ZocdocAnswersWhy do I cough when I cry or laugh?

Question

Why do I cough when I cry or laugh?

When I cry I cough and get a headache. I cough often after laughing hard.

Answer

Most of the time it is quite normal for laughing or crying to provoke some coughing. This is because many of the same nerve fibers that are involved in the actions of crying or laughing are also involved in the coughing reflex. Therefore, it is possible that these actions could "spill over" into a cough. If, on the other hand, this may be a sign of a more serious problem that needs to be checked out, especially if the cough is persistent (even when you are not laughing for example), or if it leads to symptoms, like feeling short of breath or winded. For example, asthma is a common cause of chronic cough, and the cough may be exacerbated by other things, such as a laughing fit. If you have a chronic or persistent cough, you should definitely get that checked out by your primary care doctor. They will be able to perform a complete physical exam and help you decide whether you need additional testing or treatment. Even if you do not have this level of cough, you should still discuss this issue with your primary care doctor to be safe.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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