What causes hoarseness and coughing?

Are you feeling as though there’s someone else living in your throat because of how raspy your voice has been lately? Or maybe that persistent cough is starting to bring out unsolicited opinions from random strangers around you. Well, no need to worry! This article will help give you a better understanding of what causes such discomfort.

First things first; what is hoarseness and coughing?

Before we dive into the depths of why these symptoms arise, let’s get an overview. Hoarseness is characterized by a rough or harsh voice often resulting from inflammation or irritation on the vocal cords. On the other hand, our friendly neighborhood cough can be described as sudden expulsions of air from the lungs through the mouth which helps to clear phlegm/mucus or foreign particles causing irritation.

So now that we know what it entails let’s check out some potential suspects:

Suspect #1: Acid Reflux

Did you ever think acid reflux could be more than just something we associate with overeating? Yeah right! Turns out when stomach acid backs up into our esophagus instead of staying where it belongs – like Gremlins becoming Mogwai fed after midnight- leading cause for hoarseness amongst adults specifically women, says Dr.Aina Puce (pronounced ‘poo-chay’, yeah I admit I chuckled too)! A side effect could eventually lead to an annoying chronic cough due to postnasal drip syndrome.

Acid reflux

“My throat burns so good!”, said acid indigestion- obviously here was another one who didn’t have enough fiber”

How Can You Fix It?

Sometimes changes in lifestyle might help alleviate symptoms (you heard me- no pill popping yet!). Avoiding meals late in the evening, not eating 2-3 hours before sleep or changing to a healthier diet consisting of less spicy food items might just do the trick. If all fails, yup – your physician’s waiting room is where you head next.

Suspect #2: Allergies

Oh boy! Don’t we love enjoying nature by pacing around and sneezing while cursing pollen? Somehow related but not limited to, allergies and asthma become one more reason for coughs and hoarseness. An allergy occurs when our immune system overreacts or becomes hypersensitive to any foreign substance, be it dust mites, pets (yeah those cute furry things too!) seasonal changes like ragweed or springtime flowers etc.

How Can You Fix It?

The best thing one can do is avoid fall prey leaving us prone to possible allergens if possible. Over-the-counter medications also come in handy providing short term relief from symptoms such as antihistamines. Inhalers carry medicines that improve breathing patterns if there are underlying asthmatic issues present.

Suspect #3: Laryngitis

One needs only practice belting out their favorite Taylor Swift songs on high notes before they understand what larynx means (she does put up an infectious heart rate doesn’t she?). But jokes aside Laryngitis happens due to inflammation of our vocal cords which causes hoarseness, temporary loss/slight disturbance in voice ranging from a few days up until weeks at times while causing irritation along with dry cough due;

  • Vocal cord structure undergoing strain
  • Dry air/moisture levels plummeting
  • Excessive use of voice i.e teachers/lecturers/comedians


“Any ideas which strings one has to pull to get their voice back?”, asked “larry”ngitis wondering if he had a lost cause”

How Can You Fix It?

Simple breathing exercises along with keeping yourself hydrated does the trick here. Refrain from smoking, avoiding caffeine/alcohol since they have dehydrating effects can aid too (wasn’t that obvious anyway?). OTC medicines like throat lozenges and humidifiers for the room contributing extra moisture also come in handy.

Suspect #4: Common Cold

Catching up on missed conversations during winter’s cold months seem impossible without an itchy scratchy sore throat. Colds are viral infections caused by over 200 viruses aka rhinoviruses commonly known as upper respiratory tract infections (URTI).They make our mucous membranes become swollen leading to us catching colds or coughing fits.

“Sometimes hide and seek is all you need…but unfortunately, I am not playing I just decided to show up unannounced”, said the common flu virus named Rhonda – Yeah who knows why we anthropomorphize these things?”

How Can You Fix It?

It would be nice if there was a cure for the common cold but instead we’re left focusing on treating symptoms such as;

  • Getting plenty of fluids
  • Throat Lozenges
  • Hot tea/chicken soup

taking care of ourselves whilst resting doesn’t hurt either!

Suspect #5: Smoking

Not even better-to-sniff oxymoronic cigarette brands stop being questionable choices huh? A pack-a-day smoker typically witnesses hoarseness causing lungs becoming unable to efficiently evacuate phlegm/mucus because continuous smoke exposure leads towards weakening lung capacity trying its best clearing off irritants triggering chronic cough plus excess mucus build-up.

“I think I’m definitely ‘fired’ now!”, commented poor old secondhand smoke sensing he might be best to let her go

How Can You Fix It?

I don’t think it would come as a surprise if I said – quit smoking. Shift towards habits that aren’t harmful like chewing gum, keeping yourself distracted through hobbies. However, this is easier said than done (no sh$% Sherlock!) If you’re struggling with tobacco addiction there’s always medical help waiting at the other end.

Suspect #6: Vocal Cord Lesions

Vocal cord lesions are non-cancerous growths upon vocal cords usually resulting from;
+ Growth of polyp- blister like clusters stemming due to continuous vocal strain
+ Cyst-solid formations caused by fluid buildup and inflammation
+ Nodules (similar to callus which grows due to friction causing irritation)

“Nodules? More like no-duh-I-need-to-stop-my-stressors”, comments Jim hitting himself on his forehead”

How Can You Fix It?

Professional evaluation (think ENT, otolaryngologist specialized in ear/nose/throat diagnosis), assessment via voice therapy, rehabilitation and medication prescribed accordingly recognized only best courses of action based on necessary build-up type discovered.


In Conclusion

Here we are concluding our case seen downing all six suspects one after the other. But jokes aside hoarseness and coughing can range from symptoms exhibited due to common cold issues felt during winter months or something severe needing extended treatment under a professional medical advisor’s examination integrating individual needs individually tailored medicines for bringing forth better quality life respectively.

In cases experienced exhibiting sudden onset coupled with high fever any unexplainable behavior change rush ahead seeking prompt doctor intervention since prolonged periods whilst suffering before going do more harm than good so take solace in taking care of oneself responsibly.

Hope this helped take away some question marks and let you enjoy the sound (and taste) of that sip of good ol’ grandma’s honey tea.

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