Dear Ask The Doctor: I often wake up at night with a cough attact, especially if I lie on my left side. It feels like a small dry spot in my throat then the coughing is uncontrollable.
Dear Patient: A Chronic cough is often defined as a cough that has been occuring for over 1month.Some physicians define it as a cough occuring over 2 months.
As an initial approach, it is important to rule out easily treatable causes. This includes smoking, pneumonia, bronchitis, post infectious cough, post inflammatory cough and medication side effects. It is also important to rule out life threatening causes such as tuberculosis and lung cancer.
If these are excluded by your physician, he or she will then focus on the most common causes of chronic coughing: postnasal drip, asthma and gastroesophageal reflux.
Fortunately, all of the above causes of coughing are treatable. I suggest you see your physician for an appropriate history and physical.