Cough Q & A

What causes a chronic cough?

Many chronic coughs are due to asthma or allergies, but those that aren't are often due to a condition called atypical gastroesophageal reflux


or GERD. Typical GERD manifests with heartburn and acid reflux, but atypical GERD often goes undiagnosed because it causes different symptoms, including a chronic cough.

What are the less common symptoms of GERD?

Atypical symptoms of GERD include:

  • Non-cardiac chest pain
  • Chronic ENT symptoms, like sore throat
  • Chronic cough
  • Morning hoarseness

In fact, as many as 60% of people with GERD don't experience classic reflux symptoms, so people with a chronic cough need to rule out GERD as a potential cause.

Why should patients see an ENT for a chronic cough and GERD?

Dr. Astrachan and Dr. Hecht have extensive experience using the tools that diagnose GERD. They're also able to treat the complications common with GERD, like throat inflammation, ulcers of the esophagus, and chronic cough.

How is GERD diagnosed?

GERD is diagnosed based off symptoms and a trial of GERD medication. Sometimes imaging tests, like an endoscopic examination, are used to determine if GERD is causing of the symptoms.

How is GERD treated?

For patients with GERD, Dr. Astrachan and Dr. Hecht prescribe antacid medications to control acid in the stomach and esophagus. Patients also lessen their symptoms by avoiding foods known to trigger acid reflux. Surgical procedures to tighten the lower esophagus and prevent acid reflux can also be quite effective. Losing weight and quitting smoking also help. Working with Dr. Astrachan or Dr. Hecht, who have extensive understanding of GERD and its ramifications, increases a patient's chances of finding an effective solution.

What complications are possible with GERD?

Patients with GERD need to find a solution because this particular condition can cause a number of complications, especially of the esophagus, throat, and nose. These include:

  • Damage to the esophageal lining
  • Precancerous lesions
  • Chronic ongoing cough

To prevent these complications and put a stop to chronic cough problems, make an appointment with Ear Nose and Throat Specialists of Connecticut today.

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