I am a 73 year old woman. I have had asthma for the past fifteen years and for the past five or so years I have had a problem of excessive mucus production. It is so thick and frequent that I get no rest, day or night. The mucus that I bring up is either white or clear. Many times at night I choke on the mucus and wake up and must spit it out.
I have chronic fatigue due to the effort related to the spitting. I have been to my family doctor plus about five different specialists but all with no help in sight. I have visited my pulmonary doctor, an ear, nose and throat specialist and have had numerous tests including a test to determine if there was a problem with acid re-flux. I also visited a Gastroenterologist and was given medication for acid reflux but this was a waste as I do not have most of the symptoms which are common to acid re-flux or to celiac disease.
Question: Could you please explain to me why I am producing so much mucus and what I can do to eliminate or alleviate the problem?
My first thought would also have been gastric reflux (GERD). The absence of symptoms does not rule it out. An effective trial of therapy for GERD, with a proton pump inhibit, must be for at least six weeks. Please read more about GERD at http://www.nationaljewish.org/disease-info/diseases/asthma/about/relate-other/gastro-reflux.aspx
Excessive mucous production can be a symptom of asthma but can also originate in the sinuses. It is important to know if the mucous is coming from your lungs or your sinuses. If it originates in the lung, you should have a Chest CT Scan to rule out bronchiectasis and other lung diseases that might not be seen on a plain Chest X-ray. Bronchiectasis, for example, could develop at your age secondary to a condition called ABPA. This is an allergic condition associated with asthma or secondary to chronic infection with an atypical type of tuberculosis.
Since, however, your underlying asthma could be the cause, it is important to be sure that your asthma therapy is adequate. Your doctors might even consider a trial of a drug called Spiriva. It is usually used for COPD, but might result in decreased mucous production.
Cut out rice and dairy products. Water will help thin the mucous. A drug called spiriva will help cut down the mucous if it coming from your lungs, if it is coming from your sinus's you will need a CT of the sinus to get to the bottom of this.
GERD can cause these problems also as you know. My question for your doc would be is there any way the asthma has progressed into maybe asthmatic bronchitis?
I have been through the same thing. At its worst I got about 2 pr 3 hours sleep a night. I was waking up choking every few minutes until about 2am when it seemed to go away. After a long process of elimination it has come down to an allergy to corn/maize. When I avoid all things corn I am 100% normal. But a bite of bread containing 1% corn start sets me off. The amount of reaction is related to the amount of corn I consume. I find when I took antihistamine for hay fever it controlled this allergy too. I prefer to avoid the stuff rather than medicate as it feels so good to feel normal after all these years. I first went to the doctor with a persistant cough. It was from all the mucous from the allergy. They treated it like hayfever where avoidance is not really viable. I wish it had been diagnosed years ago - the last few years have been hell. I initally made some prgress avoiding wheat, but the bread we had contained corn too. I can eat bread without corn without problems.
I really hope your problem is an "simple" as an allergy that you can avoid once the cause is identified. I frankly had negligible help from doctors who didn't think food allergy could cause this symptom even after I told them I was better after avoiding wheat. The funny thing s I have no other discenrable problems like hives etc. Trust me to have the oddball stuff.
At one time I had debilitating migranes (migraines) every day after eating a cereal with some form of corn. I also had so much trouble breathing that I couldn't walk 50 years without chest pains. I also had chronic fatigue type symptoms and was tentatively dianosed with fibromyalgia - a symptom that seems to be disgnosed when nothing else can be thought of. I hope you can get over this pronto, I know it's a real nightmare - literally - when you get jolter awake choking all the time. GOOD LUCK!
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