Coffee Facts

Coffee Cough: Is Your Caffeine Addiction Causing This?


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Have you noticed that your cough seems to get worse after you drink coffee? An increasingly bad cough is concerning for anyone, so getting to the bottom of its cause is of utmost importance to your mental health. 

But does coffee cause coughing, or does it make coughing worse? Read on to find the answer to all your coffee cough-related questions.

Does Coffee Cause Coughing?

Unless you sip your hot coffee too quickly, it’s unlikely that coffee is the cause of your coughing. Coffee doesn’t have any ingredients that would cause coughing. The silky dark liquid has a better chance of burning your mouth than making you cough. 

Although coffee may not cause coughing, perhaps its active ingredient, caffeine, does.

In some instances, caffeine can cause you to cough. The primary negative effects of consuming too much caffeine are:

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  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Anxiousness
  • Irritability
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle tremors

In most cases, these symptoms appear within an hour after consuming an excessive amount of caffeine. Coughing is a rare symptom of massive caffeine consumption, much more than a single cup. If this does occur, the symptoms should subside within four hours.

Why Did My Coughing Start When I Drank Coffee?

Often people associate their coughing with coffee because their coughing began while they were drinking. This is a case of confirmation bias. Unless you consumed hundreds of milligrams of caffeine in one cup of coffee, the caffeine didn’t cause you to cough.

People assume the coffee created the cough when in reality, the cough was already present, and the coffee exasperated it. You are most likely experiencing a cold or allergy symptoms, and the coffee helped you notice these symptoms.

How Coffee Makes Coughs Worse

Coffee is a diuretic, meaning it causes you to use the bathroom more often. If you drink coffee in larger amounts, it can have a dehydrating effect on your body. We know dehydration can cause more prolonged and more forceful coughing fits.

So when you have a cold or your allergies are kicking in, it’s best to avoid coffee. These illnesses already cause you to lose a significant amount of water, so by drinking coffee, you’re making it harder for your body to fight off the allergens or pathogens.

Since your cold or allergies will continue to worsen if you drink coffee, so will your cough. This is why many people associate their cough with coffee. People often only start noticing a tickle in their throat after they’ve woken up and started their day with a cup of joe. 

The dehydrating effects of coffee make your already existing cough worse. Coffee didn’t cause the cough, but it has made it more noticeable. 

Two Extreme Cases

There are two instances when caffeine intolerance cause of your coughing, and they are both severe. The first is an allergic reaction, and the second revolves around issues with your heart.

Allergic Reaction

If you drank some coffee and now you can’t seem to stop coughing, you may be having an allergic reaction to the coffee or an ingredient you added to it. You’ll notice an allergic reaction the first time you drink coffee. 

Coffee allergies are extremely rare. Whether you’re allergic to the bean or have an allergy to caffeine, the condition is rare and most likely not what’s causing you to cough. If you think you’re experiencing an allergic reaction to coffee, look out for these physical symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath or coughing
  • Skin rashes (hives, etc.)
  • Nausea
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Weak pulse
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Anaphylaxis

Heart Issues

Caffeine is a stimulant that can have extreme effects on your body, making caffeine dangerous if consumed in high enough quantities. If you have a heart condition, caffeine may trigger an episode of your heart disease.

Issues with the heart can cause coughing. People are often seen coughing when they have heart attacks. If you haven’t been diagnosed with a heart condition, you don’t have to worry about the effects a moderate amount of caffeine has on your heart. But be aware for those with heart conditions, drinking too much coffee may trigger an event. In any case, if you are worried, seek out your doctor for advice.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, coffee doesn’t cause coughing, other than in a couple of extreme cases. In general, the dehydrating effects of caffeine make your cough worse, but it doesn’t cause your cough. 

The most likely reason for your coffee cough in the morning is that you’re suffering from a cold or another throat ailment. The physical reactions you’re having to the coffee just made you notice it.

Happy Caffeinating! 

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