So pleased I found this website-after having several tests and after being told I was a unique case, I now know I'm not the only person with my problem, which is as follows...
9 years ago, I had a breakdown and afterwards moved into a place for 6 months where the lady let her dogs run all over the beds. I had cats in my childhood and was fine with them, until developing a cat fur allergy in the last 4 years of their life, and ever since then. Since moving out of the lady's house, I have ever since had the most almighty, hacking, crackly, phlegm producing cough which sounds very similar to a smokers cough-I have NEVER ever smoked in my life. It is definitely worse at night and first thing in the morning. Neither have I had any pets since.
I can predict when it will be at its worst, especially after doing a food allergy test for 3 wks where the cough still existed, but no where near as bad as it is generally. It was confirmed that I do not have a food allergy. Other allergy tests included showing I have allergies to cat fur and dust mites only. I've taken all precautions, ie hypoallergenic bed covers, damp dusting.
I have been up to the Royal Brompton chest hospital privately where they did various lung function tests, prescribed me various useless inhalers, and they STILL couldn't decide if I was asthmatic, after 3 years!!!! They promised me loads of investigations to be sent in the post and then in the meantime craftily discharged me. I have since moved further away from the hospital so its not so easy for me to go back. No cough medicines, inhalers, antibiotics or cough sweets make any difference. I have also been on Gaviscon, Peptac and Nexium but to no avail.
After 9 years of pushing for further investigations, I have only just had a pH monitoring study which shows I have a borderline hiatus hernia and 60% failed peristalsis.
After keeping a food allergy diary, it shows that I ALWAYS cough within half an hour of going to bed. Sometimes I can be extremely wheezy, to the point I wonder if I am asthmatic but other times not so much or not at all. I get reflux a lot too and have had a gastroscopy. Reflux often starts after a coughing fit which regularly happens in the morning, which is no doubt due to the borderline hiatus hernia.
Coughing fits often occur within half an hour of eating/drinking, which is what made me think it was a food allergy. It ALWAYS occurs after drinking wine, without fail which made me think it was sulphite allergy. CT of my sinuses shows no abnormality. I constantly get profuse, clear watery phlegm throughout the day at the back of my nose and runs down to the back of my throat. I need a tissue with me at all times, which I frequently use to spit into. I have been prescribed to carry out nasal douching by ENT. Makes no difference, as well as using Sterimar and steroid nasal sprays, which works temporarily but just give me nosebleeds. Also I cannot live on these things for the rest of my life, as there is obviously an unknown underlying problem which needs to be sorted permanently.
At one point, I even thought I had a mild form of cystic fibrosis. I've had blood tests and also a camera down my nose which shows inflammation. I have a feeling regularly of a frog in my throat. Just recently, I get a tickly throat which literally wakes me up in the early hours of the morning, which I can only shift by coughing. I don't think its pollution, as I live in the country. I have also tried Cider vinegar, which doesn't work either, and none of these are long term solutions to my mysterious cough. I had whooping cough as a baby and get mild psoriasis on my scalp. I had wheeziness for a year aged 14 and was again put on inhalers. They couldn't decide back then if I was asthmatic either. The wheeziness came and went after a year.
My GP put it down to dustmites, after an allergy test. But it doesn't matter where I am, how clean the house is (my house isn't that dirty, nor does it have mould) or what country I'm in, I still have the same problem. Its incredibly embarrassing at times, as it can also start at anytime including walking down the road and people think I have the lergy in public. It can be extremely exhausting, and I also regularly have a runny nose and on occasions sneezing follows. Its such second nature now, I lose track. Its disruptive to those people around me too. I don't know anyone in my family who coughs perennially like I do. I know its perennial rhinitis, but what to do about it? I'M IN ABSOLUTE DESPAIR!!
I'm quite cross its taken me all these years of doing my own research and getting stroppy with doctors to push me to have further investigations, since I'm now at the 3rd hospital to try and get answers. They are not the ones who have to live with it. I'm only too pleased I have found this website. I am seeing the gastroenterologist again soon, and not looking forward to it as I know they want to discharge me. I won't allow them to do so until its sorted. I don't know what else to do, all I know is that I can't live with it. I'm in absolute desperately in despair now for a long term solution. Gastroenterology may suggest a hiatus hernia repair, which I'm happy to have done but I don't see how this can fix the coughing and wheeziness long term. I am a 36 year old female non smoker, have had this problem for 9 years, I don't drink alcohol and am not overweight at all, and never have been. I work as a gardener for a living so I am regularly out in the fresh air, and still have this problem. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. As a last resort I may try hypnosis in case its an anxiety thing, which I don't think it is, as it starts up even when I am totally relaxed on holiday. Many, many thanks.