If you have a chronic cough, you know that it’s beyond annoying. A chronic cough can be painful, disrupt your sleep, deplete your energy, and affect the lives of the people around you. When it’s severe, chronic coughing can cause you to vomit, feel dizzy, lose control of your bladder, and even crack or break ribs. At BodaHealth, we understand how uncomfortable and disrupting nonstop coughing can be!
Coughing is a normal protective reflex to help clear your lungs. However, when your cough lasts for two months or longer (one month for children), it’s considered to be chronic. To make things worse, your cough may come with other symptoms, including:
- Postnasal drip, which is mucous in the back of your throat
- Nasal congestion
- A sore throat
- Frequent throat clearing
- Feeling short of breath, wheezing
- Indigestion, heartburn, or a sour taste in your mouth
- Coughing up blood (uncommon)
There are a number of possible causes for your cough, which often makes it difficult to pin down its underlying cause. In many cases, more than one factor is responsible, making a clear diagnosis a little more difficult. Some common causes of chronic cough include:
- Asthma. This is a condition in which your airways become constricted causing shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. Asthma symptoms can be set off by allergies, specific triggers, or a recent illness. Cough-variant asthma is a kind of asthma in which your only symptom is a cough.
- Postnasal drip. Your nose and sinuses produce mucous. When there’s too much mucous, it can drip down the back of your throat causing irritation and cough. Upper airway cough syndrome (UACS) occurs when postnasal drainage causes a long-lasting cough.
- Upper respiratory infections. Frequently, a chronic cough is a lingering symptom of flu, a cold, pneumonia, or bronchitis that has for the most part resolved. In addition, whooping cough, fungal infections, tuberculosis, or other lung infections can be the source of a chronic cough.
- GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease). Often overlooked in cases of chronic cough, GERD occurs when stomach acid flows back into your esophagus, causing irritation and a chronic cough. Your coughing can actually aggravate the symptoms of GERD, causing a vicious cycle.
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). COPD is a condition that encompasses chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and other inflammatory lung conditions. It can cause a chronic cough, shortness of breath, and ultimately damage the air sacs in your lungs.
- ACE Inhibitors. These are a class of drugs used to lower your blood pressure. A well-known and common side-effect of ACE Inhibitors is a chronic cough.
Treating Your Chronic Cough at BodaHealth
Because there are a number of causes for chronic coughing, the first priority for treating it is to understand the underlying cause. Then, your practitioner will develop a plan for your care, incorporating therapies that include acupuncture, herbal medicine, naturopathy, and nutritional strategies. Depending on the underlying cause of your cough, here are some of the ways in which we will help you:
Acupuncture may be used to promote healing from a respiratory infection, boost your immunity, and reduce production of phlegm. A great deal of attention will be focused on your digestion, because phlegm is often produced by poor digestion and improper diet. GERD or heartburn can also be effectively addressed through acupuncture treatments.
At BodaHealth, Chinese herbs may be used to enhance acupuncture treatments. Herbs can decrease phlegm production, reduce nasal congestion, support your digestion, and suppress your cough. Researchers have found that Chinese herbal medicine can be a safe and effective way to relieve the symptoms of post infection cough.
Our naturopathic physicians have a number of healing strategies for treating patients with chronic cough. They may recommend vitamins, supplements, or herbs to build up immunity, strengthen digestion, and reduce mucous production. They may also recommend nasal irrigation, probiotics, and diet and lifestyle changes. In addition, naturopathic physicians are able to order lab tests and prescribe medications when necessary.
Nutritional therapy may also be a part of your treatment plan. Our practitioners are able to assess your diet and make clear recommendations that can help reduce phlegm production, treat GERD, enhance your overall digestion, and support a balanced immune function.
Please don’t let your chronic cough continue to disrupt your life and that of your loved ones. At BodaHealth, our practitioners are experienced, compassionate, and committed to providing the best natural health care possible. If you’re ready to take care of your chronic cough once and for all, we’re ready to help. Give us a call today to find out how.