Complicated Link Between Cough and Reflux

MANCHESTER, England, Sept. 28 (UPI) — A British researcher says sound recordings helped link undiagnosed chronic coughs and reflux.

Lead author Jaclyn Smith of the University of Manchester in England says reflux is short for gastroesophageal reflux — the backing up, or reflux, of the stomach’s acid contents into the esophagus, sometimes associated with a burning sensation below where the ribs come together, known as heartburn.


The study, published in the journal Gastroenterology, used a new sound recording device to determine — irrespective of other diagnoses — coughing episodes are closely related to gastroesophageal reflux symptoms.

“This is the first study to investigate the temporal relationship between cough and reflux events using a validated sound recording device to register the precise timing and occurrence of actual cough sounds,” Smith says in a statement. “By using this novel approach, which helps prevent under-reporting of coughing occurrences, we are better able to identify how cough events and reflux events are linked to one another.”

Smith points out gastroesophageal reflux is — along with rhino-sinusitis and asthma — among the primary causes of chronic cough. A cough lasting more than eight weeks, says Smith, is the most common symptom for which patients seek medical attention and is estimated to affect 11 percent to 20 percent of the population.

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