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Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Forum
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Avatar universal

GERD and chronic cough

Have had cough since Sept. 2001.  Dr. prescribed antibiotics and allergy medications.  Works for short time but cough returns.  Referred to ENT who examined me for three minutes and diagnosed GERD.  Wants to schedule a 24-hr pH monitoring when his secretary gets off vacation.  Didn't prescribe anything!  Had waited three weeks for appointment now feel frustrated.  Is he really qualified to dx gerd or should I see my gastro. physician?  Why didn't he prescribe something to relieve this cough at least?  Help.  Can't sleep at all and am incontinent during coughing spells.  Very embarrassed and have been made to feel ashamed for asking for cough syrup.
8 Responses
Avatar universal
ENT's are very qualified to diagnose GERD. Afterall, ear, nose, throat are there subjects. I'm confused as to why he didn't give you anything....Hmmm  At any rate, perhaps you should make an appt. with your GI and get a second opinion. Also, if you are incontinent during coughing spells, you should see a urologist if you aren't already. Don't be ashamed!!!

Jenn
Avatar universal
Since it will probably take a month or two to get an appointment with my GI, what do you suggest I do about this cough?  I wake up all hours of the night and am getting to be a real grouch.  Should I see a GP until my GI appointment?  Is there something wrong with taking codiclear for a few months?  It's the only thing that stops the nighttime hacking.  How can a Uri. help with the wetting when it is caused by the severe coughing.  I am 52 years old and so very tired.
Avatar universal
hey I am 18 years old and have the same problem as you. Ive had gastric reflux for 10 yrs and just this past year the coughing spells started. Very intense, couldnt sleep in a lot of pain. For about 6 or 7 months the doctors were convinced i had asthma and i was suffering from chronic ashmetic broncitis. I was diagnosed with this about 6 or 7 times each time put on the highest narcotic cough suppresant, the largest dose of albuteral, nebulizer treatments, like 2000 mg of antibiotics a day, and tons of steriods like cortizone all the time. but i never improved so finally the doctors sent me to a specialist who discovered after looking at me and my history for all of five minutes that the coughing was due to my GERD what was happening was I was assperating into my broncial tubes and causing me A Lot of breathing distress so bad that i was wheezing and had to be rushed 911 to the hospital. so its not something you just want to sit around and deal with and ignore its dangerous it couldve easily asperatee into my lungs and given me pnomonia. Im now on Asthmacourt, which is a inhaled steriod which keeps the swelling in my brocial tubes down, that new stoamch med for gerd i cant remember the same rigght now, from the makers of prilosic, oh i got it nexium i think thats it, and im closly monitered by my GI doc and so far i havent had any spells for a good 2 or 3 months.
Avatar universal
I would seek out another Gastro doc if you can't get in to see yours for a few weeks. (An ENT specialist is most definitely not the route to take.) When you call to make an appt, tell them how much pain you're in and how much you cough, and they should be able to "sqeeze" you in.

My GERD went undiagnosed for years because my gyno kept telling me I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome. (When you're a 35-year-old female doctors tend to ignore you thinking that it's hormonal or something!) Then, when I started having sharp chest pain and frequent coughing episodes,  I finally decided to seek help elsewhere and was diagnosed with a severe case of GERD. And, because I waited so long to get treatment, I have esophagitis, which is no picnic!

So - long story short - GO SEE A GASTRO DOC ASAP!!

Good luck!!!
Avatar universal
Called my Gastro physician.  His first appointment isn't until June 25th.  I'll try someone new.  Thanks for the advice.  I feel like crying all the time!
Avatar universal
Important thing first. Bladder incontinence is "NOT" normal no matter how much or how hard you cough, laugh, sneeze, etc, etc. Remember that! I know this because I work in this field. You need to make an appt. with a urologist. This is their department.



What is Urinary Incontinence?

It's escape of urine from the bladder without being able to control it. It is NOT normal in any age group older than toddlers, and is usually a symptom of an underlying problem.

How Common is it?

23% of Australians over 10 years of age will have a problem with urinary incontinence. One in two Australians over 75 years of age report urinary incontinence problems. It is more common in women and older people.

Warning Signs of Urinary Incontinence Problems

Leakage or urine regardless of amount, when you cough, sneeze, laugh, stand or walk
An urgent need to pass urine, unable to hold on
Passing small amounts frequently and consistently, over eight times per day in small amounts
Having to get up several times overnight to pass urine
Bed wetting over the age of five years
A sense that the bladder is not empty once urine has been passed
Difficulty in maintaining a steady stream of urine - stops and starts
What Are The Causes?

There are specific types of urinary incontinence with several possible causes. Some people may have more than one type. Types include:

Urge Incontinence
This is the sensation of needing to go to the toilet very quickly with the sudden loss of urine. This urge is due to overactive contractions of the bladder. Common causes of urge incontinence include:

Ageing process - the most common cause of incontinence in older people.
Urinary tract infections
Long history of poor bladder habits
Conditions such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, enlarged prostate
Constipation
Anxiety
the 'urge syndrome' which particularly affects girls of primary school age
Stress Incontinence
This is the leakage of urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing or exercising.
It is the most common cause of urinary incontinence in women. Common causes include:

Pregnancy and vaginal childbirth.
Hormonal changes which occur with breastfeeding and after menopause.
In men, as a result of prostate surgery.
Overflow Incontinence
This occurs when the bladder is unable to empty completely due to an outlet obstruction or weakened bladder muscle. Common causes include:

Enlarged prostate
Urethral stricture
Spinal injury or disorder
Functional Incontinence
Inability to identify a toilet, or inability to get there. Common causes:

Loss of memory
Poor mobility

Other factors which may increase urinary incontinence

Obesity
Constipation
General Posture
Certain Medications
Anxiety
Urinary Infections



What Can I Do If I Have a Problem?

You can seek help from your doctor who may offer treatment directly or refer you to a specialist, or a qualified continence advisor.

You can also practice some good bladder habits:

Try to drink at least 1.5 litres (6-8 cups) of fluid per day unless advised otherwise by your doctor. Some people with incontinence limit their fluid intake; this is not a good practice as it may reduce bladder storage capacity and make the incontinence worse
Limit the amount of alcohol and caffeine (coffee, cola, tea) you drink as they increase urine production
Take time when emptying your bladder making sure you empty the bladder completely. For females this should be in the seated position
Try to only go to the toilet when you feel the urge and your bladder is full. Don't be in the habit of going 'just in case' as this may result in the bladder developing a smaller capacity
Keep bowels regular and avoid constipation. Continual straining when using your bowels may weaken muscles around the bladder
Regular pelvic floor exercises help keep tone in pelvic floor muscles
Lose excess weight as this creates extra load on pelvic floor muscles  



Also, yes, you should definitely make an appt. with your GP to discuss ALL of the above asap! Don't let your symptoms go, nor let them lead you to believe that they are the cause of one or the other!

-Jennifer
Avatar universal
I agree with everything the others said. I'm going to do a "cut & paste" of some GASTRIC REFLUX TIPS (without acid blockers) that may stop your coughing, because these tips often stop (or greatly lessen) the GERD!

If your coughing is entirely due to GERD, these tips may fix the coughing problem. If there are ADDITIONAL FACTORS, causing your coughing, use the GERD tips, and find the OTHER COUGHING CAUSES:

Read my website, about VCD/vocal Cord Dysfunction, at http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com  especially page 5, which might give you ideas about other (additional) causes of your coughing!

*************************************************************

Some GASTRIC REFLUX TIPS (without acid blockers):

GER=Gastro-Esophageal Reflux. (Gastro=stomach. Esophagus=food tube.)

LPR= Laryngeal-Pharyngeal Reflux. (Larynx=voice box, containing the 2 vocal cords. Pharynx=throat, above the larynx. The larynx is above the trachea/windpipe.)

Reflux=acidic or alkaline stomach material that backs up into the esophagus (food tube), causing any of these problems: VCD/Vocal Cord Dysfunction/Laryngospasm attacks, cough, voice problems, asthma, globus (feeling of lump in throat), constant need to clear throat, worsening of sinus condition, sore throat, pre-cancerous conditions of throat &/or esophagus, etc.

SOME GER/LPR CONTROL THINGS WE DO, that we learned from the excellent book: STOMACH AILMENTS AND DIGESTIVE DISTURBANCES, by Michael T. Murray, N.D. See page 9, References, in my website: http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com   and, also see GER/LPR info on page 5, and on LINKS page.

PLEASE READ THIS GREAT BOOK. It may possibly be bought on-line, from Michael T. Murray
Avatar universal
I'm 9 months pregnant, and have had a severe case of GERD throughout pregnancy.  I believe that the acid has been aspirating in my lungs -- this is my big problem -- because often my lungs are burning and I am having asthma symptoms.  In addition, I have a chronic cough -- sometimes it is dry and sometimes it is productive.  

I took over-the-counter antacids for a while but have just been put on Zantac 2 weeks ago.  If this continues after I deliver the baby, I'll go on one of the stronger proton pump inhibitor drugs.

Is there anyone out there who has had a productive cough with GERD?  I heard that GERD coughs are usually dry, but that if the acid is going into the lungs it can be a productive cough.

Thanks for any insights.

Kate
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