ZocdocAnswersWhat is Cough Variant Asthma?

Question

What is Cough Variant Asthma?

I was diagnosed as a child as having asthma, and I did grow out of that in my teenage years. Now I'm having this long running dry cough that's almost impossible to get rid of. I read that this is sometimes a sign of 'cough variant asthma', even if you don't have other symptoms. What is cough variant asthma?

Answer

There can be several different causes of chronic cough and most of these should be evaluated medically! The doctors who will be well qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care doctor. 'Cough variant asthma' is a strong possibility in your case. This is a type of asthma that is less severe than others and manifests just as chronic coughing, rather than wheezing and shortness of breath. This is more likely in your case given the history of asthma, which perhaps did not go away completely but rather just got less severe. Cough variant asthma will respond to the same medications as regular asthma. Other causes of chronic cough include nasal allergies (allergic rhinitis) or chronic sinusitis. These cause persistent dripping of mucus down the back of the throat which leads to irritation and cough. Both will respond to nasal irrigation, nasal steroids, or antihistamines as determined by your doctor. Finally, sometimes chronic heartburn can present primarily as cough. This might be more likely if the cough comes after a heavy meal or high after you lie down at night. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular concern will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor is strongly recommended.

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

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