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coughing up brown mucus for about 4 month
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coughing up brown mucus for about 4 month

i am a 23yr old who has been smoking for about 7 years. i believe i am too young to have a smokers cough. i feel fine, i had a checkup and i was told my longs were clear. but i have been coughing up brown mucus everyday for the past 4 months. i have no idea what this is. please help
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15 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
hi... no i havent quit yet (its an everyday battle... but i will quit)  i do not have a fever or cold. i feel fine. This is why im worried.
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125112_tn?1217277462
Susie,

I have a similar situation, though the phlegm has brown flecks, as apposed to being purely brown. If you go to search, type in "brown flecks" it'll take you to my post (pic included).

I've been smoking much longer than you. In the past, it seemed like my lungs would "clear out" once, twice a year around Spring/Fall time. The color was brown.

I hope this resolves for you. I again plan to try to quit smoking but need to get past a few hurdles first.

Best,
~Kate
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Avatar_n_tn
hi kate.

i just saw the picture and it is the same!! i went for ct scan of the neck and sonogram as well and those came back negative. we basically have the same symptoms..
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125112_tn?1217277462
It is disconcerting. Perhaps Bronchitis but I don't cough much so I question it. The only thing that I have read regarding phlegm appearing this way, is Aspergillosis but being an infection, should be seen via x-ray and occurring with a fever etc.

I have read about Alpha 1 but not to be considered unless a diagnosis of  Emphysema (if not the sole cause, itself) prior to age 40.

Susie, I found the patch to be very helpful. I failed (after 4 months) because I had experienced other medical problems and I just "broke." I couldn't take it anymore.
Had my only battle been with smoking cessation, I think I would have made it.

If no permanent damage has been done, I think the only way to resolve this...is to quit smoking. Something I am going to try once I get a few things "nailed" down.

I will be going to the doctors within a month or two and am going to bring this up to my new doc.

I can say, in the past...I've been in very good health. Things crop up and don't go away (as they always had in the past)doesn't do much good for the mind.

I guess you and I are both in the same boat: watch and wait. Hopefully things will clear up but ultimately, think no smoking is the answer. Even if no symptoms were present.

Best,
~Kate
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Avatar_n_tn
Just a guess..the brown could be old blood from an irritation somewhere.  That happens to me (non-smoker) when I have a sinus infection.  Ick.
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125112_tn?1217277462
That is a true possibility i.e. sinuses. As for me, I know it isn't the case.
Having a dental mirror available during a voice "crack"...I am able to see my lower airway.
I had seen the phlegm just below my vocal cords, coughed it up and what I had seen, I posted in respiratory forum-with a picture. Indeed, from my lower airway and not my sinuses.

Many people, from what I understand, are unable to view themselves as I am able to, due to the gag reflex.
So, figuring out from which direction the problem is coming from can be difficult.

~Kate
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Avatar_n_tn
That is what I was thinking, sinus infection. How about an MRI of the sinuses.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thats not true. When one coughs you have no idea where it is coming from (lungs, throat, nose). Most people think when they cough it is due to the lungs, but most often it isnt. Lungs are clear, that is why we cough, to prevent it from getting into the lungs. Also, with the sinuses they drip into the back of the throat, that is what is causing the coughing up.
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158939_tn?1274918797
Have you had a chest x-ray to see if you have early signs of COPD?
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Avatar_n_tn
Ditto achyone

Post Nasal Drip literally drips down the back of your throat, causing you to gag.  It can cause coughing, tickling of the throat, gagging and even stomach upset.

Just FYI.
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Avatar_n_tn
thank you all.. im trying to get an appt. with my doctor for another check up... wish me luck!
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125112_tn?1217277462
Susie,

Best to you! Please, when you do hear back post a new post, "follow up" here.

I hope all goes a-okay for you.

Regards,
~Kate
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm 20 years old and a recently quit smoker. Like Susie I had been a smoker for 7 (almost 8) years. I definitely coughed up a lot of brown gunk, and developed a habit of hawking lougies because of my post-nasal drip. I really don't believe that age has a factor in how smoking effects a person, its different for everyone. I know a TON of people who never had respiratory problems like I did but smoked longer than I, but I also knew people who had much worse problems than I who smoked for less time.
On the quitting front: if you can, try the new rx Chantix. I used it without any side effects at all, and I seriously felt like I was cheating. After about 11 days being on Chantix, cigarettes were so gross I was barely smoking a half of one a day, and now i havent smoked in 12 days! Breaking the habit was the hardest part, but being able to skip over the horrible nicotine "fits" was AMAZING.  Some people are under the impression that the side effects of the drug make it too dangerous to try, but if you are ready to quit and trust yourself enough to monitor your mental well-being while on Chantix, you should go for it!
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Avatar_m_tn
It sounds like you have a common case of chronic bronchitis.  The most common cause of this condition is smoking.  If you're feeling the brown mucus that you cough up originating from deep within the chest, and if you sometimes feel like it's hard to breath, then this is probably the case.  Since I'm assuming you've never had any predisposition to asthma, this is most likely explanation.  Emphysema at your age is probably highly unlikely, though not impossible.  Smoking cessation is the absolute best way to rid yourself of this nuisance.  

In the meantime, there are several ways to ease your symptoms while you quit smoking.  Bronchodilators (beta 2 agonists such as albuterol) might provide quite a bit of relief, and certain steroids (such as prednisone) may be extremely helpful...though the steroids should not be used for long periods of time or if you have a compromised immune system.  

I realize you made this post a while ago, but I wish the best of luck to you and I hope your symptoms are long gone at this point.  However, I hope this information is useful for others seeking answers to their ailments.    

Leonard Tabbins, MD
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Avatar_m_tn
Though very highly unlikely, it's also worth noting that your condition may be caused by a persistent virus/bacteria.  Though most bronchitis is viral (~90%), there are simple tests that your doctor can run on your sputum.  They'll ask you provide a sample and then they'll stain it and look for bacteria under a common microscope.  If you indeed have a chronic bacterial infection, then antibiotics will be your best answer.

Again, this is very doubtful.  Most bronchial infections will clear up within a matter of days (sometimes a little more than a week) even without treatment.  Still, it does happen and your doctor should consider this as well.  

Again, good luck to you.

Leonard Tabbins, MD
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