Why do Alcoholics Cough so much?

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Alcoholism is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. One of the many side effects of chronic alcohol consumption is coughing. Alcoholics may cough for various reasons, including damage to their lungs, throat, or immune system. In this article, we will explore why alcoholics cough so much and the various factors that contribute to this phenomenon.

Why do Alcoholics Cough so much?

The Effects of Alcohol on the Lungs

Alcohol consumption can have a profound effect on the lungs. Over time, alcohol can damage the delicate tissues in the lungs and make it more challenging to breathe. When alcohol enters the bloodstream, it can cause the airways to become inflamed, leading to coughing and wheezing.

Additionally, alcohol can also weaken the immune system, making it more challenging to fight off infections that can lead to coughing. Chronic alcohol consumption can lead to pneumonia, bronchitis, and other respiratory illnesses that can cause chronic coughing.

Acid Reflux and Coughing

Another common reason why alcoholics cough so much is due to acid reflux. Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid travels up into the esophagus and causes irritation. Alcohol is known to relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which is the muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach. This relaxation can lead to acid reflux and coughing.

Additionally, alcohol can also increase the production of stomach acid, which can exacerbate acid reflux symptoms. This increased acid production can lead to a burning sensation in the chest, throat, and mouth, as well as persistent coughing.

Smoking and Alcoholism

Many alcoholics are also smokers, which can exacerbate coughing. Smoking can damage the lungs and airways, leading to chronic coughing and respiratory issues. When combined with alcoholism, smoking can further exacerbate coughing, making it even more challenging to breathe.

Additionally, smoking can also increase the risk of developing lung cancer, which is a severe health risk for anyone, particularly those with a history of alcoholism. Quitting smoking can help reduce coughing and improve overall lung health.


Alcoholism can have a profound effect on the body, including causing chronic coughing. While there are various reasons why alcoholics cough so much, including damage to the lungs and acid reflux, the most effective way to reduce coughing is to quit drinking alcohol altogether. Additionally, seeking professional help and support for alcoholism can help reduce the risk of developing severe respiratory issues and improve overall health and wellbeing.

Why do Alcoholics Cough so much?
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