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Chronic cough questions

I have some specific questions regarding "chronic cough" and its true definition:

is coughing 5-7 times a day considered a "chronic cough", or is it normal  to cough a bit each day? Is there anything about a cough that make its more concerning, other than coughing blood? Example, productive versus non-productive? Are coughs that indicate serious disease always involuntary - you cannot suppress them if you try?

I had a cough that lasted about 5-6 weeks. Saw my doctor (a pulmonologist) and he treated with Asmanex and antibiotic. It seemed to have gone away, yet I have had for the subsequent 5 weeks post treatment, and have today, a "hypersensitivity" of the airways. I feel fairly constantly like I have a slight urge to cough, but the urge is not strong enough to actually produce a cough. Is that considered concerning? The urge seems to come from the top of my throat, that is where it feels it generates.

I am female, was an intermittent social smoker in my 20s - I am now 42. I have not had a cigarette in 10 years..I am concerned because my doctor has said I do not need a chest xray - so now, everytime I cough, I fear it indicates something ominous.
4 Responses
248663 tn?1198086695
Coughing on a daily basis is not normal.  There are many reasons for coughing to occur that are allergic, nonallergic and possibly infectious. It is possible that you had a viral illness weeks ago that has left your airways inflamed and caused these symptoms.  A chest x-ray may or may not add anything to making the diagnosis. A lung function test may be a better first test.
Avatar universal
If your lung function test is normal, ask your doctor to help evaluate your other possible causes of persistent cough.  As was written above, these include allergic & nonallergic.  The most common causes of chronic cough are an infection of some sort (viral or bacterial), gastric reflux, allergies and cough-variant asthma.  Of course, your airways can be irritated for a considerable time after your infection, but six weeks of daily coughing is a pretty long time and it would be worthwhile asking your doc to help eliminate other possible contributing causes to your cough.
Avatar universal
I too suffer from a "chronic cough".  I have had it about 1 year now, nearly daily but there are times when I go 1-2 days with only a mild cough at at time.

I am 47, grew up in a smokers house for 15 years, smoked heavily 15 years on my own, quit in 1991, haven't had one since, don't live with smokers.

Do live with a dog, a beagle whos sheds, but I had him for 1 1/2 years before this cough started.  

I have no chest pain associated with it unless it gets really irritated and I cough and cough and get tired/sore/bruised ???  

It's mildly productive, nothing in color to indicate infection.

I went to a pulmonary specialist who examined me, gave me a lung x-ray (negative) and a lung function test.  I came out 145% of normal for my age, height, weight.  The doctor joked with me that I needed to start smoking to bring my lung capacity back to the normal range.

He wanted to give me predisone for 2 weeks and then if that calmed the cough to continue with an oral medication, but I never filled the prescription for fear of the steroids, weight gain, puffy face sydrome and to be drug dependant.  He said he wanted to "rule out" other things, but I just didn't want to go there.

I try to rid my home of the allergins by cleaning more often, staying a distance from the dog, but I don't feel that is  the cause... gut feeling.

I can tell you that eating and drinking definately instigates a coughing episode which will last until I feel "satisfied" that whatever is stuck in there has come loose and out.  

sorry to be so graphic.

I live in fear of having lung cancer hiding in there - I understnand not all xrays can catch it, and of early copd which my mother had, but she smoked till she died and had emphasema, and always had shortness of breath, which I do not.

Any suggestion would be appreciated.
Avatar universal
If you want an answer from the National Jewish folks who moderate this forum, you'll have to post an original question.  I'm afraid it isn't enough to tag your question on as a comment to someone else's -- it doesn't appear that there is ever more than one response (& only to the initially posted question) from the moderators.  You may have to keep trying but eventually you may be able to get through to post your question.

I'd suggest you see another physician (your family doctor may be able to refer you to one, or you could try a good teaching hospital with a good allergy and pulmonary department).  It makes sense to want a diagnosis BEFORE agreeing to be treated with a course of oral steroids.  As you say, there are signficant side effects associated with oral steroids (greater based on higher & longer doses of course).

Have you ever been evaluated for allergies?  There are tests that can help pinpoint what (if anything) you may be allergic to.  Allergies are often a cause of chronic cough.

Good luck!
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