I have had an irritating (to me and everyone else) cough for a long time. I don't think I realized how long I'd had it for until I realized that I'd mentioned it to at least three different doctors - and I probably only go to the doctor once or twice a year - so my guestimate would be 8 or so years.
I've had a couple of chest x-rays that didn't show anything significant - and a few pats on the head and not much help. So, I assumed it was just something that you put up with and try to avoid things that make it worse (icecream was a big trigger). I also noticed that it didn't start as a cough, but more of a throat clearing "ahem" noise. I have done this for so many years that my children remember it from when they were at home and over the years it has subsequently progressed to a cough.
The point of this post isn't to complain about my cough, but rather it's to give some helpful advice to anyone else out there that has a nagging cough that doesn't seem to go away.
What happened was that after all this time, I went to a pharmacist a few weeks ago to buy some cough mixture to combat irritating coughs and she asked me if I had thought about reflux. I replied that of course I didn't have reflux because I don't have heartburn - and she told me about 'silent reflux' which gets called GERD in the US & GORD in Australia - because we spell oesophagus differently. Anyway......I went off and did what any midlifer would do and googled it. Lo and behold.....there were all my symptoms - along with the gravelly voice that I'd noticed on my morning walks! All due to a bit of stomach acid floating up and irritating my oesophagus.
The main problem was that the cure was to avoid all the foods I happen to like - dairy, citrus, caffeine and fatty foods (darn!) I have now cut my coffee back to two cups a day (after two days of headaches as my reward) and reduced all the other things as well. I also had a check up appointment with my new doctor and mentioned it to him - turns out 20% of the population has GORD and he is one of the 20%. So he obligingly prescribed me one capsule of a PPI to reduce the acid and irritation and after only a few weeks my cough is almost gone and I'm not coughing when I go to bed or when I'm driving etc. So this is my "miracle cure" story - nice to have one - and please share it with anyone you know who can't get rid of their cough. I'm still working on how to cure the headaches that plague me regularly, but that's another story. I'm also buying some thank you chocolates for that pharmacist who made a simple suggestion that (hopefully) continues to make my life more pleasant.