Tasting Blood When Coughing

When you have a cold, your throat feels raw and scratchy, and your body temperature rises slightly. You also cough, trying to eliminate the congestion causing you discomfort!

It can feel great to cough up the gunk in your throat, no matter how gross it might be. But have you ever tasted blood when coughing? This can be something to be concerned about.

Find out everything you need to know about what it means when you taste blood when coughing.

Is It Normal to Taste Blood When Coughing?

Tasting blood when coughing can be a frightening experience, and many may wonder if it is a cause for alarm. While coughing up small traces of blood can be expected and may result from irritation in the nose or throat, it is essential to pay attention to the amount and frequency of blood.

If you consistently cough up more than a few teaspoonfuls of blood, or if the blood is dark and thick, it is essential to consult a doctor as it could be a sign of a serious health condition such as bronchitis, pneumonia, or lung cancer. It is always better to be safe and get a medical opinion.

Causes of Blood Taste While Coughing

There are several potential causes why your cough tastes like blood. Below, let's explore each one of them.

Upper Respiratory Infection

When someone is experiencing an upper respiratory infection, it is expected to have a blood taste while coughing. This is caused by the inflammation of the respiratory tract, which can lead to tiny blood vessels rupturing and mixing with mucus in the throat.

Bleeding Gums

One common cause of blood taste while coughing is bleeding gums. This can occur when the gums are inflamed and more susceptible to bleeding. This is often a result of poor oral hygiene or gum disease.

Another potential cause is severe coughing or excessive force during coughing, which can irritate and even damage the delicate gum tissue, causing bleeding.

Food Allergies

Food allergies occur when the immune system mistakenly identifies a particular food as harmful and releases chemicals to fight it off. In some cases, this can cause inflammation in the respiratory tract. This leads to a dry cough, resulting in blood being brought up.

Asthma Or Trouble Breathing Due To Exercise

In individuals with asthma, coughing can be a common symptom, leading to tiny blood vessels in the lungs breaking and causing the taste of blood. During exercise, the body requires more oxygen, which can strain the respiratory system and cause blood vessels to rupture.

Cardiac Cough

One common cause of blood taste while coughing is a condition known as cardiac cough, also referred to as heart failure cough. This occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body's needs, resulting in fluid buildup in the lungs. The increased pressure in the lungs causes tiny blood vessels to rupture, leading to the taste of blood during coughing fits.

Drug Use

Drugs, especially inhaled or snorted, can irritate the delicate tissues in the respiratory tract and cause bleeding. This can then lead to blood being coughed up during a coughing fit. Additionally, some drugs can suppress the body's natural cough reflex, leading to a buildup of mucus and bacteria in the respiratory system, which can also cause bleeding.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

One possible reason for this is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a chronic condition that causes acid from the stomach to flow back into the esophagus, triggering irritation and inflammation.

This can lead to coughing, which can cause tiny blood vessels in the throat to rupture. This results in a metallic taste of blood. Other symptoms of GERD include:
  • heartburn
  • difficulty swallowing
  • regurgitation
If left untreated, GERD can lead to more severe complications. Thus, it is essential to consult a doctor if experiencing these symptoms to receive proper treatment and prevent further issues.


Tasting blood while coughing is a common symptom experienced during pregnancy and can be caused by several factors. One possible reason is due to increased blood circulation in the body during pregnancy. This can lead to irritated blood vessels in the throat and nose. This irritation can cause small amounts of blood to be released, resulting in a metallic taste when coughing.

The increase in hormone levels during pregnancy can also contribute to blood vessel sensitivity and make them more likely to bleed.

What Are Possible Treatment Options?

Treatment options for coughing up blood depend on the underlying cause. They can range from rest and over-the-counter medication to specialized treatments such as antibiotics or surgery.


Antimicrobial treatments, such as antibiotics, are often prescribed for respiratory infections that may be causing the metallic taste. In some cases, antibiotics can help clear up the infection and alleviate the symptoms of coughing and the metallic taste. However, it's important to note that antibiotics may not be effective for all respiratory infections and can have potential side effects.


Decongestants work to reduce inflammation in the nasal passages. They can alleviate the symptoms of a cough and congestion. Additionally, many metallic tastes that occur during a cough are caused by post-nasal drip, which is excess mucus that drips down the throat.

Decongestants can help to dry up this mucus, reducing the metallic taste. However, it is essential to note that decongestants should only be used as directed and for a limited time. Overuse can lead to side effects such as rebound congestion.

Cough Medicine

One option is using a different brand or type of cough medicine, as certain ingredients may contribute to the metallic taste. Another approach is using lozenges or throat sprays to soothe the throat and mask the taste. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water can also help alleviate the metallic taste.

Know What To Do When You Taste Blood When Coughing

It can be scary and uncomfortable when you taste blood when coughing, but it may not always be a cause for alarm. However, if the symptom persists or is accompanied by other concerning factors, it is essential to seek medical attention. Don't ignore your body's warning signs; always listen to your body's needs.

Stay safe, and take care of yourself! If you are experiencing unusual symptoms, schedule a check-up with your doctor today.

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