Health

Ask a doctor, “Why do I keep coughing at night?”

When it comes to sleep disorders, things can’t get much worse dreaded nighttime cough.

If coughing keeps you awake at night, you’re probably frustrated and tired and wondering how to stop the cough.

Dr. Daniel Landau, a board-certified physician in South Carolina and an employee of the Mesothelioma Center, suffers from a persistent nighttime cough himself.

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He shared with Fox News Digital some common reasons for the condition.

Reasons for nighttime cough

According to experts, many different factors can contribute to nighttime coughing.

Man coughs

According to experts, many different factors can contribute to the occurrence of a nighttime cough. One told Fox News Digital: “Sometimes the problem is as simple as gravity.” (iStock)

“Sometimes the problem is as simple as gravity,” Landau said. “When we sit upright, we tend to retain substances in our stomach. When we lie down, acid can enter the esophagus.”

In this case, the acid can irritate the vocal cords and larynx and cause coughing.

“Sometimes it’s something as simple as sleeping or taking something upright acid-suppressing drugs can help with that,” said Landua.

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Postnasal drip is also more likely to occur at night.

“During the day, when we sit upright and bend forward, most of the drops move forward,” the doctor explained.

“However, when we lie down, it drips down our throat and can cause coughing at night.”

Woman has a sore throat

A certain form of asthma can cause coughing at night, a doctor has found. (iStock)

There is also one form of asthmaknown as cough asthma, which Landua says tends to occur more often at night.

“Diagnosing it can be challenging, but treating asthma can help,” he said.

Colds and allergies can also contribute to nighttime coughs.

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Although less common, nighttime coughs can be an early sign of certain cancers — particularly those affecting the lungs or head and neck area, Landua noted.

“While we definitely don’t want people to assume that nighttime coughing is a sign of cancer, in the right context it may need to be considered,” he told Fox News Digital.

Woman coughing in bed

Although it’s less common, nighttime coughing can be an early sign of certain cancers – especially those affecting the lungs or head and neck area. (iStock)

Another cancer that can occur due to persistent coughing is mesothelioma, which affects the tissue lining the lungs, stomach, heart, and other organs.

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“Someone who is known to be exposed to asbestos has a much higher risk of developing mesothelioma than someone who is not,” he said.

“A persistent cough in someone with such stress would have to be considered.”

Treatment and prevention of nighttime cough

According to Dr. Dr. Raj Dasgupta, chief medical advisor at Sleepopolis in California, says it’s important to stay hydrated to keep coughs at bay, as it keeps the airways moist and helps loosen mucus.

Adding moisture to the air with a humidifier or a steamy shower can help loosen mucus and calm the respiratory tract, the doctor added.

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“You can also support yourself with additional pillows to elevate your head and help with postnasal drip and acid reflux,” Dasgupta said.

Honey can also help prevent coughs and soothe sore throats, he noted.

Over-the-counter remedies “Antihistamines or cough suppressants can provide relief, but it is important to discuss the cough with your doctor if it is severe,” advises Dasgupta.

Heart doctor

If a nighttime cough persists for more than three weeks or is accompanied by other worrisome symptoms such as fever, chest pain or difficulty breathing, it is definitely time to contact your doctor for individual advice, a doctor advises. (iStock)

To prevent coughing in the first place, he suggested looking for triggers like animal hair or dust bunnies.

“Stay hydrated, keep your sleep environment tidy, and try.” Treat any allergies,” he added.

When to see a doctor

If a nighttime cough persists for more than three weeks or is accompanied by other worrisome symptoms such as fever, chest pain or difficulty breathing, “it is definitely time to contact your doctor for personalized advice,” Dasgupta said .

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“Do not forget it regular check-ups Talk to your doctor to make sure there are no other events causing a bothersome nighttime cough.”

For more health articles, see www.foxnews.com/health.

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