This combination of calcium and magnesium (#ad) is very beneficial when taken at bedtime which gradually reduces throat contractions, thus eliminating the cough.
Vitamin b12 deficiency causes sensory neuropathy which creates pharyngolaryngeal dysfunction and therefore chronic cough.
The recommended dosage is 10 micrograms per day for an adult.
Note that vitamin b12 methylcobalamin (#ad) overdose does not exist because it has no toxicity.
This amino acid is a powerful antioxidant that increases the natural production of glutathione.
It thins secretions very effectively, making breathing easier and soothing coughs.
The recommended dosage of NAC (#ad) is 600 to 1500mg per day in 3 divided doses.
How to stop coughing attacks?
It is not easy to find the exact cause of a persistent cough to be able to treat it.
It often remains unexplained for a long time before finding remedies to relieve it.
Whatever its origin, pulmonary, esophageal, or allergic, there are natural solutions to soothe it.
Chances are you’ll finally find a break by testing them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What disease can cause a chronic cough?
The major causes of chronic cough are upper airway cough syndrome (UACS), gastroesophageal reflux disease, and asthma.
It can also occur during bronchitis or bronchopneumopathy.
It is also often present in heart diseases and their treatment.
Which specialist to consult for a chronic cough?
As a general rule, a consultation with a pulmonologist is recommended in order to perform a respiratory assessment to establish a diagnosis.
It is also often useful to take the advice of an ENT for a complete examination.
Is chronic cough a symptom of Covid19?
Although dry cough is associated with Covid19 infection and can last quite a long time, the chronic cough does not set in after recovery.
Note that this dry cough from Covid very quickly turns into a wet cough with sputum and abundant mucus.
What is an irritating cough?
It is a dry cough resulting from irritation of the respiratory tract.
It results in a frequent cough linked to irritation.
The irritating cough can be very tiring and cause chest pain.
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