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What causes chronic cough?

Chronic Cough is the diagnosis you would receive for a cough that persists for 8 weeks or longer. It can indicate a serious condition and can have a big impact on your life. If you have a cough that keeps you up at night, your sleep is impacted; if you cough during the day, talking with friends, family and coworkers your social life and work will be impacted.

Chronic Cough may also cause:

  • Diszziness or fainting
  • Chest soreness and discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Frustration and anxiousness
  • Sleep loss
  • Urine Leakage

Chronic Cough Specialists at UT Health Austin

Our gastrointestinal and esophageal specialists can help discover the cause of your chronic cough. They may perform some diagnostic tests to diagnose the cause of your cough. Test may include:

  • Acid reflux screening to measure the amount of acid in your esophagus.
  • Using a small, lighted tube called an Endoscope to look inside your esophagus, stomach and small intestine.
  • Pulmonary function test to see how your lungs are functioning and to measure how much air you breathe out.
  • X-rays or CT scans to see if you may have a more serious condition such as pneumonia or cancer causing the cough.

Managing Chronic Cough

If your cough lasts more than three weeks, make sure to see your doctor. Until a diagnosis and treatment plan are in place, these tips may help manage symptoms.

  • Drink lots of water and fluids. This will help loosen and thin out mucus. Warm tea and broth can also help soothe your throat.
  • If you have acid reflux, avoid eating 2-3 hours before bedtime. Remember not to overeat.
  • Use a cool mist humidifier to moisten the air or steam from a hot shower to breathe in the steam.
  • Keep a supply of cough lozenges on hand.
  • Stop smoking – your doctor may be able to help you with resources to assist you.

About the Heartburn and Esophageal Disorders Center

The UT Health Austin Heartburn and Esophageal Disorders Center has assembled a team of experts that includes a gastroenterologist, surgeons, and associate providers, imaging experts, a dietitian and social workers. This team enables us to provide the right care for the right patient at the right time. For some patients, nonsurgical interventions such as lifestyle modifications and medications can help improve symptoms of reflux, while surgery may be the best course of action for others. Whatever your needs, our team is here to listen and work with you to develop a treatment plan that is right for you.