Why Do I Taste Blood When I Cough? Decoding the Mystery

"Are you having eerie experiences where you taste blood when you cough and wondering if it's something you should worry about? Worry not, as our comprehensive guide will help you uncover the possible causes and give you insight into potential remedies."


So you've suddenly tasted blood while coughing and now you're losing sleep over it, questioning what it could mean. Been there, done that, right? Many of us have experienced this unusual sensation at least once in our lives. But is it something serious? Could it be a sign of an underlying condition? Well, that's what we are here to figure out. We have put together a comprehensive guide to help you grasp the complexities of this phenomenon and determine when it's time to seek professional help.

Overview: Why You Might Be Tasting Blood When You Cough

A variety of factors could make you taste blood when you cough. Sometimes, it might be due to an infection, while other times, it could be related to a lung condition. Our bodies can sometimes be a mystery, and day-to-day situations might manifest in ways that throw us for a loop. Some reasons why you might taste blood when coughing are:

  1. Infections
  2. Lung conditions
  3. Certain medications
  4. Other miscellaneous causes

So, let's dive into each of these categories to get a better understanding of what's happening.

In-Depth Discussion of Potential Causes

In this section, we'll explore each potential cause in detail to help you grasp the reasons why you might taste blood when you cough.

  • Lung cancer

As much as we would love to believe that this alarming symptom isn't related to something as serious as lung cancer, we have to acknowledge the possibility [^1^]. Coughing up blood, or hemoptysis, can be a sign of this life-threatening condition. It occurs when cancer-related bleeding takes place in the airway. If you notice other symptoms like chest pain, weight loss, or persistent coughing, it's vital to consult a doctor.

  • Cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects various organs, including the lungs [^2^]. The condition causes the airways to become damaged and infected, which might result in coughing up blood. People with cystic fibrosis often experience persistent coughing, wheezing, and mucus production.

  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis

This rare condition is an autoimmune disease that inflames blood vessels in the nose, sinuses, throat, lungs, and kidneys [^3^]. The inflammation can lead to tissue damage, causing coughing and discomfort. Blood-tinged mucus could be a sign of granulomatosis with polyangiitis.

  • Pulmonary embolism

A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot blocks one of the arteries in the lung [^4^]. The blockage can lead to coughing up blood, shortness of breath, and even chest pain. It's a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.

  • Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis, or TB, is a contagious bacterial infection that primarily targets the lungs [^5^]. In its active form, TB can cause coughing up blood or mucus, along with other symptoms like fatigue, weight loss, and night sweats. Prompt treatment is crucial to prevent the spread of infection to those around you.

Symptoms Associated with Each Potential Cause

Each potential cause of tasting blood when you cough comes with its own set of symptoms. Here, we've listed some of the most common symptoms related to each cause, so you can better understand what to look out for.

  • Lung cancer
    • Persistent cough
    • Chest pain
    • Weight loss
    • Fatigue
    • Shortness of breath
  • Cystic fibrosis
    • Persistent cough with phlegm
    • Wheezing
    • Frequent lung infections
    • Shortness of breath
    • Respiratory difficulties
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
    • Sinus congestion and pain
    • Nosebleeds
    • Ear infections
    • Joint swelling and pain
    • Cough with bloody mucus
  • Pulmonary embolism
    • Sudden shortness of breath
    • Chest pain
    • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
    • Dizziness or fainting
    • Swelling or pain in the leg
  • Tuberculosis
    • Chronic cough (lasting more than three weeks)
    • Chest pain
    • Coughing up phlegm or blood
    • Fatigue or weakness
    • Night sweats and chills

When to Seek Medical Attention

It's essential to know when to discuss your symptoms with a doctor. If you experience any of the following situations, it's time to seek professional help:

  • Continuous coughing with blood for more than a day or two
  • Overall deteriorating health, accompanied by coughing up blood
  • Additional symptoms like chest pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath

Potential Treatment Options for Each Cause

Treatment plans will vary, depending on the specific cause of your symptoms. However, some general treatment options for each cause include:

  • Lung cancer
    • Surgery
    • Radiation therapy
    • Chemotherapy
    • Targeted therapy
    • Immunotherapy
  • Cystic fibrosis
    • Medications to manage infections and thin mucus
    • Chest physical therapy
    • Exercise and nutrition management
    • Inhaled medications
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
    • Corticosteroids
    • Immunosuppressant drugs
    • Rituximab (a monoclonal antibody)
    • Possible chemotherapy
  • Pulmonary embolism
    • Anticoagulant medications (blood thinners)
    • Thrombolytic therapy (clot dissolving medication)
    • Vena cava filter (a device to prevent blood clots from reaching the lungs)
  • Tuberculosis
    • A combination of antibiotics
    • 6-9 months of treatment, depending on drug sensitivity and infection severity

Prevention Tips

While you can't always prevent coughing up blood, adopting a few simple lifestyle habits can help improve your overall health and minimize the risk of developing some of these conditions:

  • Quit smoking or avoid secondhand smoke
  • Maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine
  • Get vaccinated against diseases like pneumonia and the flu
  • Limit exposure to pollutants and allergens


While tasting blood when you cough can be unnerving, there's no need to hit the panic button immediately. Use this guide to understand potential causes and symptoms and remember that you should always consult a healthcare professional if the issue persists or worsens. Your health should never be taken lightly, so be proactive and stay informed!