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About Chronic Cough

Newly Recognized Cough Hypersensitivity and its Role in
Refractory  Chronic Cough or Unexplained Chronic Cough

What Is Chronic Cough?

Chronic cough is a persistent cough that lasts more than eight weeks. The cough is commonly a symptom of an underlying medical condition(s). It is imperative to identify the condition or multiple conditions that are causing the cough. Common contributing conditions include: rhino-sinusitis, asthma, GERD, other inflammatory lung conditions. 

Elderly woman in black clothing, suffering from chronic cough.

Chronic cough may be a separate disease state referred to as Refractory Chronic Cough or Unexplained Chronic Cough caused by cough hypersensitivity.

Refractory Chronic Cough is a chronic cough that persists despite identification and adequate treatment of underlying condition(s).  Unexplained Chronic Cough is a chronic cough with no underlying etiology identified, despite a thorough workup. 


Cough can perform a valuable function for life.  But a cough that is due to cough hypersensitivity  is not useful, and often disrupts and debilitates the quality of your life.  Chronic cough due to a cough hypersensitivity reflex can be safely, effectively, and sustainably relieved or resolved.  Center for Cough will be your advocate and partner in achieving this peace and quiet. 


Elderly man suffering from chronic cough while outdoors.

Why Do Some Cough And Others Do Not?

Two happy elderly people, one man and one woman, enjoying their day without chronic cough

People with Refractory Chronic Cough or Unexplained Chronic Cough can be hardwired to cough.  In medical lingo, people who are hardwired to cough may have hypersensitive cough reflex or neurogenic cough.  This means that the nerve endings at the back of the throat and chest are overly sensitive.  When these nerve endings are ignited by triggers including allergies, viral infections, environmental irritants, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), and lung inflammation, then the already sensitive nerve endings are fired up and result in cough. 

What are the steps leading-up to a cough?

People with chronic cough usually experience a throat tickle in the back of the throat or upper chest which can feel like itching, burning, or tingling.  This produces an urge to cough often with  throat clearing in order to clear that feeling of something stuck.  Once coughing begins it produces more coughing and can lead to uncontrollable cough bouts accompanied by gagging, urinary incontinence, or dizziness.   Dr. Mandel Sher says of this cough cycle:  "If you stop the tickle, you stop the cough."

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