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Could a hard, gagging cough be GERD
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Could a hard, gagging cough be GERD

For about 6 months last year and now for the past 4 or 5 months, I've had a forceful, persistant, gagging, hacking cough that normally is not productive. When there is a little phlegm, it's clear.  The coughing ALWAYS starts after I eat, but sometimes it starts between meals and I almost NEVER cough when lying down at night to sleep. I've tried to determine if it's a food allergy but I cough no matter what I eat....fruit, veggies, candy, bread, meat....I can't find any difference.   A cough drop will stop the cough quickly.

I've been checked  by an ENT for cancer, TB, had chest x-ray...nothing.  What's my next step?  Could this be GERD ? I don't seem to have any other symptoms other than the feeling that there's always a grain of rice or something small in my throat that causes the tickle that starts the cough.   A preliminary allergy test didn't have any positive reactions.  

What's the most logical next specialty to visit?  I'm sooo tired of the cough and it really sounds nasty to others when I'm in public.

Thanks
Darlene
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi Darlene,
If the cough is due to GERD it will worsen after lying down. Since you have said that you never cough after lying down, the possibility of GERD is only remote.
But GERD cannot be completely ruled out by this as - if you lie down to sleep after 2-3 hours after your food, you might not cough due to GERD even if it is present.
A 24 hours pH monitoring might show whether reflux is present or not.

Coughing after eating indicates that you are aspirating the food particles in to your lungs.
One of the GI causes for this is presense of Zenker's diverticulum.It is a pouch like thing in the food pipe just below the throat. Food particles get collected which later get aspirated to cause cough.
You need to undergo upper GI endoscopy to look for Zenker's diverticulum.
You need to consult your gastroenterologist.
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The information provided is for patients’ education only and is not a medical advice. Always consult your personal physician for complete evaluation of your health problem.

- Ratnakar Kini M.D.
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