What Causes Acid Reflux Cough

June 25, 2012

Coughing is considered as the body’s defense mechanism against foreign objects and excessive mucus or fluid from the body’s respiratory system. However, it was also found that chronic cough can also be due to acid reflux disease and almost one quarter of individuals suffering from chronic cough are also afflicted with GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease, thus experts came up with the term “acid reflux cough”.


GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease is a condition characterized by the regurgitation of the contents from the stomach to the esophagus. This condition is very common in children and is often associated with various respiratory disorders, such as aspiration pneumonia, reactive airway disease, choking, and spasms in the larynx, chronic coughing and apnea. In some cases, coughing can also be considered as one of acid reflux, GERD or heartburn symptoms.

Other Causes of Acid Reflux Cough

Acid reflux cough can be worsened by the consumption of certain types of foods like spicy or dry foods and chocolates. Some individuals suffering from acid reflux cough usually find worse symptoms even before consuming the food. The positioning of the body also plays a huge role in the exacerbation of the symptoms of the condition. Some individuals complain of increased coughing when sitting down, lying down or bending. Singing, laughing and even talking can also aggravate the coughing condition.

Stressful situations can also increase the symptoms of acid reflux disease, thus aggravating acid reflux cough as well. Individuals with acid reflux cough may find their condition diminished at night and will only resume the following morning. This is because the valve within the stomach is closed when asleep and only reopens as the individual wakes up, thus allowing stomach acid and contents from escaping towards the esophagus. Experts also believe that the condition is due to the inhalation of acidic contents from the stomach to the lungs that leads to irritation. Increased sensitivity of the cough receptors that are located in the esophagus were identified as one of the causes of acid reflux cough as well.


In case you are suffering from chronic cough for more than eight weeks, it would be necessary to consult the physician for proper diagnosis of the condition. You might be asked to go through x-ray exams and in case the result do not show any serious conditions behind it, then it is possible that acid reflux cough is due to acid reflux disease or asthma. Acid reflux cough, however, can be treated using prokinetic therapy. This procedure involves the use of certain drugs that helps promote gastric emptying.

Drug therapy, on the other hand, should be done on a long-term basis to achieve success for the treatment of the condition. In case these medications failed to provide relief, invasive surgical procedures might be suggested for the treatment. Patients can also try some natural acid reflux cures for the management of the condition, but this should be done only after consulting a physician.

3 Responses to What Causes Acid Reflux Cough

  1. Pingback: Causes and Treatments for Severe Acid Reflux | HeartburnBay.com

  2. Lulu says:

    I had pneumonia before experiencing all these symptoms. I am also asthmatic. It could also be GERD?

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