Chronic Cough

Did you know that 11-16% of the population suffer from chronic cough and this effects their physical, psychosocial, and social aspects of their overall health?

Coughing is important and helps protect the body, it helps you clear your throat and lungs and can even prevent infection. But sometimes a cough can become chronic and repeated coughing has a number of negative side effects. This then creates a vicious cycle. Once you have coughed, you will often feel the need to take a big breath and cough again. By doing this you are effectively “feeding” the cough as each big breath further irritates the lungs and throat and stimulates a cough.

Negative side effects of a chronic cough include:

  • Redness and swelling around the voice box and upper airway
  • Increasing thickened secretions around the voice box
  • Persistent coughing can impact on quality of life with disruption of sleep and breathing patterns, urinary incontinence (stress), hernias and back pain.

So, what causes chronic cough?

Some causes include: asthma or other breathing problems, allergies or sinus problems that cause “dripping” down the back of your throat, acid reflux (stomach acid that rises into the throat), colds, bronchitis, laryngeal sensitivity, and certain medications.

How we can help

Speech Pathology can help your cough:
  • by helping increase conscious control over your cough
  • by learning how to reduce irritation that triggers coughing
  • education and therapy on breathing techniques and
  • teaching you ways to keep your vocal folds healthy. 

Our Speech Pathologists work closely with you and your doctors to develop a treatment approach which will often include behavioural and medical intervention. By identifying the underlying cause, developing a comprehensive treatment plan, and providing support/counselling, we can help individuals improve their quality of life and effectively manage their chronic cough.

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