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Morning Cough

If you find yourself waking up in the morning with intense bouts of coughing, you should probably visit a doctor and for a careful diagnosis of the condition. Read on to learn more about morning coughs.
Rahul Thadani
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Many people find themselves regularly waking up to an early morning cough that does not seem to go away. This should not be a cause for panic in most cases as it is quite a common occurrence. The intensity of the cough will of course depend on the severity of the condition, but all-in-all it just lasts for a few minutes after waking up in the morning. What is important though is to ascertain the cause and take preventive measures.
A change in lifestyle habits and some other measures can prevent the occurrence of this cough. However, if the problem persists or appears to worsen over time it is probably better to go visit a doctor. He will determine what the exact cause of your cough is. Ignoring this condition for a long time can be a risky move for you though, as it may signify the presence of an illness that will only get more severe over time.
Causes of Dry Cough in Morning
Smoking
This is perhaps the singular most common reason for a daily morning cough. The number of people smoking around the world amounts to hundreds of millions, and eventually this habit takes a toll on their bodies. The most prominent sign of tobacco poisoning is a chronic cough in the morning. As a smoker gets older, this problem and other effects of smoking get more and more intense, and show up more and more frequently. In extreme cases, smoking even results in coughing blood in the morning.
Asthma
Asthma is a genetic disease that affects a person since birth. There are many drugs and medications that are useful in controlling the symptoms of asthma. However, with a persistent morning cough there is usually not much that a patient can do. There are inhalers available in the market that an asthmatic person uses to get relief, but the effectiveness of these inhalers is subject to a lot of debate. In most cases they only provide temporary relief.
Post Nasal Drainage
Now here is a cause that can affect just about anybody in their sleep. It is simply out of the control of the individual involved and not much can be done about it. The consolatory fact is that the cough vanishes by itself after a few minutes. What basically happens is that the mucus in the sinuses slowly drains backwards into the back areas of the throat, and thus causes a lot of irritation there. Since the mucus travels backwards, this condition gets magnified when the person lies down, and therefore experiences cough after waking up in the morning.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
This is a condition that causes chronic cough in the morning in many people. The eruption of acid reflux comes fairly unexpectedly, and there are not many signs that point towards its emergence. But once it arrives, it is hard to chase away, and constantly causes a morning cough. Due to this disease, also known to cause heartburn, the various stomach acids regurgitate into the esophagus. This results in extreme irritation in the throat, and many cases of morning cough are traced back to the presence of this condition. It is a fairly difficult condition to diagnose though, as coughing can be a symptom of many diseases.
Medication
Many medications like ACE inhibitors which are used to treat hypertension can cause dry cough, which in turn may lead to chronic cough in the morning. It is a very common side effect of ACE inhibitors. If you observe any such side effects while you are under medication for hypertension then discuss it with your doctor. Change in medication or brand may help.
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
First sign of COPD is daily morning cough. This lung disease is associated with conditions like chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Where chronic bronchitis is the over-growth of mucus glands resulting in the narrowing of airways, emphysema is the destruction of functional lung tissue which results in less intake of oxygen. Even masks used for the treatment of COPD may result in dry cough. Use of humidifier with the COPD mask may be helpful.
Lack of Fluid
Lack of fluid may result in dry mucus and will not help in the production of more mucus. So you need to drink a lot of water in order to maintain the fluid balance in your body. The humidity level of the room in which you sleep should also be high. This will keep your airways moist and will reduce coughing.
Coughing is such a common symptom and is caused by so many different conditions, that to accurately ascertain and diagnose its exact cause is something that takes some time and careful observation. Visiting a doctor to diagnose a persistent cough in the mornings is a good idea as it may help in the diagnosis of a serious condition at a fairly early state. Failure to do so may increase the seriousness of the condition in the future.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.