Coughing. A persistent cough can be one of the most difficult things to diagnose. If allergies, asthma, or illness have been ruled out, GERD may be the answer. Stomach acid is extremely caustic, and the frequent acid reflux that people with GERD experience at night can do significant damage to the throat, vocal cords, and, if aspirated, the bronchus. The result is a dry, persistent cough that does not get better.