Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"What is gastroesophageal reflux disease?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat is gastroesophageal reflux disease?


My husband has had a dry nagging cough for the past month and a half. The doctor has treated him for an infection and now he is taking medication to relieve stomach acid. So far neither medication has lessened the coughing. What other health conditions could be causing this cough?


Coughing is a very non specific symptom. It can be caused by many different things, which is why it is important to speak with a primary care doctor. It sounds like infection and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) have been considered. The common infections that can cause a cough are viruses that cause the common cold. These usually go away with time. Other infections are bacteria that can cause pneumonia, which is infection of the lung. Sinusitis is infection of the sinuses which can lead to post nasal drip, which can cause a chronic cough. It sounds like he has been treated with antibiotics without relief of his symptoms. GERD can definitely cause a dry cough. The acid can come up the esophagus and cause irritation to the larynx which can lead to a cough and a hoarse voice. Your husband could also experience a sour taste in his mouth. GERD is a very common condition. There are many medications which control stomach acid. It could be that he isn't on the correct one. Also, coffee, alcohol and spicy foods can increase GERD. Also, laying down after eating a meal also exacerbates the condition. Because his symptoms did not improve, he should visit his primary care doctor again to be reevaluated. His doctor may want to perform further studies or even imaging.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.