Causes of morning cough in adults

Some adults, for one reason or another, experience a strong cough in the morning, causing serious inconvenience. And in many cases, this phenomenon is considered normal and does not signal the development of any disease. However, a cough does not always only help to clear the airways of excess mucus and intensify the activity of saturating the body with vital oxygen. There are people whose morning cough indicates some kind of health problem. Therefore, before starting treatment, it is necessary to find out the exact reason why the patient suffers from bronchospasms every time after waking up.

Why do coughing attacks occur in the morning?

The morning cough reflex occurs due to the fact that at this time there is usually a maximum accumulation of sputum in the respiratory tract. Excess mucus simply does not have time to dissolve due to deterioration of blood circulation in the body due to prolonged lying down. In other words, excess phlegm in the respiratory system provokes a morning coughing attack. Other common causes are excessively dry indoor air, low temperature, etc. All this contributes to severe irritation of the mucous epithelium in the larynx and the appearance of bronchospasm.

In this matter, it is important to understand that only a qualified specialist can establish the correct diagnosis and find out why the patient experiences the symptom in question in the morning. Indeed, due to lack of proper attention to their health, many people die who do not receive medical care in a timely manner and do not carry out drug treatment.

There is a common misconception among a large number of people that cough is harmless and there is no health hazard associated with it. This assumption is fundamentally wrong, since bronchospasm is often one of the symptoms of severe pathologies, for example, pneumonia or pneumonia, bronchial asthma, laryngotracheitis, etc.

Factors that provoke morning cough

Cough in the morning can be caused by negative factors:

  • Smoking is the most common cause of cough in the morning. Cigarette smoke entering the respiratory tract irritates the mucous membranes and changes their structure, forming pathological contents consisting of tar and other components of cigarettes. The smoker's body needs to get rid of this.
  • Low air humidity in the bedroom causes dry mucous membranes. They become inflamed and irritated, then begin to secrete mucus that runs down the throat and further intensifies the cough in the morning.
  • Dusty air. The dust is inhaled, accumulates in the lungs during the day and night, and the next morning it begins to be eliminated naturally through coughing.
  • Cold, for example, abruptly opening a window after waking up in winter. A decrease in temperature causes bronchospasm when taking a deep breath, accompanied by a cough.
  • Increased physical activity, such as morning jogging or intense exercise. Increased breathing caused by stress increases the contractile activity of the ciliated lining epithelium, provoking coughing impulses. If you have recently started running, just continue training: soon the respiratory system will adapt and begin to function smoothly.
  • The presence of a foreign body in the throat that came with food, for example, a fish bone or a piece of fruit seed. If a particle becomes lodged in soft tissue, the body will try to remove it by coughing.

  • Mold in a house or apartment. When breathing, the smallest spores of the fungus enter the lungs, settle on the mucous membranes and activate contractions of the ciliated epithelium. Fungal cough is dangerous, as pathogenic microorganisms multiply rapidly, penetrate the tissue structure and spread throughout the body.
  • A nightmare that can happen in the morning. The person suddenly wakes up and begins to breathe rapidly, irritating the airways and causing a cough. Also, someone who wakes up after a nightmare may choke on drool.
  • Dehydration. With a lack of water in the body, all mucous membranes become dry and thin, and become irritated when inhaling and exhaling after waking up.

What are the causes of severe cough in the morning in adults?

In medicine, there are a large number of diseases in which a person suffers from the problem in question. But here it is worth considering smokers and non-smokers separately. After all, smoking in itself can provoke a cough reflex, especially if the smoker’s “experience” spans years or even decades.

Causes of the morning cough reflex in non-smoking patients:

  1. Allergic reaction to dust, pet hair, household chemicals, pollen, cosmetics, some foods, medications, etc. Identifying the exact allergen is not an easy task, but if you contact an experienced, qualified specialist, you can do it is quite real. After establishing what exactly a person is allergic to, it is necessary to exclude this factor from life, not to contact or use it, and also to carry out the prescribed drug treatment. It is very important to do this on time, without waiting for the disease to become chronic.
  2. The inflammatory process in the throat caused by infection is called sore throat. In addition to the morning cough, the patient’s body temperature rises, pain in the throat, weakness and decreased performance. Sore throat is very contagious, so the sick person should be isolated from other family members, given separate dishes, and the room thoroughly ventilated every day. Lack of treatment for this disease is fraught with the development of severe complications.
  3. Cough is the main symptom indicating the presence of bronchitis or inflammation of the bronchi. At the initial stage of the disease, the patient feels a dry throat, a strong unproductive cough appears, which becomes wet as bronchitis develops. It is very important to properly treat this disease and complete the therapy prescribed by the doctor, since neglect of one’s health in most cases leads to the transition of the inflammatory process to a chronic form.
  4. A common runny nose can cause severe bronchospasm in the morning. This is explained by the fact that mucus flows down the wall of the larynx and accumulates there, causing inflammation and irritation. The patient may also complain of headache, nausea, and swelling. A complication of a runny nose is chronic sinusitis, which is very difficult to treat.
  5. Asthma can trigger coughing attacks in the morning. This is a serious pathology that develops as a result of genetic predisposition, as well as chronic forms of certain diseases that affect the respiratory system. With asthma, the patient experiences so-called wheezing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms are severe pallor of the skin, cardiac arrhythmia, discomfort in the throat, increased sweating, etc.
  6. Taking certain medications for hypertension often causes the phenomenon in question. To get rid of a cough in this case, it is recommended to change the medication you are taking, but only in accordance with a prescription from a doctor.
  7. Pulmonary emphysema develops against the background of chronic bronchitis and gradually destroys the lung tissue, leading to disruption of its basic functions. Coughing attacks in the morning often accompany this pathology.
  8. Tuberculosis is also characterized by the appearance of bronchospasms in the morning, especially after a person gets out of bed. But this disease also has many other symptoms, therefore, before drawing conclusions about its presence, it is necessary to undergo a number of diagnostic procedures.
  9. With laryngotracheitis, the appearance of an exhausting dry cough in the morning is also observed due to the inflammatory process in the larynx. Another symptom that clearly indicates this disease is hoarseness of voice.

For a non-smoker

There are many other pathologies in which patients suffer from paroxysmal morning reflex, for example, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, obstructive pulmonary disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, heart failure, lung cancer, etc.

The smoker

The main cause of morning cough in smokers is the penetration of toxic substances contained in tobacco smoke into the respiratory tract. As a result, destruction of the lung tissue and mucous epithelium in the bronchi occurs. A person gradually develops smoker's bronchitis, which is chronic.

Possible complications are lung cancer, emphysema, cor pulmonale. Smoker's chronic bronchitis is very dangerous because it is almost untreatable, and the use of medications to eliminate it only relieves the symptoms, but the disease itself remains. Smoking cigarettes gradually destroys the human body, leading to irreversible consequences and death as a result of the development of severe pathological conditions.

If a person who has been smoking for a long time begins to suffer from severe coughing attacks, especially in the morning, then this is a serious reason not only to seek medical help, but also to get rid of this bad habit and stop smoking, no matter what. Difficult as this task seemed.


The causes of morning cough are varied: from allergens to exotic viruses. But basically this phenomenon is provoked by the following factors:

  • smoking;
  • infectious diseases;
  • asthma.

In a smoker, the bronchopulmonary tissues are literally clogged with cigarette smoke products during the day, so at night the respiratory organs are strenuously trying to free themselves from them, secreting mucus and removing it. This cough is usually strong and wet.

Morning attacks also plague asthmatics. Coughing is prolonged, unproductive, debilitating, accompanied by severe shortness of breath, whistling and wheezing.

In infectious diseases, the activity of pathogenic organisms increases in the late afternoon, and their waste products accumulate during the night.

Cough in the morning can occur with the following diseases:

  1. Pneumonia. After the main inflammatory process has subsided, a dry cough appears in the morning as a residual phenomenon.
  2. Chronical bronchitis. It progresses very slowly - it can take up to ten years before the development of severe pathologies of the respiratory system. It occurs against the background of a weakening of the protective mechanisms of the lung tissue due to various factors: smoking, polluted air, untreated diseases. Such soil is favorable for the development of infections. At any opportunity, the inflammatory process begins in the form of attacks of a dry, “ragging” morning cough. More often, the phenomenon occurs in the cold season, starting with coughing in the morning, which after a few days turns into a constant wet, strong cough with the release of purulent mucus.
  3. Chronic diseases of the nose: rhinitis, frontal sinusitis, sinusitis.
  4. Parawhooping cough. Attacks of obsessive and unproductive coughing occur at night and early in the morning.
  5. Infectious laryngotracheitis is characterized by dry, scratchy morning coughing.
  6. Bronchiectasis (structural disorders in the bronchi) is accompanied by copious mucus secretion during exacerbations. After waking up in the morning, the respiratory tract receptors are actively irritated, pushing out a large amount of sputum mixed with pus.

Dry cough in the morning

A painful dry cough without sputum production is a sign of certain pathologies, such as:

  • bronchial asthma;
  • bronchitis at the initial stage;
  • laryngotracheitis;
  • pneumosclerosis;
  • rhinitis;
  • reflux disease;
  • pneumonia;
  • osteochondrosis of the spine in the thoracic and cervical regions;
  • severe dehydration of the body;
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, etc.

Attacks of the dry cough reflex usually torment smokers.

Wet cough in the morning

The symptom of bronchopulmonary pathologies in question can be dry or wet. Moreover, dry is more dangerous and causes a lot of unpleasant sensations. As for wet, it usually brings relief and helps cleanse the respiratory organs of excess mucus.

The main causes of a wet morning cough:

  1. Heart failure.
  2. Allergy.
  3. Sinusitis.
  4. Tonsillitis.
  5. Tracheitis.
  6. Tuberculosis.
  7. Bronchitis.

Many doctors agree that morning bronchospasms mainly indicate the development of serious diseases that require drug therapy. Therefore, such a sign should not be ignored; it is important to consult a doctor in a timely manner and undergo diagnostics in order to find out the exact cause of the cough reflex and eliminate it.

Cough in children

Coughing in children, especially in the morning, is a common phenomenon that all parents have encountered. If your child wants to cough, do not hold him back: after the lungs are cleared, he will begin to breathe normally. When your baby starts coughing, there is probably a foreign body in the airways: empty them immediately. A continuous symptom may indicate an infection, including whooping cough.

Warning signs should alert you: high fever, lethargy, pale or bluish skin, refusal of water and food, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, changes in pulse.

Periodic children's cough can be caused by enlarged adenoids, a runny nose, unfavorable conditions in the children's room (low air humidity), allergies, an onset of a cold, or residual effects after an acute respiratory viral infection. Read more about the causes of the problem and getting rid of it in the article “ Cough in the morning in a child .”


To prevent the development of many diseases, including those affecting the respiratory system, it is recommended to carry out preventive measures aimed at strengthening the immune system. It is necessary to take vitamin complexes in the autumn-spring period, eat properly and balanced, engage in sports exercises, and strengthen the body.

If a person has a tendency to allergies, then it is important to keep the house clean, get rid of dust and dirt every day, and avoid contact with pets. The optimal level of humidity in the room and normal air temperature are also of great importance.

If you have any serious diseases that cause a morning cough, you need to undergo timely treatment, take all prescribed medications and follow medical instructions regarding lifestyle, nutrition, and bad habits.

Methods for treating morning cough

Before you begin treating a morning cough, you need to determine what caused it. To clarify the diagnosis, the doctor may prescribe an x-ray, tomography, cardiogram, ultrasound, laboratory blood tests and other types of examination. If there is a suspicion of stomach disease, the patient is sent for consultation to a gastroenterologist.

After examining and identifying the exact cause of the cough, the doctor selects a treatment regimen. Therapy may include the following medications:

  • Mucolytics and expectorants. Prescribed for diseases of the respiratory system.
  • Antitussive drugs. It is prescribed for a cough that is too debilitating and prevents a person from getting proper rest. Most often, these medications are taken at night.
  • If the cough is caused by an allergy, the doctor prescribes antihistamines. In addition, it is recommended to avoid any contact with allergens.
  • For bronchial asthma, inhaled drugs are prescribed that relieve bronchospasm. In addition, the patient must follow a diet and avoid excessive physical activity.
  • For stomach problems, medications are prescribed to regulate the production of gastric juice and its acidity. The patient must follow a diet, avoiding fatty and spicy foods.
  • If the cough is caused by tuberculosis, the patient is prescribed antimicrobial drugs and antibiotics. This infectious disease is treated comprehensively and is financed by a government program.

The open form of tuberculosis is treated in an inpatient tuberculosis dispensary. Such treatment can take from 2 months to six months.

If morning cough is caused by cancer, the patient is treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. If necessary, resort to surgical intervention. It is worth remembering that the earlier cancer is detected, the more favorable the prognosis .

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