Neurogenic cough is a relatively new diagnosis and can be very challenging to diagnose and treat. Often, these patients have seen numerous physicians with little improvement in their symptoms. There are multiple terminologies for this disorder:
Sensory neuropathic cough
Irritable larynx syndrome or hypersensitive larynx
Cough hypersensitivity syndrome
However it is termed, this type of cough can be very annoying. It is often described as a “tickle” in the throat that will not resolve. Often, the cough is worse during the day but does not occur much once the patient falls asleep. This is quite opposite of a true infectious cough which tends to keep us up all night coughing.
Some other common features of neurogenic cough include:
Irritation in the throat or upper chest or lower throat. These patients tend to clear their throat a lot.
Cough triggered by non-tussive stimulus i.e. talking, laughing, singing
Increased cough sensitivity to inhaled stimuli and number of triggers. Cough can be caused by certain scents or perfumes
Coughing spasms that are difficult to control. These can lead to other problems such as incontinence or even abdominal wall hernias.
Common triggers for this type of cough include:
- Mechanical activation: singing, talking, laughing, or deep breath
- Changes in temperature: cold air, turning on the A/C in the car, or drinking cold liquids
- Odors: aerosols, scents, or that annoying perfume isle at the store
- Positions or activities: lying flat, eating, or exercising