When stomach acid backs up (known as acid reflux) into the esophagus and is breathed in, it can cause coughing. Irritation from the acid reflux in the throat can also cause coughing.
Other symptoms of GERD, along with a persistent cough, can include:
- Chest pain
This pain usually starts behind the breastbone (the sternum), and may travel up to the throat. It usually occurs shortly after eating and can last from a few minutes to several hours. It is important to remember that sometimes the pain of a heart attack can be confused with the burning pain of GERD, and it is always important to seek medical attention if there is any doubt as to the origin of this chest pain.
- Hoarseness, especially in the morning
Irritation caused by refluxed stomach acid into the throat can lead to hoarseness.
- Difficulty swallowing
Trouble with swallowing (dysphagia) occurs when food does not pass normally from the mouth through the esophagus to the stomach. There may be a sensation of food sticking in the throat or a feeling of choking. Difficulty swallowing could be a sign of various conditions, including erosive esophagitis and esophageal cancer, and should always be evaluated by a physician.
- Bad breath
When acid from the stomach comes up into the throat and mouth, acrid-smelling, bad breath may result.
- Lifestyle Modifications for Controlling Acid Reflux
- Avoiding Foods That Can Trigger Acid Reflux
- Preventing Nighttime Acid Reflux
- Proton Pump Inhibitors for Controlling Acid Reflux
"Heartburn, Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER), and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)." NIH Publication No. 07–0882 May 2007. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)
"Information You Can Stomach -Understanding GERD." The American College of Gastroenterology