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Chronic Sniffing & Throat Clearing
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Chronic Sniffing & Throat Clearing

I am desperate.

Three weeks ago I was to go off all allergy meds to prepare for a skin allergy test. After the first day, my throat almost swelled shut, I could not breathe (had to use my nebulizer  - I have asthma), had red blotchy skin and hives, was red head to toe, itched intensely all over and then the most bizarre thing happened.

I began sniffing. I felt the urge to sniff, as though mucous were in my nose, but when I blew, nothing came out. I sniffed at least 60-120 per minute, and after several hours, started losing feeling/tingling in hands and feet. I almost passed out from the sniffing. This has happened frequently ever since this day and I notice stress seems to bother it, as does bending forward, exercising and so on. Crying actually seems to help it.

Then the throat clearing began and lasted about 9 hours straight, with occasional 10 second breaks. The allergist said to take my meds - this was too severe - they would do a blood test. Unfortunately the throat clearing has continued too. Sometimes I will not have either for hours, but then I will get like an attack almost and cannot stop and I have never experienced this in my life. I would not imagine I would develop some weird tip at this age. I truly believe there is something very wrong. I always feel like there is mucous in my nose and throat and have extreme pain in my face. It sounds similar to a sinus infection, but I have had MANY sinus infections and not once have I ever had these symptoms, not in my whole life.

The blood test showed that I was allergic to grass (definitely suspected this) and dust mites. I also have a massive heat intolerance causing hives. Right now we are working with the apts to get them to allow a window AC with a doc note, so I have been hot and forced to leave the windows open, which is not great since it is grass pollen season and my allergy to it is severe.

Honestly, these things are the least of my concerns though. Ever since this one day, I have had the chronic sniffing problem (for hours - at least 1 hour per day) and the chronic throat clearing (sometimes 12+ hours - will go days without sleep because of it). This is AWFUL. I do use Nasal Irrigation every single day, the little squirt bottle by the original makers of the Neti Pot. Today finally after using it and blowing quite hard upon completing irrigation on both sides (causing ear popping pains) a large glob of mucous larger than the size of a quarter came out with a pudding consistency and it was a highlighter yellow color. I had to blow repeatedly and HARD after the Nasal Irrigation for this to come out and boy what a relief it was! But within an hour, back to the sniffing. It is embarrassing, my husband keeps sleeping on the couch because he cannot take it anymore and we can only go to see loud movies so I can throat clear or sniff during loud parts.

I have had chronic sinus infections and chronic bronchitis (also had whooping cough 3 months ago) for most of my life. My immunoglobulin levels were all fine. My home is clean and mold free. I have a weak immune system from Anorexia, which I have battled off and on for 15 years but am now in treatment for at an ED Center. I am severely dehydrated from restricting fluids and foods, not sure if that is a factor.

If anyone could tell me what they think this could possibly be, I would appreciate it - this is destroying my life - seriously!

One other strange thing - periodically - EVERY day, sometimes for hours - my hands and/or feet swell up MASSIVELY, get dark red and are hot to the touch. This happens so much I had to get a fake wedding ring because the swelling made my fingers not fit in the ring. I have no idea what causes it. My thyroid is fine - they checked it. It is awful - though not as awful as the sniffing/coughing//throat clearing.

I am on several meds & have several conditions that may or may not matter, so here goes:

- Ultram 300mg/day & Neurontin 600mg/day for Nerve Damage Pain (was mauled by a dog losing half of each lip - had reconstructive surgeries, but enormous pain due to such trauma to the Trigeminal Nerve)
- Adderall (adderrall) 60mg/day for ADD
- Iron, Vitamin D & Vitamin C Supplements for deficiencies and Anemia
- Xanax 1mg as needed for insomnia and panic attacks/PTSD
- Hydroxyz HCL  50mg as needed for Allergies
- Zyrtec 20mg/day for Allergies
-Albuterol for Asthma, either in inhaler form or nebulizer
- I used Afrin 1x per day for 3 days (every other) - so do not believe this contributes
- Excedrin & Imitrex as needed for Migraines

I do not smoke cigarettes, I do not do drugs and I also do not drink alcohol. My husband does none of these either, so I am really never around smoke of any sort.

I am seeing a Doctor this week, but to be honest, while I have seen her for years, I discovered she is just an RN and not nearly as skilled as other doctors seem. If anyone could please help me - I would appreciate it. I had a Sinus infection in January that took almost 4 months to resolve and countless antibiotics. Even that was tolerable, but this constant sniffing and throat clearing is not only painful, it is embarrassing and hurting my marriage! Thank you so much for any info you can share with me!

PS - I am a 27 Year Old Female
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4 Comments Post a Comment
1268057 tn?1462734870
I would be definitely following up with an ENT SPECIALIST/MD ASAP for an endoscopy and/or imaging.   Sounds like your sinuses are becoming completely blocked.  A NP (Nurse Practitioner) is NO MD (Physician).  NPs are ok if you don't have any real issues going on; my opinion.  

In regards to the feet and hand swelling, how long have you been on the Neurontin?      

Avatar f tn
Thank you!

I have an appointment with a doctor tonight, as starting yesterday, I also began coughing up bright red blood, which has only ever happened one other time in my entire 27 years of live, when I had a particularly bad case of bronchitis. This frightened me, so I made the appt immediately. Last night I never even slept. The sniffing went on so long I almost lost consciousness and had lost feelings in my hands and feet, similar to hyperventilating. The odd think is stress seems to make it MUCH WORSE, yet I know the mucous is there, as sometimes I have been able to get some of it to come out. I am not sure what role the stress plays, but I have been under a lot of it lately, so that is not good.

In regards to the Neurontin, I was initially on it for 6 months last year on a VERY high dose of 3600mg a day for nerve damage pain and this dosage caused me to go from being slightly underweight to very overweight - I gained 55 lbs in just 6 months from it. I was able to go down to just 600 mg at the end of December and added Ultram instead (which I also hate taking, but it is the lesser of two evils) and immediately became anorexic, losing 25 lbs in January alone. When I went into Eating Disorder treatment - 12 hours every day - they initially said the swelling was part of the refeeding process, but it never stopped doing it, even months later. I do not believe the Neurontin is the cause, as it did not cause it when I was on that very high dose for 6 months. I am a complete loss as to what is causing it and unfortunately while I was able to maintain the eating and such for a couple of months after treatment was completed, I have terribly relapsed and am severely dehydrated and likely malnourished :( but start treatment again Monday for that. I am not sure if somehow my ED is contributing to this, but I think it would be doubtful.

I hope the doctor tonight can find some solutions, though I anticipate they will just refer me to an ENT specialist which will take weeks to get into and weeks more of suffering. I do hope they can figure it out soon though because it is really frightening. I also hope I do not have to go on prednisone again, as I gained SO much weight when on it for whooping cough & bronchitis earlier this year, so I am not going to take that again. I have never even heard of someone sniffing chronically like this - it is truly destroying my life, robbing me of my sleep and I cannot even go out in public because if it starts up, everyone stares and it is very humiliating.

Well I will post what I find out tonight and I thank you again for your response!

Oh and PS - I am actually going to seek a new PCP. I had not had my eating disorder in a long time and then because of the weight gain from Neurontin, my PCP, knowing of my nearly 15 year battle off and on with anorexia, prescribed me diet pills that literally sent me off the deep end, this being toward the end of this last December. Sometimes I swear I should I have / still should sue her for malpractice - but I realize it was my choice to take the pills after she prescribed them. Regardless, as nice as she is, I think it is best if I find a new doctor.
1268057 tn?1462734870
Keep us posted.

All the best.  :)
Avatar f tn
It isn't sinus problem it's a nervous tic. I'm dealing with the same issues . I sniffle as if I have a cold but I'm not actually stuffy. I use to just blink my eyes for years and since stopping I sniffle. It's a mental game. Just tell your self to relax and try not to have it on your mind. Stress makes it worse .deep breaths help . Just think positive and hopefully it will lessen
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