Nausea When Coughing – Causes, Treatment

Nausea when coughing

Respiratory diseases are often associated with severe coughing. It can happen that nausea is triggered when coughing .

What characterizes nausea when coughing?

Coughing is one of our body reflexes and is carried out completely automatically by humans Very fine sensory cells located in the respiratory tract, larynx and throat have the task of transporting pathogens out of the human body. This happens through the sudden contraction of the diaphragm, back and abdominal muscles. Under certain circumstances, severe coughing fits can lead to nausea or vomiting .


In most cases, there is nausea when coughing when you have a cold or a flu-like infection. In such a case, the airways are clogged with mucus, so that a strong and intense coughing fit is often unavoidable.

Nausea can also occur when coughing in the case of respiratory diseases or pneumonia . In the case of whooping cough , this can even last for several weeks. This is one of the main symptoms of this disease. Another cause, which is not related to the airways, is reflux disease . This is usually a congenital weakness of the sphincter muscle between the esophagus and stomach.

This results in a mixing of chyme and stomach acid, which can then flow back into the esophagus. The resulting heartburn in the esophagus can lead to a very unpleasant cough, which is often associated with a very strong urge to vomit.

diseases with this symptom

Diagnosis & course of disease

If a cough is so severe that it causes nausea, it is advisable to see a doctor. First, the heart and lungs should be listened to with a stethoscope. In this way, it is determined whether unusual and pathological breathing sounds are present. If the doctor detects exactly such noises, further examinations should definitely be carried out. This includes, for example, a bronchoscopy . This allows the respective condition of the lungs and bronchi to be determined very precisely.

In addition, a lung function test can also be carried out to rule out all eventualities. If no disease is found in the areas mentioned, there is a gastroscopy , which provides more precise information about the stomach and esophagus. If a reflux disease is present, it will be detected at the latest during a gastroscopy. This is usually followed by a blood test.

This allows various inflammation parameters to be determined, which could also be the cause of the cough. Various allergy tests can also be carried out. If the result is positive, this is entered in an allergy pass so that specific action can be taken.


Nausea when coughing is a symptom and not a disease, so not all possible complications can be listed, as some have to be considered depending on the underlying disease. In general, it can also be said that the symptom of nausea when coughing can also be a complication.

Probably the most serious possible complication is the aspiration of vomit. If vomiting actually occurs as a result of the urge to vomit, it is possible to aspirate parts of the vomit. These get into the trachea . As a result, there is a renewed, mostly strong urge to cough. The cough serves to clear the vomit from the airways. If this does not succeed, there is a risk of suffocation in the worst case. If the vomit gets into the lungs , infections and inflammatory reactions can occur there. If aspiration occurs, it is important to get the vomit out of the airways as quickly as possible.

Other possible complications are shortness of breath , increased coughing and anxiety . If you vomit while coughing, you often experience shortness of breath, which can lead to anxiety and even panic attacks . In general, it is advisable to remain calm as the situation can be exacerbated by panicking and ill-considered behavior.

When should you go to the doctor?

Irritable cough with vomiting, even if it feels threatening, is usually the symptom of a harmless cold. A dry cough does not produce mucus, it is dry and therefore very uncomfortable. It is not uncommon for a coughing fit to escalate to such an extent that the affected person experiences shortness of breath and nausea. Spasmodic coughing fits are also not uncommon in children. Persistent coughing symptoms can now be a viral infection, which usually subsides after a few days.

To be on the safe side, a blood test can be carried out on the patient. If there are elevated levels of inflammation in the blood, it is a bacterial infection that indicates several diseases. If the cough is accompanied by symptoms such as pain when breathing, headache and hoarseness, it could be bronchitis. This must be clarified by the specialist.

Depending on the situation, an X-ray of the lungs can bring clarity. Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial infection that is common in children but can also affect unvaccinated adults. Infection can also occur after a vaccination that was given a long time ago. Here, too, a blood test provides information.

Since whooping cough is caused by bacteria, the doctor prescribes antibiotics. So that the attacked bronchial tubes can calm down again, cough suppressants containing codeine are often part of the therapy. Whooping cough is a reportable infection.

Treatment & Therapy

If it is a very protracted and dry cough, it is recommended to take a stronger cough syrup. Although this can prevent the annoying urge to cough, it cannot banish the pathogens from the throat. A home remedy that can help very well in many cases is the inhalation of healing herbs. This can have a very calming effect on the airways and prevent coughing and nausea.

If the mucus is very tough and stuck, an expectorant should be administered. In many cases, the mucus is what triggers the actual urge to vomit, since the mucus cannot be coughed up properly. In the case of whooping cough, on the other hand, expectorant medications tend to be ineffective. In particularly severe cases, antibiotics may also be given. If necessary, inpatient treatment can also take place.

If the trigger is an allergy, the first thing to do is to find the trigger. In many cases that is enough. However, if the cause of the nausea is asthma , additional anti-inflammatory drugs must be administered. If it is a serious heart or lung disease, appropriate medication must be administered that corresponds to the stage of the disease.

In most cases, inpatient treatment or an operation can no longer be avoided. If the above-mentioned reflux disease is present, the person concerned must pay attention to a few things in relation to his or her diet. Highly acidic foods should be avoided entirely. Even lavish meals with a very high proportion of fat should not be eaten regularly. If there is still no clear improvement after this, so-called acid inhibitors can be prescribed. However, this should not be a permanent solution, because the human body can get used to this substance, which is anything but healthy in the long run.

Outlook & Forecast

In many cases, coughing up nausea is a common symptom that occurs during the flu or a cold. No treatment by the doctor is necessary here, because the symptom disappears by itself and does not lead to any further complications. The urge to vomit when coughing is often accompanied by funny-sounding breathing noises. As a rule, the doctor can use some means of diagnosis that can determine the cause of the symptom relatively well.

The patient’s everyday life is severely restricted by the symptom, since it is no longer possible to carry out activities without further ado. It can happen that the vomit is inhaled again and swallowed. In the worst case, this can lead to death or an infection of the respiratory tract . Many patients also experience anxiety and panic during the symptom.

In most cases, treatment with the help of antibiotics is carried out (in the case of infections) and leads to a positive course of the disease relatively quickly. Operations are not necessary. However, it is helpful to avoid panic and avoid acidic products so that as little gastric acid as possible rises through the urge to vomit when coughing.


Targeted prevention of coughing and the associated nausea is very difficult because it is an automatic protective reflex. It is also almost impossible to prevent a cold or a flu-like infection. However, our immune system offers good protection . In order for this to remain 100% intact and maintained, a healthy and varied diet is very important.

If you see the first signs of whooping cough, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. The earlier the disease is treated, the better it can be treated. Otherwise there is a risk of the symptoms getting worse, which can lead to severe inflammation of the lungs.

You can do that yourself

There are not only medicinal ways to prevent nausea when coughing. Home remedies can also be effective. The most obvious thing to do is not to eat, so that nothing can be vomited. However, this is not advisable. Stomach contents are not responsible for nausea. This remains in the stomach and the affected person spits out bile.

It is more effective in fighting the urge to cough. The best way to do this is to keep the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat moist. Drinking a lot is the best tip. But broths or soups can also help. Anything that keeps the mucous membranes moist is good. Inhaling , for example with hot water and thyme , is also recommended. Honey can also work wonders because it protects the mucous membranes.

In addition to these active countermeasures, there are also passive tools. For example, a damp towel in the bedroom keeps the humidity constant, which relieves the respiratory tract. A sliced ​​onion in the bedroom is said to have a similar effect. Finally, a trip to the sea is also recommended. The salty, humid air helps with all kinds of breathing difficulties and signs of a cold. Smokers should reduce their tobacco consumption as much as possible.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.