5

votes

Small chronic cough

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 30, 2011 at 5:20 AM

For as long as I can remember (since I was a kid) I've had a chronic small cough. None of my doctors have ever been able to figure it out (my naturopath told me it resulted from 'the mother suppressing the child's voice' which is the best explanation I've gotten). It's sort of like clearing my throat and I do it all the time. It feels like something's in my throat and it builds up, it's a slight anxious feeling, and just doesn't stop. Like my throat's getting full and hot and it sort of goes down into the top of my chest. It's not a serious or overwhelming feeling but I have to cough to get rid of it, and it just comes right back. I can go a couple minutes, maybe up to five or ten (if I consciously don't do it) without coughing. Paleo hasn't helped. It gets in the way of talking on the phone (I've had people bring it up before), job interviews (I work with kids)- I always have to say I have allergies. I know it's not necessarily related to eating paleo but I figured someone here might be able to shed some light. Thanks.

[EDIT]: This may be related- I drink a LOT of water. Like 9 liters a day. If I don't have my water or I get low I freeeeak out. I'm constantly drinking. I got tested for diabetes a while back because excessive thirst is one of the symptoms and I don't have it. I don't get overly thirsty but I am drinking all the time because I want my water. I figure my body wants what it wants.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on April 02, 2011
at 03:37 AM

Thanks Ed. I will look into that.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on April 02, 2011
at 03:36 AM

Thank you David! I will check out the Gokhale method.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on April 01, 2011
at 06:13 AM

What was wrong, Lee?

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on March 30, 2011
at 07:21 PM

Thanks for sharing Steph. Sounds like it could be allergies after all!

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:57 PM

Thanks for the extra info Danielle. Guess it's probably not dairy, but could still be some food allergy, or an atmospheric/environmental one, as people have just suggested in other answers. Good luck.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:37 PM

Danielle- my sister is a naturopath, so I've tried some alternative stuff. None of it worked. But my experience is limited on that front, and it rarely has side effects. I wish I knew more about pharmacology, so I could see better if the ENT guy's meds had any systemic effects or were generally quite safe. Regardless, this definitely prompts me to make another visit to his office.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on March 30, 2011
at 11:03 AM

I've done neti pot type flushes before, it helps when I'm congested but doesn't do anything about the cough. I will go see an ear nose and throat doctor, thank you for the suggestion. Have you had any success with natural medicines or just western? I'm generally pretty anti-pharmaceuticals. I never liked milk much growing up, I eat some dairy here and there, I don't cook with it, just if I go out (some gorgonzola in a salad etc).

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 30, 2011
at 07:27 AM

Hmmm ... Well I guess I could at least try the Neti pot once. It was even recommended to me by a Doctor of Medicine, so there's that at least. Glad to hear you're skeptical of my anti-vegetable stance.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 30, 2011
at 07:05 AM

Veggie flavor with minimal fiber, huh. I'll be interested to see your results. While I haven't tried the Neti pot, I'm envisioning a "lavage" type effect (akin to washing out an area of soft tissue during orthopedic surgery) that might persist after stopping because the chronic inflammation depends on itself to persist (to a degree) as opposed to acute inflammation.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:43 AM

I think the neti pot is one of those quick fix thingamabobs that doesn't address the underlying cause. I've read of people with chronic nasal inflammation/congestion who have tried this and have enjoyed a release from their problems -- but only a temporary release. The congestion eventually comes back. Anyhow the idea of it I find a little creepy.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:41 AM

Yes, I mean no butter. Check out my blog for details. Come to think of it the OP might benefit from dairy elimination, because she has probably been eating dairy her whole life. Maybe Danielle can tell us if she's tried this.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:09 AM

Have you tried the (in)famous neti pot? I'd be down for trying some dairy elimination. Unless you mean all dairy, including butter. You don't mean no butter, do you? Do you????

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:04 AM

I often have a cough like this also, but it comes and goes, and I only have it when I'm feeling down. I basically figured out that it's from sinus inflammation, from the dripping down (and inflammation in the rest of the airways, including the pharynx-throat stuff, just makes you more likely to cough from it). But I think you're right that if it's been chronic from birth then it's probably not just something like what I have. (Which I think might be finally annihilated with some dairy elimination (currently trying).)

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8 Answers

2
3e4137db41c7ed90efc5cdc15bafb7fd

on April 01, 2011
at 11:32 AM

Registered just to respond to this. This is perhaps unexpected, but I had this problem and it was greatly improved by fixing my bad posture. Because my shoulders and neck were constantly rolled forward, I believe my airways were compressed unnaturally and contributed to congestion in my lungs. I don't know any of the science behind this and I wasn't fixing my posture to address this problem, but after fixing my posture I noticed a general improvement in my breathing and my lungs finally "cleared".

I follow the Gokhale method -- http://egwellness.com/ -- and cannot recommend this technique highly enough. For me, it did for posture what Paleo does for diet and Crossfit does for exercise.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on April 02, 2011
at 03:36 AM

Thank you David! I will check out the Gokhale method.

1
6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on April 01, 2011
at 06:39 PM

Others have already brought up possible medical explanations, including allergies, vocal cord inflammation, GERD and post-nasal drip--all excellent suggestions. I agree that seeing an otolaryngologist is a good idea.

If your ENT workup is negative, you may have something called "simple vocal tic." This is more common in children, but can also occur in adults. Treatment can either be behavioral, medical, or both. Behavioral techniques used for tics include behavior modification, biofeedback, hypnosis or neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). Medications used for tics are listed here.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on April 02, 2011
at 03:37 AM

Thanks Ed. I will look into that.

1
922038b6c0ca6a051cc4858218931456

(392)

on March 30, 2011
at 12:30 PM

My voice teacher in high school referred me to an ENT doc due to my chronic coughing which was more of a throat clearing as you described it and was interefering with my singing/college auditions.

Got scoped. Turned out it was due to allergies. Also had a slight amount of GERD at the time which was adding to it.

I ended up with an Rx for allergy meds that I took as needed for about a year. When I went off to college, without being on meds, the problem seemed to clear itself up until one summer I was working at a summer camp and my allergies were exceptionally bad. The previous summer I'd had no troubles.

I haven't been on meds for it since the initial diagnosis and I only notice myself doing it if the pollen count is really high and I've been outside a lot.

I'd definitely recommend seeing an ENT and being scoped.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on March 30, 2011
at 07:21 PM

Thanks for sharing Steph. Sounds like it could be allergies after all!

1
50694393921b35a158fb2a1257b0a5b6

on March 30, 2011
at 11:23 AM

I had the same thing. I believe mine was food allergy related because when I started paleo it went away. I am taking an allergy test soon though just to be sure. Last Thanksgiving I ate normally again for about three weeks and the cough returned.

1
21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:46 AM

I have the same thing. Maybe you should go see an Ear Nose Throat doctor. Specifically, a laryngologist.

If you haven't seen one before, this is what they do. They do a physical exam, then snake a camera into your vocal folds. Chances are, they will see some swelling. There is medication you can take to reduce the swelling and reduce the need to cough or clear your throat. It may interupt a cycle that has been going on a long time.

I never took the medication because I thought "hey...paleo should fix this..right??". But there is a lot outside of paleo. Thanks for reminding me, this may be a good time to revisit the issue!

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on March 30, 2011
at 11:03 AM

I've done neti pot type flushes before, it helps when I'm congested but doesn't do anything about the cough. I will go see an ear nose and throat doctor, thank you for the suggestion. Have you had any success with natural medicines or just western? I'm generally pretty anti-pharmaceuticals. I never liked milk much growing up, I eat some dairy here and there, I don't cook with it, just if I go out (some gorgonzola in a salad etc).

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:09 AM

Have you tried the (in)famous neti pot? I'd be down for trying some dairy elimination. Unless you mean all dairy, including butter. You don't mean no butter, do you? Do you????

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:41 AM

Yes, I mean no butter. Check out my blog for details. Come to think of it the OP might benefit from dairy elimination, because she has probably been eating dairy her whole life. Maybe Danielle can tell us if she's tried this.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:43 AM

I think the neti pot is one of those quick fix thingamabobs that doesn't address the underlying cause. I've read of people with chronic nasal inflammation/congestion who have tried this and have enjoyed a release from their problems -- but only a temporary release. The congestion eventually comes back. Anyhow the idea of it I find a little creepy.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 30, 2011
at 07:05 AM

Veggie flavor with minimal fiber, huh. I'll be interested to see your results. While I haven't tried the Neti pot, I'm envisioning a "lavage" type effect (akin to washing out an area of soft tissue during orthopedic surgery) that might persist after stopping because the chronic inflammation depends on itself to persist (to a degree) as opposed to acute inflammation.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:57 PM

Thanks for the extra info Danielle. Guess it's probably not dairy, but could still be some food allergy, or an atmospheric/environmental one, as people have just suggested in other answers. Good luck.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 30, 2011
at 07:27 AM

Hmmm ... Well I guess I could at least try the Neti pot once. It was even recommended to me by a Doctor of Medicine, so there's that at least. Glad to hear you're skeptical of my anti-vegetable stance.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on March 30, 2011
at 03:37 PM

Danielle- my sister is a naturopath, so I've tried some alternative stuff. None of it worked. But my experience is limited on that front, and it rarely has side effects. I wish I knew more about pharmacology, so I could see better if the ENT guy's meds had any systemic effects or were generally quite safe. Regardless, this definitely prompts me to make another visit to his office.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 30, 2011
at 06:04 AM

I often have a cough like this also, but it comes and goes, and I only have it when I'm feeling down. I basically figured out that it's from sinus inflammation, from the dripping down (and inflammation in the rest of the airways, including the pharynx-throat stuff, just makes you more likely to cough from it). But I think you're right that if it's been chronic from birth then it's probably not just something like what I have. (Which I think might be finally annihilated with some dairy elimination (currently trying).)

0
B498ee33d50016fa6f0170590288ddfb

on April 27, 2013
at 05:42 AM

From a clinical perspective and the discriptions given... Have you considered you may have mojor anxiety or OCD issues? 9 liters of water is borderline excessive (I really would be interested to see your chem profiles). The ENT would be a start but I would also look at a psychosomatic perspective.

0
82b41641d10adb4abc9f093d5f2c8c6c

on October 29, 2012
at 11:48 AM

Wheat/ gluten & dairy sensitivities ( from overexposure) not exactly aleergies... cause millions of people to have inflammation of Mucous membranes & all digestive tract. Causing "throat clearing, coughing brain fog, fatigue Aching joints etc. Eliminate All wheat gluten dairy for a week... You'll see!## Heading ##

0
39a1a0bc7855c084ac59df60fdf9c0dd

(1505)

on April 01, 2011
at 04:18 AM

Mine was fixed by a pulmonologist.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on April 01, 2011
at 06:13 AM

What was wrong, Lee?

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