Acid reflux coughing: How to end it

Acid reflux is an extremely common problem for Americans and is often associated with heartburn, regurgitation, and other stomach discomforts, such as bloating or upper abdominal pain. One of the lesser known symptoms of this condition is acid reflux coughing or throat clearing. All acid reflux symptoms are caused by the same problem: the leaking of stomach contents into the esophagus. While common, acid reflux is not usually considered dangerous unless it is severe and left untreated. This is unlikely unless a diagnosis is difficult to obtain, which is often the case with a reflux associated cough.

When most people get a cough, they try to treat it with lozenges or other over-the-counter treatments. However, acid reflux coughing does not respond to these treatments because it does not have the same root cause as most other chronic coughs. Those who have a reflux related cough often do not present any other symptoms of reflux. This can make the condition frustrating for both a doctor and patient. An acid reflux cough is usually diagnosed with an endoscopic exam or a barium esophagogram which are both minimally invasive procedures. Doctors are beginning to realize the frequency of coughing associated with acid reflux, making it easier to diagnose and treat.

Fortunately, acid reflux coughing responds favorably to traditional reflux treatment. It is recommended that some dietary and lifestyle changes are made. Certain foods increase the frequency and severity of reflux symptoms including highly acidic foods (such as citrus fruits and tomato products), high-fat foods, fried foods, spicy foods, and chocolate. Caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco use can also aggravate this condition. In addition, overeating and eating too quickly can also make reflux symptoms worse.

In order to treat reflux, over-the-counter or prescription antacids are often recommended. It is important no to rely on these too frequently, as long-term use can actually disturb the natural balance of stomach acids and make reflux worse. Other prescription medications are available to treat reflux and help with damage caused to the esophagus. In rare cases, diet, lifestyle changes, and medications do not seem to help with reflux. In these cases, minimally invasive reflux surgery may be an option.

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