Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
Brown flecks in phlegm
About This Forum:

This forum is for questions and support regarding lung and respiratory issues. such as: Allergies, Asthma, Bronchitis, Colds - Flu, Chronic Cough, COPD, Cystic Fibrosis, Emphysema, Fibrosis, Lung Abscess, Nasal Polyps, Pleurisy, Pneumonia, Sarcoidosis, Sinusitis, Tuberculosis.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Blank Blank

Brown flecks in phlegm

Starting back in last winter, I noticed (on occasion) this thick (occasionally with the consistency of applesauce) clear/white fhlegm laden with brown flecks within.

See photo:
<a href="http://s2.photobucket.com/albums/y39/KateInAlaska/?action=view&current=spit.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y39/KateInAlaska/spit.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting"></a>
Again, I saw it in March (I quick smoking from Jan-May). Then continually from mid July onward. I have been on numerous anti-biotics this year (tonsillitis/infection).

Last month, an x-ray was taken of my lungs (and last year, for that matter) and both came back "clean."
The Doc had me also blow into a tube, to see the volume of my forced blow and I did fall within average.
I was given a z-pack in case it was a touch of infection. However, it didn't work.

I tend to spit this up (usually don't have a cough, only sometimes and it's mild and short lived) mostly in the morning.
I do have post nasal drip and LPR.
Sometimes, either while I am laying down or have laid down for awhile-upon taking a deep breath-it seems there is abit of a rattle in my left, lower lung.

I know this phlegm is coming from my lungs because in having looked down my throat months ago (my voice was effected)I could see this gunk stuck just below my vocal cords. I cleared my throat, spit and it came up.

My question is, if my x-rays are coming back clean: do you know what is going on here?

Thanks much,
~Kate

P.S. was tested for Tuberculosis and it came back neg.
Related Discussions
251132_tn?1198082422
Since a chest CT scan is more sensitive and shows more detail than a chest x-ray this could show what is going on in your lungs.  If the chest CT scan comes back clean, then a bronchoscopy would be the next step.  During this procedure a bronchoscope is passed through your nose into your windpipe to look into your lungs.  A bronchoscope is a flexible tube with a small camera at one end.
6 Comments
Blank
125112_tn?1217277462
>I tend to spit this up (usually don't have a cough, only sometimes and it's mild and short lived) mostly in the morning.<

Need to clarify: mostly in the morning but this still comes up some throughout the day.
Just that the heaviest of it comes before noon.
Blank
125112_tn?1217277462
I guess that I probably should add, I'm 34.
I'm experiencing no pain with my lungs/chest. As for the rattle during/shortly after I raise up from bed: after taking a few deep breaths, the "rattle" -vibration (hard to describe)disappears.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
According to ppl who quit smoking this is a normal thing to appear as the lungs are clearing themselves of all the gunk from when you where smoking.
Any other news ?
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Hi Borninqistive


You have had good feedback, so I won't labour the point, your picture is very clear and as a smoker with lung problems I can relate to the image.  I have a similiar picture, post cessation too, phelgm changes are often a sign of infection particularly green or yellow or blood stained you have neither from the image, but if you are worried about other indications like pains, or SOB you should see your GP and be referred for CT Scan and bronchoscopy - ( which if done right really isn't too bad - mind you I've only had two, the first was a breeze and I was ill at the time, the second one was to see if the illness had cleared and was a little more traumatic, more painful afterwards, but I think I put up a bit of a fight, I was awake for both. )
X Rays can miss things and can't always give a thorough picture but good radiolgists don't miss much. I would look at it this way, your x Rays are clear, you don't seem to have other ailments or symptoms and the colour isn't indicitive of anything bad, the bronchitis could be the withdrawl (withdrawal) from the cigs, and so could the sputum.  If it puts your mind at rest seek a second opinion but please don't worry yourself ill, you've had good news so far.

Keep well
Jane

Sorry didn't mean to be so long winded but I know what the worry feels like!

Blank
125112_tn?1217277462
I wasn't expecting a response, due to time passing. Thank you both for responding.

The bad news is, that I began smoking first of May.
In the past, I have seen this phlegm but only on occasion. While I was not smoking, only saw it twice. Then it became nearly daily from July onward.

What I don't like, is the "rattle" in the A.M. coming from my left lower lung (or thinking that is where it is coming from anyway). The rattle disappears upon taking some deep breaths in. Perhaps it's been there prior and I simply didn't notice. I am not a deep breather by nature, so perhaps I only noticed it when I took in some deep breaths that early July morning.

I will be bringing this up with my new doctor. It bothers me when things come up that are not common for me.

I suspect the only sure fire way to get rid of it (if no permanent damage is done) is to quit smoking.
One awfully hard, heck of a thing to do. I was so "sure" that I was going to make it this time. It's a devil, alright.

Thanks again, I appreciate your having taking the time to respond.

~Kate

Blank
Avatar_n_tn
A related discussion, rattles in the morning was started.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
A related discussion, Help was started.
Blank
Continue discussion Blank
This Forum's Experts
242587_tn?1355427710
David Tinkelman, M.D.Blank
National Jewish Health
Denver, CO
Blank
Request an Appointment
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Asthma Tracker
Asthma Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Blank
Allergy Tracker
Allergy Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating Control: How to St...
Aug 28 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank