Cough and throat clearing

Whilst occasional coughing or throat clearing is natural, persistent and excessive coughing may warrant further examination. If you are experiencing frequent coughing, soreness in the throat, or hoarseness without displaying symptoms commonly associated with the common cold or influenza, it is plausible that stomach acid may be irritating your vocal cords, airways, or throat. It is recommended to seek professional evaluation from one of our specialists.

Please continue reading to comprehend the various origins of persistent coughing and throat clearing.

Related Symptoms

Causes of chronic cough and throat clearing

Persistent coughing and throat clearing may arise from complications in your digestive tract. Nonetheless, other conditions such as asthma could also instigate your symptoms. Please peruse the ensuing list to discern the potential causes correlated with your digestive system.

Acid Reflux

Rising stomach acid causes acid reflux. You may feel sharp discomfort in your chest or throat, or you may have ‘silent’ reflux (LPR) – which causes no chest symptoms.

Barrett’s Oesophagus

Compromised oesophageal lining can culminate in Barrett’s oesophagus, generally resulting from acid reflux.

Acid reflux is a principal symptom of Barrett’s oesophagus and may provoke inflammation in the throat, eventually leading to persistent coughing and throat clearing.

Signs of Barrett’s encompass the following :


Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) ensues from regular acid reflux, which is attributed to a weakened or relaxed sphincter. Individuals with increased vulnerability to GORD include those who are pregnant, overweight, or possess a hiatus hernia.

GORD exhibits similar indications to acid reflux, albeit with greater severity. Symptoms may include distension, eructation, halitosis, and oesophagitis. Heartburn, which is typically experienced more frequently than with acid reflux, is a prevalent manifestation amongst individuals diagnosed with GORD, often transpiring several times a week.


Eosinophilic oesophagitis (EoE), also referred to as oesophageal asthma, is an infrequent ailment causing chronic inflammation in the lining of the oesophagus, with the possibility of developing oesophageal strictures.

EoE could provoke symptoms like dysphagia, thoracic discomfort, and a sensation of food impeding your chest or progressing sluggishly down your oesophagus.

Swallowing Problems

Dysphagia, characterised by difficulties in swallowing, could cause irritation in your oesophagus, leading to persistent coughing or throat clearing. One possible cause of dysphagia is achalasia.

Dysphagia indications include regurgitation, mastication complications, and salivation.

Functional Cough and Throat Clearing

It is a condition that involves heightened sensitivity of the neural receptors in the throat, leading to an incessant urge to clear the throat. Though harmless, an accurate diagnosis and treatment could be acquired by consulting with an expert in the field.

Other causes include:


Upon initial consultation, we will meticulously inquire about the symptoms you are experiencing, their frequency, and the presence of any known triggers to establish the cause of your chronic cough and throat clearing. Subsequently, we will carry out several tests, the selection of which will depend on the underlying condition we suspect.

Some of the tests we may conduct are as follows:

To obtain a clearer view of your upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract and identify the cause of your symptoms, we may recommend an endoscopy.

If we suspect that your symptoms may be caused by a nasal allergy, we might advise you to undergo allergy testing.

Following the diagnosis of the underlying cause of your symptoms, we will suggest appropriate treatment options.


The recommended treatment for your cough and throat clearing will vary depending on the underlying cause. If a digestive issue is not suspected, we may refer you to another specialist such as an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) or respiratory doctor to rule out any potential lung conditions.

Home remedies for a cough and throat clearing include:

If the simple at-home remedies fail to alleviate your symptoms, we recommend scheduling an appointment with one of our specialists. Based on the severity of your condition, we may prescribe medications or recommend non-surgical or surgical procedures, such as Stretta therapy or endoscopic dilatation. Our recommendations will depend on the underlying cause of your symptoms.

Schedule an appointment

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