Discussions By Condition: Repiratory conditions

Coughing up phlegm for over a year!

Posted In: Repiratory conditions 5 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • August 25, 2010
  • 08:02 PM

In June 2009, I got sick with a cold. I started to cough up some clear phlegm. I didn't think too much of it because there had been times before where I got sick and coughed up phlegm for a week or two. The infection from June 2009 hasn't gone away!

I have seen multiple ENTs, pulmonologists, regular doctors. I've had just about every test you can think of--all with normal results. I've tried about 25 different prescriptions and otc medicines and natural remedies to no avail.

I'm 48 years old. I live in a small town in western Kentucky. I don't live on or work on a farm. My husband and I do not smoke or use drugs. We don't have any pets. Our house has been checked for mold and asbestos (both negative). I am extremely overweight (about 400 lbs) and I've had asthma since I was a child.

Here's my symptoms:

-Coughing up sticky, thick, odorless clear phlegm
-Low grade fever (usually around 99 degrees)
-Chest ache
-Fatigue (I'm averaging about 2 hours per night in sleep time)
-Choking, gagging and vomiting to get the phlegm out
-Constantly clearing my throat
-Sore throat
-Body aches

My symptoms aren't worse at any particular time of day. I never get any relief. I have to clear my throat several times per minute, before and after I talk, sometimes I get the urge to clear my throat while I'm talking. I almost always have a tissue at my mouth ready to go if I need to spit something out, but sometimes I need two or even four tissues to get it all.

My phlegm is extremely thick and sticky. It's often hard to get up. It's clear and odorless. It can be stringy (very difficult to get up). Other times it is very liquid like and gushes to the front of my mouth (very easy to get up).

A lot of times, it gets stuck between my throat and mouth, so I either swallow (which causes a gagging after effect) or choke and gag on it until it comes up. I always feel nauseous when I'm coughing it up. I typically throw up once a day trying to get it out. If I can spit it out immediately, but I swallow it instead, the next time I clear my throat I won't be able to get it up and that cycle repeats about 6-10 times before I finally can gag and spit it up. The other day, I coughed, coughed and coughed until I choked and then I was able to spit some out, then I gagged because it was so thick and ended up having to vomit to get the rest of it up.

Every morning (or whenever) I wake up, literally the first thing I have to do before I can do anything is cough up phlegm. I spit up some after I brush my teeth. Sometime I cough while I'm eating or drinking.

The phlegm is always there! I can always feel it in my chest and throat regardless of how much or how long I cough. I can't be anywhere away from a garbage can or box of tissues, sink or toilet--anything to spit up or vomit in. I've never measured how much I can cough up, but its a lot. There have been times where I've used an entire, previously unopened box of tissues in one day.

My husband is totally healthy, he has never once been sick like this. Our daughter is in Sydney, Australia spending a semester there doing a study abroad program and she has never once been sick like this.

Even on the occasional dry cough, I still choke and gag. Sometimes I cough so hard I can't speak, although I can sometimes get a few words out. I have to clear my throat right before and after I spit out phlegm. I barely have an appetite anymore because I get so ill from all that coughing/spitting and vomiting.

I can't do anything but clear my throat and spit. I am a housewife and I can't do anything, my husband who works 12 hour shifts has to come home and take of the house too and make sure I have everything I need.

My body alway hurts now. I'm in absolute agony all the time. This has been an everyday occurence for about 13-14 months now. I feel like my body has a never-ending supply of phlegm. I hate always having to spit and vomit. This has put a huge dent in our social lives. I won't go anywhere unless its to a doctor or hospital. I don't want other people to have to listen to me coughing up phlegm. I hate knowing that my husband has to listen to it. I am miserable all the time and this such a disgusting thing to have to do.

If you have any ideas or suggestions, I will greatly appreciate them! I hate being so ill and with such a disgusting illness.

Thanks everyone!


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5 Replies:

  • Has a doctor ever suggested silent reflux? That's when the acid goes up into your throat, creates irritation and so produces phlegm as a response. You have a lot of the symptoms (although some of your symptoms do not appear to be related). I have excessive phlegm as well but not to the terrible extent that you have. I have to spit up the phlegm several times before I go to bed, otherwise, I feel like I won't be able to breathe normally. My doctor prescribed Nexium 30 mg but it didn't do anything. He then increased the dosage to 60mg and it did help but hasn't eliminated it. I don't like to take it continuously so I stop for a time and then it comes back much worse so I have to start it again. Ask your doctor about taking Nexium or another proton pump inhibitor. Also steer clear of foods with a lot of acid, like citrus fruits, tomates, alcohol, chocolate, etc. I hope you feel better soon.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • September 18, 2010
    • 02:02 AM
    • 0
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  • Hi, I would recommend a couple of things...and see if they help. My situation isn't as severe but it's still a pain in the butt. 1) get a netipot (I use neilmed squeeze bottle) and flush your naval cavities with warm saline solution (1 whole bottle to each nostril) once in the morning and once at night. You can also close one nostril while squeezing the saline solution through and the solution will flush out through your throat. It takes a little getting used to, but it won't be nearly as bad as the coughing, vomiting, hacking and will actually help. It is supposed to neutralize the ph of your nasal passages and throat. My head feels clearer, I can smell and breath better and after the initial clearing of the thick and then thinned mucous, I'm better all day :). You could also gargle with hydrogen peroxide, salt water or baking soda water - look up good gargle solutions online.2) before you rinse with the netipot, either take a shower and breath the steam and massage your cheeks and nose and forehead (nasal cavities) while the hot water runs over your face to loosen up the stuff that may be dripping (more like sliding) down into your throat. you can also put a hot, wet washcloth over your nose and breath deeply for several minutes, refreshing the washcloth in hot water to keep it hot.3) Stop eating all nuts/nut products for a couple of weeks and see what happens. How great would it be if that's all it took :).4) Get a treadmill or elliptical machine, walk outside (with a few hankies or kleenex :)) for 30 minutes, do a "Walking away the pounds" or step aerobics routine 3 times a week. This will get your blood flowing and strengthen your immune system, which will allow your body to fight bacteria better. 5) A humidifer might help by limiting irritation caused by dryness (but make sure you don't let mold build up in it because that could make it worse).Good luck! Aren't we lucky to have nice husbands :)
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I live in Florida and also have a cough i cannot shake off. I thought it might be reactions to my prescribed meds. for hypertension and high triglycerides, so i took myself off of them for a week or so, guess i will go back on them , that didn't help. This has been going on almost a year, a dry or sometimes a cough with phlegm , the kind that doesnt want to come up or go down. It did stop for about 2 or 3 weeks, might i add glorious weeks, it felt so good not to have an irritation in my throat. That was right after i got over an intestinal flu or bacteria, where as i had diarrhea for almost a week ( i am wondering if a good cleaning of the intestinal track helps it) something you might want to do. Ive gone to the doctor with it, they give me allergy pills and cough syrup, I don't feel really bad most of the time, no fever so i feel it isnt anything threatening, I dont cough all of the time but once in a while everyday i will have a coughing spell, i feel imbarassed that people think i am sick and will spread something to them. Where ever i go i must make sure i have cough drops or candy to put in my mouth whenever i get one of these coughing spells. Allergy pills dont really do much and Musinex seems to make more phlem for me. Are we destined to wonder this world coughing our heads off, i sure hope not.:eek:
    edgarsgirl11 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • I have the very same debilitating mucus problem. It has been going on 6 yrs now only now it never stops. If I'm lucky enough to cough up a mucus plug (Pulmonary Dr. called it that) I get a feeling of relief for a little while but it doesn't last. I have also gone to numerous Dr.'s Specialist, PCP, you name it I've been to them. I was told it was Chronic Bronchitis however I don't have any breathing problem. I am not short winded when I go up stairs, no feeling of an elephant on my chest actually I've had Pulmonary Function Tests with results in the normal range, so how can I be diagnosed with Chronic Bronchitis? I have been given many different Bronchodilators, inhalation medicine to use in nebulizer, steroids, all kinds of stuff that has NO effect on the mucus. I asked the Dr. "how is this medicine suppose to help if my bronchial tubes are coated with mucus" she had no answer. Mucinex is of no use, I am a prisoner to this. I want to know why my body is producing all this mucus? Why isn't there medicine to stop it? If your bronchial tubes are irritated they produce mucus, if you have to cough constantly isn't this irritating them causing them to amp up the production? It has taken me 30 minutes to type this due to the coughing, and spitting into paper towels. I cough so hard I pee myself, I hurt my back, I give myself a raging headache, my ribs hurt, I can feel the flapping of the mucus when I breath but nothing makes it come up. I asked one Pulmonary Dr. if I was going to live the rest of my life with this and she said "maybe", really? Are you kidding me? I can't live like this, this isn't living. I am going to ask the next Dr. I see next week to do a Bronchoscopy to suck this stuff out of me, even if it gives me relief only for a short time it has to be better than this.
    Grechen 1 Replies
    • November 6, 2013
    • 00:50 AM
    • 0
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  • I have same exact problem started when I got pregnant Feb 2013 and still have it still today DEC 4 2014 not ending yet do u know what is wrong
    Anonymous 1 Replies
    • December 4, 2014
    • 10:00 PM
    • 0
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