Posted by: -Me- | 2008/10/27


For the last about 7- 8 years I have this chronic cough, it feels like something between a tickle and my thought being pinched closed then the coughing starts, I have tried to link it with triggers like smoke dust etc but even laughing, yawning or nothing really triggers it. I have been to a pulmonologist and ENT, and both could not find the reason for it, the ENT told me that it is a nervous cough or a habit, which I can not accept as I cough even in my sleep when I am relaxing. My previous GP, said it is seeking attention which I felt like slapping him for. If that is the reason, why do I cough when I am alone. I have tried suppressing the cough but it also does not help, no cough mixture, lozenges or anything helps. This is really affecting my life as I deal with clients face to face and telephonically. Also the stares from people all around really gets to me. I do not have AIDS or TB, that I am sure of. Please give me your opinion/advise.

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Our expert says:
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Dear Me
Causes of a chronic cough usually are allergies, post nasal drip, medication ( like ACE inhibitor blood pressure medication) but it can also be due to acid reflux, asthma, thyroid masses, irritation of the tympanic membrane of the ear, heart failure or lung cancer. One should at least have a lung x/ray, a full ENT examination, a lung function test, a thyroid examination (sonar or scan if needed) and a gastroscopy to exclude reflux.
This is just a hunch but see what happens if you take an antiacid like Gaviscon 3-4 times per day?
One of my patients had a similar thing - a few hundred rands' tests later we discovered that he was allergic to milk - as soon as he stopped using it the cough subsided ( he is in his 70's and has been drinking milk all his life!) The Science of Medicine is never 100% clear and never fails to surprise you...
Dr Bets

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