Allergy Physicians specialized in treating and testing adults and children.

Allergy Physicians specialized in treating and testing adults and children.

Allergy Physicians specialized in treating and testing adults and children.Allergy Physicians specialized in treating and testing adults and children.Allergy Physicians specialized in treating and testing adults and children.

Possible Causes of Chronic Cough

There are many possible causes of cough. Most of the possible causes of cough can be grouped into four main categories:


  1. Both asthma and bronchitis can cause cough. Breathing tests can help rule out asthma but breathing tests are often normal with bronchitis. Neither of these conditions shows up on a chest x-ray. However, other chest conditions can show up on chest x-ray. Therefore, we frequently order a chest x-ray to evaluate chronic cough.
  2. Nasal and sinus conditions can also cause cough. Therefore, we sometimes order sinus x-rays or initially just a trial of nasal or sinus medication.
  3. GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease) or LPR (Laryngo-Pharyngeal Reflux) can also trigger chronic cough. If there is no sign or symptoms of nasal, sinus, or chest condition, we sometimes prescribe a trial of medicine to treat possible GERD or LPR. 
  4. Lastly, cough may persist as a result of a learned habit.  This is not an intentional behavior but rather a habit over which the individual has no sense of control. This cough is sometimes responsive to behavior modification therapy or suggestive therapy.


Authored by Robert Settipane, MD