Gold Member Badge


  • You're all caught up!
Cold and Flu Center

What Are the Causes of Violent Coughing Bouts?

author image Helen Nnama
Helen Nnama has six years of writing experience. She is a health contributor to TBR Journal, editor of fertility confidential manuals, published poet, and a greeting card writer. She has a B.S. in microbiology, an M.S. in epidemiology, and is an M.D. candidate. A former state HIV/AIDS epidemiologist and NIA fellow at Johns Hopkins, she has research experience with published work.
What Are the Causes of Violent Coughing Bouts?
Children can swallow foreign objects, resulting in choking and violent coughing bouts,

Coughing sometimes serves an important protective function by expelling materials from the airways so they do not reach the lungs. However, a cough is also a troubling symptom and represents one of the most common reasons why patients seek a physician's help. Violent coughing bouts, known medically as paroxysmal cough, have been classically associated with pertussis, or whooping cough. However, many other medical conditions may present with violent coughing spells.

Video of the Day

Whooping Cough

Whooping cough was a major cause of death in pediatric age groups in the first half of the 20th century. It is a highly contagious disease that starts out with symptoms resembling the common cold, but then the symptoms develop into severe, prolonged bouts of violent coughing. Whooping cough is also known as pertussis, since it is caused by bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. Another similar bacterium, B. parapertussis, also causes a respiratory illness very similar and almost indistinguishable from pertussis. states that the only way to obtain a certain diagnosis of whooping cough is by taking a swab from the nose and running it through a lab technique that allows the cells to be analyzed and bacteria detected.

Choking and Foreign Body Inhalation

While it may seem obvious that someone who has a violent coughing bout might be choking on something, it is important to remember this when dealing with a coughing toddler or infant. points out that infants from six months onwards are at particular risk for choking due to foreign body inhalation.

ACE Inhibitors

ACE inhibitors, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, are medications used to lower the blood pressure and to treat a variety of medical conditions. Chronic cough is among the side effects of ACE inhibitors. As enumerated in a study published in 1989 in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, this cough may come in bouts severe enough to induce vomiting.

Mycoplasma Pneumoniae

A certain form of unusual respiratory infection also causes coughing bouts. When this organism, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, infects the lung, it causes pneumonia, a lung infection characterized by cough that is paroxysmal, dry, and worse at night. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians in April 2004 reassuringly cites the mortality rate as 1.4 percent. Infection by this organism may be associated with skin rashes and eruptions or neurological derangements, including inflammation of brain tissue.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great! Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.



Demand Media