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That Cough May Mean You Have Acid Reflux

Posted Aug 24 2008 1:49pm
Jim, GERD Patient: I developed a chronic cough and I'm talking about a really bad cough. I'd wake up in the morning and it would be so bad that I would sometimes vomit. For two years, I kind of wandered from specialist to specialist. We did all kinds of medical tests that were not doing anything to relieve the cough.

ANNOUNCER: Finally Jim was diagnosed with atypical gastro esophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

Jim, GERD Patient: The stomach acids were coming up and the stomach acids were going up the esophagus through the vocal cords, that the irritation in the vocal cords or whatever would make sense that, ultimately, that would cause an irritation which would cause a cough.

ANNOUNCER: A cough is not something people normally associate with GERD, but it turns out it's just one of many atypical symptoms

Anthony Starpoli, MD, Gastroenterologist: You can have sinusitis, cough, asthma and unexplained chest pain, laryngitis or hoarseness, throat burning. Thirty to forty percent of asthmatics actually have underlying reflux. Reflux is the third most common cause of cough.

Jim, GERD Patient: When it got really bad, I would end up with sore throat and I would lose my ability to actually speak, which, of course, is really bad when you're a teacher.

ANNOUNCER: And not all atypical GERD patients will experience the more common GERD symptoms like heartburn and a sour taste in the mouth

Anthony Starpoli, MD, Gastroenterologist: I would venture to say the majority of patients who have atypical symptoms of cough, of asthma and so forth infrequently will have classic heartburn, classic regurgitation.

Jim, GERD Patient: I wasn't complaining about anything in terms of my stomach being upset or anything else.

ANNOUNCER: After getting a proper diagnosis and treatment, Jim's feeling a whole lot better.

Jim, GERD Patient: The quality of life with not being constantly coughing, constantly with that irritation is just amazing.

ANNOUNCER: Thanks for joining us on today's Once Daily!

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