Q. What is the cause for cough after gallbladder surgery?

Answered by
Dr. Manu Kumar
and medically reviewed by Dr.Nithila A
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 02, 2019 and last reviewed on: Dec 07, 2020

Hello doctor,

I had my gallbladder removed yesterday. Ever since I woke up from the anesthesia, I have cough. My stomach hurts as a result of the continuing cough. I called the surgeons office to find out why this is happening and to get stronger pain medicine. But they said I need to see my primary doctor for the cough as it is not related. I have read that people have coughs after surgery. It is causing so much pain in my stomach.



Welcome to

In general anesthesia, a patient is put on ventilatory support as he cannot breathe during general anesthesia. To achieve this, we need to pass a tube, known as an endotracheal tube, down the throat to the lungs. This sometimes leads to some swelling or medically known as edema in the throat. Some patients are more sensitive than others, so they have the self-limiting cough till the edema subsides. You can take some throat lozenges apart from steam inhalation to help you. The cough will go once the edema subsides.

The Probable causes:

Endotracheal intubation leading to airway edema.

Differential diagnosis:

Upper respiratory tract infection.

Treatment plan:

Symptomatic, with steam inhalation and throat lozenges.

Regarding follow up:

Need to see an ENT specialist if not improving.

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