A chronic cough is a persistent symptom that can be more than just irritating. While it could occur due to a number of benign causes, it can often be the indicator of a serious problem. In either case, the reason should be investigated before embarking upon a treatment. So what could be the possible causes of a persistent cough? Let’s have a look.
Very often a cough could be an allergic reaction to some trigger. Allergic rhinitis, a sinus problem or other allergies could all trigger a cough. Typically this would be a recurrent and persistent cough that keeps recurring periodically. It could be one among several other symptoms. For instance with allergic rhinitis, there could be a runny or stuffed nose, itchy and watery eyes and other cold like symptoms. Postnasal drainage could be the reason for the cough and in that case it would be a productive cough as against a dry or non productive cough.
2. Esophageal reflex
A chronic cough could also occur due to the stomach contents or acids flowing backward and up into the food pipe. Such reflux could cause spasm of the airways and result in coughing. While many will have the accompanying sensations of heartburn, many may have only this dry cough symptom and may be unaware of having the condition. This could be a chronic condition as in the case of Gastro esophageal reflux disease.
One variant of asthma is cough variant asthma where the symptom could be a chronic dry cough rather than the usual wheezing, shortness of breath and so on.
4. Lung disease
Infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia may be at bottom of a chronic cough. Typically it is a type of pneumonia that could also have other symptoms such as shortness of breath, weakness and fatigue that could be causing the chronic cough. Whooping cough or pertussis could also cause a chronic cough.
A persistent cough could also sometimes be the symptom of a cancer or malignant condition. Chronic obstructive disease (COPD), congestive heart failure, or emphysema are other serious conditions that could be responsible in rare cases.
Sometimes the culprit for a persistent cough could be the medications that one is on. Certain high blood pressure medications are known to cause a cough.
6. Obstruction of the airways
In some rare cases some foreign particles lodged in the airways could be causing the cough. Particularly if it is a child who has a chronic cough, this angle should be investigated.