What is Acid reflux Cough?

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What is Acid reflux Cough?

Acid reflux Cough is one of the most common types of cough in adults. Acid Reflux is also known as GERD. 

GERD cough is a result of the reflux action of the body when contents of your stomach re-enter the food pipe upwards. Body makes this reflex action to ease the irritation of oesophagus muscles caused by acidic or non-acidic contents from stomach.

Acid reflux cough is very common and acid reflux is one of the top causes of cough after eating or drinking. If you have persistent cough after eating with or without phlegm and you cannot figure out why you are coughing, it is very likely ‘acid reflux cough’.



GERD cough is so common that experts say if a cough is persistent, there is 25% chance that it is due to acid reflux or GERD.

When you have acid reflux cough, you may see a doctor for a diagnosis of reflux cough. In some cases, you may also seek help from a nutritionist about foods that help acid reflux. You may want to avoid spicy and oily food to suppress acid reflux cough.

We may also see reflux in new-borns. Symptoms of reflux in babies cannot be ignored. Parents of new-borns must be aware of signs of reflux in babies.

New-born reflux causes difficult times for parents if they are not aware what GERD is. GERD in babies makes parents nervous about travel as they never know when the baby cries. Consulting a good paediatrician may help.

What causes acid reflux cough?

When you have a cough, it may be very helpful to know some common causes of cough.

Acid reflux cough is triggered when acidic or non-acidic contents of stomach re-enter esophagus or areas above esophagus. The semi-digested from the stomach irritates your throat when it re-enters food pipe. When your body notices this irritation, it responds with a cough to ease the irritation. This cough is called acid reflux cough.


A new-born can also suffer from acid reflux cough. However, new-born reflux can have its own causes and can be discussed in more detail with a pediatrician.  

Can children get acid reflux cough?

Yes children can get GERD. Usually GERD can cause acid reflux cough in children after 1 year of age and rarely in infants.

The main symptoms of GERD in babies include vomiting and refusing to eat. It may not be always easy to understand baby reflux symptoms and often, symptoms of reflux in babies go unnoticed.

When you see signs of reflux in babies, visiting a paediatrician can help to find out what helps treat acid reflux. Sometimes it is referred to as silent reflux in babies. 

Do I need to see a doctor for acid reflux cough treatment?

The acid reflux cough remains persistent unless a doctor treats it. Sometimes it may be difficult to diagnose GERD cough without a doctor’s help as it is not generally accompanied by any other related complaints such as heart burn.

If a patient has cough that cannot be explained by any other reason, doctors usually suspect GERD. A doctor’s medical advice will help you deal with Phlegm after Eating. So you must see a doctor for treating GERD.

How is acid reflux cough diagnosed?

Acid reflux Cough
Acid reflux Cough

GERD cough or acid reflux cough is not an easy one to diagnose. Common tests cannot detect GERD as it is not accompanied with heartburn etc.

There are a couple of special tests that doctors use to diagnose GERD.

One of the GERD tests is to put the patient on PPI (proton pump inhibitors) a medication for GERD for about 3 months and see if the GERD symptoms come down.

If PPI helps the person to treat GERD cough, then it is also the confirmation of GERD itself.

Popular GERD Tests
Popular GERD Tests

Another GERD test uses a 24 hour pH probe. This probe measures the pH of esophagus for a continuous period of 24 hours.

Based on how the pH varies, one can say whether the acidity in the esophagus is raised.

If acid reflux cough is the reason, then the acidic pH values confirm that.

It may be more difficult to diagnose silent reflux in babies. It is even more difficult to diagnose reflux in newborns.

Baby reflux symptoms may be difficult to figure out and may need a specialist to help you.

What are acid reflux cough risk factors in adults?

In adults, the risks factors for acid reflux cough include consumption of excessive amounts of foods that may cause acid reflux. Examples include alcohol, coffee, chocolate and fried foods.

Spicy foods and fatty foods are the common foods that cause acid reflux cough. Such foods contribute to GERD more than others.

Knowing what foods to avoid with acid reflux and taking them out of your diet helps treat acid reflux cough.

Thus, adults can see some relief from GERD or acid reflux cough by certain lifestyle changes.

It is important that you know the foods to avoid with acid reflux cough. These include consuming less alcohol, less spicy food and non-oily food as part of their diet.

Even if you like foods that cause acid reflux very much, eating less of acid reflux foods to avoid improves your condition. You can eat more of the foods that help acid reflux.

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9 thoughts on “What is Acid reflux Cough?”

  1. Hi there! I am so grateful that I found your blog on GERD. I really admire the dedication you put into offering the in depth information ON ACID REFLUX. I will definitely come back to your website for more. Keep up the good work.

  2. Acid reflux cough is quite common. Unfortunately many people ignore it and never get proper treatment. One can address GERD by avoiding spicy food and eating on time.

  3. I have been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like
    yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. I now know more about acid reflux cough and GERD.

  4. It’s fantastic that you have such great thoughts for this piece of writing on ‘What is Acid reflux Cough?’. It explains concepts like GERD and Acid Reflux in great detail in very easy to understand language.

  5. I must say you have high quality posts here on this website on cough after eating.
    Your pages and blog posts are great and easy to understand. The contents are very helpful and useful.

  6. Eating spicy food can really make acid reflux cough worse. Eating small meals low in spice is a good thing.

  7. I came to your Acid reflux Cough | Coughing After Eating page and noticed you have great content related to GERD and acid Reflux. Great blog posts and very helpful website.

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