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Chronic Cough

Coughing repeatedly over a prolonged period of time e.g. longer than 2 weeks, should be checked out thoroughly by both the respiratory (Chest) and ENT specialists, even if you have never smoked before in your life. If there is no apparent cause in lower airways and lungs for the chronic cough, then a flexible nasoendoscopy is usually performed by the ENT specialist to examine the voicebox, throat and upper airways. Often, it may just be the lingering effects of a nasty bout of flu.

Sometimes, a postnasal drip of secretions from the nose due to allergy or infection, may fall onto and irritate the voicebox, leading to the chronic cough. Acid reflux issues from the stomach (gastro-oesophageal reflux) may also lead to the upwards flow of acid to cause inflammation of the voicebox and hence a chronic cough, which tends to be worse at night when lying down in bed. Medications are prescribed to target these sources of the chronic cough.

Chronic cough may sometimes be due to growths or lumps on the voicebox or throat.  Cancerous tumours may rarely present in this manner, together with other symptoms such as hoarse voice or shortness of breath. Early detection and diagnosis is key to achieving more effective treatment.