Chronic cough or a persistent feeling of irritation in the throat is recommended to be investigated. Often a lung, throat, larynx abnormality or a neurological disorder is the cause of the cough.
WHAT IS COUGH?
Cough can manifest itself as a persistent sensation of irritation in the throat. When this becomes chronic (longer than 4 weeks) and examination by a pulmonologist or ENT doctor can not reveal an underlying lung problem or demonstrable throat-or laryngeal abnormalities, this is probably maintained by a neurological cause. The stimulus feeling does not go away when coughing. On the contrary, it leads to coughing again. This becomes a vicious circle. This entity is called "neuropathic coughing".
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES?
Coughing can be caused by a wide range of causes. Often cough is caused by underlying abnormalities:
Throat or larynx defect
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS?
Smoking is one of the most important risk factors for chronic cough. Second-hand smoking can also lead to coughing and damage to the lungs. Women generally have more sensitive cough reflexes than men, so they are more likely to develop a long-term cough.
HOW ABOUT THE EXAMINATION?
The voice organ and its function are examined by an ENT doctor and a speech therapist. The voice has 3 functions: breathing, protecting the airway while swallowing and speaking. Every person is dependent on these 3 functions every moment of the day.
In addition to a thorough survey and a clinical examination of the neck, an inspection of the vocal cords (laryngoscopy) takes place at rest and during vocalization. This is supplemented by a stroboscopy, research in which through short flashes of light, the vibration pattern of the vocal cords is delayed and thus displayed in more detail.
For 'Neuropathic cough' several drugs exist to get out of this vicious circle. Medication should gradually be increased to the effect (decrease of the stimulus that provokes coughing). The lowest effective dose should then be taken for some time (minimum 1 month). Afterwards, the medication should also be gradually phased out.