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Coughing up clear phlegm
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Coughing up clear phlegm

I am 27 and a non-smoker.  About 1.5 years ago, I had a really bad chest cold, my doctor said I might have even had a touch of pneumonia.  The cold eventually went away, but since then I have been consistently coughing up clear phlegm 10-20 times a day.  Usually, it's just small amounts, and I cough it up to try and clear my lungs and throat.  I went to my doctor about a month ago and he performed a lung function breathing test and checked my blood oxygen levels and said that everything was normal.  So he prescribed Nasonex which I have been taking for about a week, but it doesn’t seem to have made much difference.  He also prescribed an acid reducer to see if it was GERD related, but that has not made much difference either.  

Also, the coughing seems to be worse right after I eat and when I wake in the morning.  Is it possible for excess phlegm and mucas to drain into my lungs?  Should my lungs clear this without me having to cough so much?  

I am wondering if you think these symptoms are due to post nasal drip, GERD, or possibly something more serious like Chronic Bronchitis.    
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242588_tn?1224275300
It could be any 1 of the 3 possibilities you mention; postnasal drip, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or chronic bronchitis.  But, the onset, following a bad chest cold suggests a change in the mucous secreting glands of your bronchi, which is a form of chronic bronchitis.  It could be that, in response to a bad infection, you developed either chronic bronchitis or asthma or a condition called reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS), which refers to the sudden development of asthma following an insult to the lung.  However, the association with meals and on awakening does suggest gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

While continuing an "acid reducer" you should adhere to recommendations regarding conservative measures to reduce reflux.  Please read our GERD information at http://www.nationaljewish.org/disease-info/diseases/asthma/about/relate-other/gastro-reflux.aspx to learn more.  Ask your doctor to perform a chest x-ray and a methacholine challenge, which is the gold standard for diagnosing asthma.  Also ask your doctor to consider the above diagnoses and a trial of asthma medicines, including an inhaled steroid.
3 Comments
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190132_tn?1215010758
Hi Reinfeld,
Let me know if you ever figure it out as I've been searching for a cure and "all" doctors can't figure it out. I've had numerous test and drugs and NOTHING.  I had bronchitis then the cough settled in and never went away.

I hope yours turn out simple to solve, but if it isn't helpfully someone will help us out.

Here are the test I've done:
2-Bravo pH monitoring
1-CT scan of neck check & sinus
2-Check x-rays
1-Bronchoscopy
4-Asthma testing

I know I had more I just can't remember anymore

Drugs from acid reflux to flonase to allergy pills, you name it I've probably took it and months at a time too - NOTHING works.  Oh yeah, one pill did work for a while.  You might want to try it.  A lot of doctors never heard of it so look it up on the internet and take it in to get it prescribed or have them order you some simples to try it first.  It helped but it didn’t solve the problem plus it stops working later.  Get the regular Allerx, not the DX or what ever, the original.  Or try Ah-Chew (regular).  Remember get the info from the internet before you go into the doctors.   I think they both are not in the medicine book yet.

Well hopefully someone can help us.
rentwest at gmail.com


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Avatar_n_tn
I have suffered for years with the same affliction.  I was very fortunate to have a reader suggest I start checking into a corn reaction.  He was right.  Corn is everywhere..even in coffee granuals to prevent it from clumping.  I found the corn syrups to be the most problematic.  The volumns of phlem are vastly reduced but I still get a tickle in my throat that drives me to cough attacks on a daily basis.  I need to learn a technique to prevent my body from over reacting to everything it is exposed to.  For you, the corn might be a good start.
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Avatar_n_tn
A related discussion, cough was started.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have the same thing and it is probably asthma, try to go to a repitory/ pulmonary doctor to check if it is. My doctor prescribed me an adver inhaler for 2 weeks and a nasal spray and I was cured. But for me it comes back whenever I get really  sick, like recently I had an upper respitory infection and it came back.  
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Avatar_m_tn
A related discussion, Could this be Valley Fever was started.
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