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The link between acid reflux and coughing

The link between acid reflux and coughing

Understanding Acid Reflux

Before delving into the link between acid reflux and coughing, it's essential to grasp what acid reflux is. Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a common digestive disorder where stomach acid or bile irritates the food pipe lining. It's a condition that I, like many others, have had to deal with. It's characterized by a burning pain, known as heartburn, felt internally around the lower chest area. It happens when stomach acid flows back up into the food pipe.

Acid reflux can be a nuisance, disrupting your day and making meal times a chore. The symptoms can vary from person to person, but the most common include heartburn, regurgitation of food or sour liquid, difficulty swallowing, and feeling like you have a lump in your throat. However, there are also lesser-known symptoms of acid reflux, one of which is coughing.

How Acid Reflux Causes Coughing

So how does acid reflux cause coughing? Well, when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus, it can cause a range of symptoms. In some cases, that includes coughing. The link between acid reflux and coughing is not always immediately clear. However, it's believed that the acid irritates the throat, leading to a cough.

Personally, I have experienced coughing bouts due to acid reflux. It's a dry, persistent cough that usually gets worse at night. It's different from a typical cold or allergy-induced cough and can be quite disruptive, especially when trying to sleep. The cough is also often accompanied by other acid reflux symptoms, like heartburn or a sour taste in the mouth.

Coughing as a Symptom of Acid Reflux

Now, you might be wondering if a cough is a common symptom of acid reflux. The answer is yes and no. Though it's not as commonly recognized as heartburn or regurgitation, coughing can indeed be a symptom of acid reflux. But it's also a bit of a mystery. Sometimes, people with acid reflux may not experience any other symptom but a cough. This is known as silent reflux, and it can be particularly challenging to diagnose.

As someone who has experienced silent reflux, I can attest to how confusing it can be. Initially, I was unaware that my persistent cough was due to acid reflux. I had no heartburn, no sour taste in my mouth, nothing else to indicate that acid reflux was the culprit. Thankfully, a visit to the doctor and a few tests cleared things up.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing acid reflux as the cause of a persistent cough can be tricky. In my case, my doctor asked about my symptoms, did a physical exam, and ordered a few tests, including an endoscopy, to look at my esophagus. An endoscopy can help identify if stomach acid is flowing back into the esophagus and causing problems.

Treatment options for acid reflux-induced coughing are varied. They usually involve medications, lifestyle changes, or sometimes surgery. In my case, my doctor prescribed proton pump inhibitors to decrease the amount of acid my stomach produces. I also had to make some lifestyle changes, like avoiding certain foods and not eating too close to bedtime.

Living with Acid Reflux

Living with acid reflux is no walk in the park. Trust me, I've been there. The persistent coughing can be disruptive and frustrating. But it's important to remember that there are effective treatments available. Once you understand the link between acid reflux and coughing, you can take steps to manage your symptoms.

For me, managing my acid reflux has meant making several lifestyle changes. I've altered my diet, started exercising more regularly, and made sure to avoid eating too close to bedtime. And while it hasn't been easy, it's been worth it. My symptoms have significantly decreased, and my quality of life has improved.

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