Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Chronic cough for one year

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 7 Replies
  • Posted By: utopian
  • June 5, 2010
  • 00:24 PM

Hi there,

I'm just going to explain my story. I feel stupid coming online for help but I'm at my wits end about this. To explain before I tell the story.. My cough is a chronic cough. It is worse at night than it is during the morning. I cough to the point of throwing up, and when I throw up the issue does not relieve itself. I have a hard time breathing and doing my job because of this. I don't get any sort of acid feeling. And when I do talk, my voice seems very hoarse all the time and I am constantly clearing my throat or coughing.


About a year ago, I went to my best friend's graduation, and ended up getting sick because someone else there had bronchitis. I ended up getting the same symptoms... bronchitis, but it was different than any other time I had it. I had this really terrible cough that would just not stop. I went to the doctor, got antibiotics, and also an albuterol inhaler, but it didn't help. The "cold" like symptoms of the bronchitis went away, but the cough persisted. I coughed to the point of throwing up almost every night, and I ended up going to the ER.

When I was at the ER I was told I might have pertussis, and was referred to a lung specialist. I went to her and followed up, because I was still not better, and I found out the pertussis test was negative. But my cough still wasn't gone.

She had me tested for asthma using a methacholine challenge, which came back positive. I had a spirometry done which was negative, as well as a blood gas? test. I wasn't surprised about this because I've gotten bronchitis a lot in my life. So she put me on an asthma inhaler.

Regardless of this diagnosis, the cough has not stopped. I still cough most days to the point of throwing up. She referred me to numerous doctors--gastroenterologist, ear-nose-throat doctor, allergist, etc.. No one seems to be able to figure out what's wrong with me. So after all of this, I came back to her, and she told me to seek another opinion.

I found another doctor and we went through the same steps. He did another asthma test and the results came back that my asthma is not in any way severe enough to cause my coughing. And he told me that we're going to do a bronchoscopy and he can't help me after that, that I would need to seek a third opinion.

The ONLY thing that has stopped my cough was a small dose of prednisone I was on for a week. It went away completely but after I stopped taking it the cough returned. However because of the side effects associated with prednisone no one is going to put me on them again.


What should I do? Anything anyone can recommend?


Below are the tests I have done so far and the results of each:
Methacholine challenge: positive for asthma
Spirometry: Negative for anything wrong
Endoscopy: Nothing found, even after several areas were biopsied, no evidence of acid reflux
Barium swallow test showed no evidence of acid reflux
Scope down throat did not show any issues
Blood tests show normal blood levels for white blood cells
CT scan of chest and nasal cavity were clear
Xray of my chest was clear
Blood test by allergist showed no problems
Allergy test showed no major allergies to common issues for asthmas (ie pollen, trees, cats, dogs, etc)
I have a bronchoscopy scheduled for next Friday, I should know the results in two weeks.


Here are medications I've been on:
Amoxicillin, Zithromax, albuterol, advair inhaler (all strengths), prednisone (only thing that made the cough go away), symbicort, promethazine, nasacort, rhinocort aq, singulair, claritin, zyrtec.. I might be forgetting a bit.

Thanks for any help or recommendations you may have for me.

Reply Flag this Discussion

7 Replies:

  • hello,some times dr's are unable to find the allergins in asthma cases.now its ur problem to find out your allergin.as the cough is also associated in the mornings and during nights,the allergin is constantly with u.try to find it out.some times the food we eat,water,drinks,even soaps,clothes,surf used for washing clothes may act as allergins,try to find the thing ur allergic to and never use the thing again.even my uncle suffered with same problem where he could finally find that he is allergic to black gram which he was consuming daily,apart from these things the pranayama techniques of yoga can greatky help u.i also like to leave a suggestion be before ending,chronic coughs may also be associated with some cardiac problems,rule out for that.hope u recover soon.take care.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thank you for the suggestion.I have a question. Does this sound like this could possibly be a mold infection? I was tested for mold allergy and I was negative but I have seen mold in my house (it's a dark black color), and I'm considering getting a mold testing kit to identify it. I have a bronchoscopy this Friday so I don't know if that might result in some answers.. But I'm just wondering the possibility of this. Also, how would they test to see if I was infected by mold? I tried looking up how online and I can't seem to get any answers.
    utopian 4 Replies Flag this Response
  • I too have a chronic cough and am at my wits end. I have had the bronochoscope and it was awful. I was awake although numb and it set off the worst asthma attack ever! The only thing it showed was bronchitis in my right lung and some infection. So again I was back on antibiotics - other wise all was ok... Had pertussis last year, it has a hundred day cough. That was rough but I got well. I am not getting well this time and this cough is different. i have tried many different things (on my own) to see if could be the cause. One suggestion was it could be food - so i wrote down everything i ate...didn't matter what i ate or didn't eat I still coughed. Some days are better than others but mostly the quality of life sucks. i take synthroid, bp meds (coughing has sent my blood pressure up), Some bp meds cause cough but what i take does not, also take prevacid. I currently see an allergist, a pulmanologist, a gastroenterlogist. a endochronologist and a primary care physician. You would think one of them could figure this out. I have controlled asthma, take 3 allergy shots weekly, GERD and Had a thyroidectomy (follicular variant cancer). the latest:The barium swallow showed a small hiatal hernia. My primary care physician said with this it may be an issue of increased bile production caused by gall bladder and the hiatal hernia exacerbates the problem - causing the cough. SO yesterday I had an abdominal sonogram to see about this. No results yet. I wish i had an answer for you or you for me... I will keep at this thread - hope you will too! Perhaps one of us will get an answer to share. :confused:
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Interesting case! I'd recommnd you carefully write down all the foods you eat, and then go to a nutritional specialist and talk to them. I have been a skeptic about Nutritional science but have had interesting experiences where I've seen things like ADHD and even Dyslexia treated because the individual was eating foods that were causing reactions.chronic cough is commonly associated with FOOD INTOLERANCE like Dairy intolerance and also Gluten intolerance, and Yeast sensitivity!my son had a constant chronic cough, runny nose, and even a light rash. The doctor repeatedly diagnosed it as strept (he actually tested positive once), or Fifth Disease, or mild allergies. But we eventually got the ideea that the rash looked consistent with a gluten allergy. We took him off wheat and VOILA! the rash disappeared, but so did the cough and runny nose.We also found that he has waht we think is dyslexia, and have researched and found a connection to wheat gluten allergy and dyslexia, so we'll see if he stays on a gluten free diet for a year if that improves.I really recommend that you look into your diet!!!The other thing to think about would be mould in your home. Do you also get the following symptoms?Sneezing Itching Skin Redness and skin irritation Watery Eyes Itching Eyes HeadacheMore extreme symptoms:Constant Headaches Nose Bleeds Feelings of Constant Fatigue Breathing Disorders Coughing up Blood or Black looking Debris Nausea Diarrhea Vomiting Loss of Appetite Weight Loss Hair loss Skin Rashes Open Sores on the Skin Memory Loss "Short Term" Neurological & Nervous Disorders Sexual Dysfunction Swollen Glands in the Neck Area and under the Armpit Sudden Asthma Attacks or Breathing Disorders Ear Infections and Pain Chronic Sinus Infections Chronic Bronchitis Pain in the Joints and Muscles These are typical of mould exposure, which is fairly common in some areas of the country. (what state do you live in? is it hot and humid?)
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Interesting case! I'd recommnd you carefully write down all the foods you eat, and then go to a nutritional specialist and talk to them. I have been a skeptic about Nutritional science but have had interesting experiences where I've seen things like ADHD and even Dyslexia treated because the individual was eating foods that were causing reactions.chronic cough is commonly associated with FOOD INTOLERANCE like Dairy intolerance and also Gluten intolerance, and Yeast sensitivity!my son had a constant chronic cough, runny nose, and even a light rash. The doctor repeatedly diagnosed it as strept (he actually tested positive once), or Fifth Disease, or mild allergies. But we eventually got the ideea that the rash looked consistent with a gluten allergy. We took him off wheat and VOILA! the rash disappeared, but so did the cough and runny nose.We also found that he has waht we think is dyslexia, and have researched and found a connection to wheat gluten allergy and dyslexia, so we'll see if he stays on a gluten free diet for a year if that improves.I really recommend that you look into your diet!!!The other thing to think about would be mould in your home. Do you also get the following symptoms?Sneezing Itching Skin Redness and skin irritation Watery Eyes Itching Eyes HeadacheMore extreme symptoms:Constant Headaches Nose Bleeds Feelings of Constant Fatigue Breathing Disorders Coughing up Blood or Black looking Debris Nausea Diarrhea Vomiting Loss of Appetite Weight Loss Hair loss Skin Rashes Open Sores on the Skin Memory Loss "Short Term" Neurological & Nervous Disorders Sexual Dysfunction Swollen Glands in the Neck Area and under the Armpit Sudden Asthma Attacks or Breathing Disorders Ear Infections and Pain Chronic Sinus Infections Chronic Bronchitis Pain in the Joints and Muscles These are typical of mould exposure, which is fairly common in some areas of the country. (what state do you live in? is it hot and humid?)Well, here's the thing--I've seen actual mold in our house, in our bathroom, and it's not going away no matter how much we clean it, and there's parts of the bathroom I can't clean (behind the sink I bet there's some, but it's attached to the wall because it's the sink base, and also I would suspect possibly in the walls). We're in a rental so I can't just tear things out and have a guy fix it, I'd probably just have to move.I'll try to write down what I'm eating and eliminate some things from my diet, so far though I've gone days without eating with no difference at all in my cough.. just because I thought it was diet related.As for now, I had the bronchoscopy yesterday, which was insane because afterwards I got a fever of 103 until it broke several hours later. Now I'm feeling ok except I feel like I have bronchitis (the cough has changed, it's not as forceful as it was), and I'm coughing up green mucus since about an hour or two after the procedure, where as before the procedure, I have not. I find out the results of the culture and biopsies done on Friday. At least I'm actually coughing something up now, I'd much rather have a productive cough than a cough that does nothing except make me miserable.
    utopian 4 Replies Flag this Response
  • Well, here's the thing--I've seen actual mold in our house, in our bathroom, and it's not going away no matter how much we clean it, and there's parts of the bathroom I can't clean (behind the sink I bet there's some, but it's attached to the wall because it's the sink base, and also I would suspect possibly in the walls). We're in a rental so I can't just tear things out and have a guy fix it, I'd probably just have to move.I'll try to write down what I'm eating and eliminate some things from my diet, so far though I've gone days without eating with no difference at all in my cough.. just because I thought it was diet related.As for now, I had the bronchoscopy yesterday, which was insane because afterwards I got a fever of 103 until it broke several hours later. Now I'm feeling ok except I feel like I have bronchitis (the cough has changed, it's not as forceful as it was), and I'm coughing up green mucus since about an hour or two after the procedure, where as before the procedure, I have not. I find out the results of the culture and biopsies done on Friday. At least I'm actually coughing something up now, I'd much rather have a productive cough than a cough that does nothing except make me miserable.Just updating as to what's happened.I went through the bronchoscopy, ended up contracting bronchitis, now I feel better from it, but my symptoms have not improved with my coughing. The pulmonologist said that during the procedure my oxygen level dropped several times, and wanted me to go get a sleep study for sleep apnea. Wouldn't shock me, as my father has sleep apnea as well. I got this done last week, and apparently they're waiting three weeks to tell me the results.As for the bronchoscopy, all results from it came back negative for any infection or cancer, everything looked normal in my airways. He said there was nothing that should be causing this. I also mentioned to him that I had mold in the house, and I got a mold testing kit and I'm sending off some samples to be lab tested.. But he said this could cause this. But still, to him, my condition is not a large concern because it doesn't seem so severe to him. I may leave my house for a week or two to see if me leaving the bit of mold we sometimes see in our bathroom is going to change anything. I guess we'll see.The good thing about the sleep study is I had a coughing spell all over again while I was there and almost threw up as I do most nights. This really alarmed the sleep technician and she was seriously worried about me, so I explained to her as best as I could about how I don't think the lung specialist took me seriously about me being sick, and she said she would reiterate to the doctor that I am NOT normal, and this is REALLY life threatening because it seems to her like I'm having a severe asthma attack. She also recorded as much as she could of me coughing, which wasn't the most severe part but was the part in which I was wheezing a bit (which I don't always do), and coughing. I had already used my rescue inhaler less than an hour or two before I got there, and I had taken all my regular medications, but it didn't stop me from coughing, just like today it didn't. I still think this doctor will not believe my illness, and how much it destroys my life, and how much I worry every time it happens because I have a hard time breathing because I'm coughing, and I throw up so often. I don't see why no one takes me seriously. So.. I guess I'll update this again after I find out. So far, I'm not hopeful, I'm frustrated and angry. I'm scared that I'm never going to find out what's wrong with me and suffer like this until the day I die. And I don't want to live like this.
    utopian 4 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hi there,I'm just going to explain my story. I feel stupid coming online for help but I'm at my wits end about this. To explain before I tell the story.. My cough is a chronic cough. It is worse at night than it is during the morning. I cough to the point of throwing up, and when I throw up the issue does not relieve itself. I have a hard time breathing and doing my job because of this. I don't get any sort of acid feeling. And when I do talk, my voice seems very hoarse all the time and I am constantly clearing my throat or coughing.About a year ago, I went to my best friend's graduation, and ended up getting sick because someone else there had bronchitis. I ended up getting the same symptoms... bronchitis, but it was different than any other time I had it. I had this really terrible cough that would just not stop. I went to the doctor, got antibiotics, and also an albuterol inhaler, but it didn't help. The "cold" like symptoms of the bronchitis went away, but the cough persisted. I coughed to the point of throwing up almost every night, and I ended up going to the ER.When I was at the ER I was told I might have pertussis, and was referred to a lung specialist. I went to her and followed up, because I was still not better, and I found out the pertussis test was negative. But my cough still wasn't gone. She had me tested for asthma using a methacholine challenge, which came back positive. I had a spirometry done which was negative, as well as a blood gas? test. I wasn't surprised about this because I've gotten bronchitis a lot in my life. So she put me on an asthma inhaler.Regardless of this diagnosis, the cough has not stopped. I still cough most days to the point of throwing up. She referred me to numerous doctors--gastroenterologist, ear-nose-throat doctor, allergist, etc.. No one seems to be able to figure out what's wrong with me. So after all of this, I came back to her, and she told me to seek another opinion.I found another doctor and we went through the same steps. He did another asthma test and the results came back that my asthma is not in any way severe enough to cause my coughing. And he told me that we're going to do a bronchoscopy and he can't help me after that, that I would need to seek a third opinion.The ONLY thing that has stopped my cough was a small dose of prednisone I was on for a week. It went away completely but after I stopped taking it the cough returned. However because of the side effects associated with prednisone no one is going to put me on them again.What should I do? Anything anyone can recommend?Below are the tests I have done so far and the results of each:Methacholine challenge: positive for asthmaSpirometry: Negative for anything wrongEndoscopy: Nothing found, even after several areas were biopsied, no evidence of acid refluxBarium swallow test showed no evidence of acid refluxScope down throat did not show any issues Blood tests show normal blood levels for white blood cellsCT scan of chest and nasal cavity were clearXray of my chest was clearBlood test by allergist showed no problemsAllergy test showed no major allergies to common issues for asthmas (ie pollen, trees, cats, dogs, etc)I have a bronchoscopy scheduled for next Friday, I should know the results in two weeks.Here are medications I've been on:Amoxicillin, Zithromax, albuterol, advair inhaler (all strengths), prednisone (only thing that made the cough go away), symbicort, promethazine, nasacort, rhinocort aq, singulair, claritin, zyrtec.. I might be forgetting a bit.Thanks for any help or recommendations you may have for me.Please don't give up live every thing in the hand of the lord sometimes we think our situations are the worse but it's not always the case I have the same every thing you mentioned there are so many sickness in the world today doctors don't know what to do they experiment all kind of drugs on you knowing very well it will not work because they don't know what is causing this persistent coughing that won't go away I started coughing from June third 3rd 2010 until now I have change my diet no meat chicken fish and spice and nothing has change all I can tell pray and ask god for healing do it on a daily basis and I will also keep you and others with the same condition in my prayers thank you for sharing
    merlyn 1 Replies
    • January 17, 2012
    • 02:25 AM
    • 0
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