Can Coughing Hard Rupture Your Lungs?

Can Coughing Hard Rupture Your Lungs?

Last Reviewed : 12/18/2020
Can Coughing Hard Rupture Your Lungs?

As you probably know, cough is a protective reflex that expels any foreign body from trachea or lungs. Usually, many patients suffering with lung diseases cough up sputum which has a great diagnostic potential.

Severity of Cough

Coughing can be mild or severe. Well, severe cough is rare and may lead to serious consequences like:

  • Fits or seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Pushing of lungs between the ribs
  • Collapse of the lung itself
  • Fracture of the rib
  • Muscular pain
  • Damage to the blood vessels of the throat
  • Damage to throat tissue
  • Rupture of the diaphragm
  • Coughing up blood.

On the other hand, mild cough keeps the lungs clear. They do not allow the dust or phlegm to settle in the lungs for a long time. But violent coughing of longer duration can be dangerous. Indeed, it needs medical attention.

What’s more, violent cough increases the intra-abdominal pressure and pressure in the lungs. Increased intra-abdominal pressure causes organs to rupture. There was a case report of 40-year-old female who suffered a severe cough for two weeks landed in operation theatre for rupture of the spleen.

What more can cough lead to?

A lot more! For instance, there can be rupture of blood vessels of lung and trachea which, often leads to coughing up of blood. Plus, there can be damage of throat tissue.

In some individuals with extensive history of emphysema, chronic bronchitis or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) may have lung bullae or blebs. These are small bubble-like structures on the surface of the lungs. When these individuals have severe cough, these bubbles may rupture, causing air leakage to outside of their lungs. This is called pneumothorax. Well , pneumothorax, depending on its size, can be life-threatening.


From the foregoing, the severity of cough could vary. While cough could just be a normal voluntary action that helps you to clear your throat and rids the breathing passage of foreign objects, it could also be a symptom of a disorder. So, if you are dealing with severe coughing, you already know the condition that it could lead to as we have taken some time to itemize them for you. In that case, you are advised to seek medical assistance from a specialist before it gets even worse.

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