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Avatar universal

Help!! The coughing is driving me Insane!!

Hi Thought I'd post my persistant coughing story here and see if anyone can come up with any ideas....

It started in January 2007, constant productive coughing most of the day and made worse by going to bed. I was also waking with the cough. I had no cold, no flu symptoms just a productive cough. As six weeks went by I realised this was no ordinary cough and my Doctor prescribed me cough medicine and a course of antibiotics because of it being suspected chest infection.

Then at 8 weeks I was back at my Doctors again who gave me heartburn medicine, as I was complaining of heartburn which I feel at the time was a 'product' of all the coughing not a symptom. I was also given a asthma reliever inhaler...which I tried and does not seem to help in the slightest. In the meantime my coughing steadily got worse. I found during these sudden attacks my nose would suddenly stream at the same time..and I had to rush to the toilet so as to not have a bladder accident. All this coughing has badly affected my bladder control. Sometimes I would cough so badly I would vomit at one point I was vomiting everyday!!

Anyway, I then got a cold and things began to get worse for me. My chest became extremely wheezy and I was having a terrible time sleeping. So back to the doctors I went and this was at the three month stage. He listened to my chest and heard the wheeze and prescribed me asthma steroid spray, along with a steroid nasal spray and antihistimines (for mild hayfever which I suffer with) . He gave me a peak flow diary and tester. (Which I have been using ever since..although my peak flow is below the norm it never really goes bad its lowest has been around the 300 mark)
So I went home and tried the steroid inhaler. Within a few days to a week I noticed about a 50% improvement over my symptoms.
I went back to the doctor a few weeks later who says he thinks I have asthma but I am somewhat scepticle. The reliever inhaler has no affect in my opinion. Also my peak flow is not in the normal range but sits just below it. Although I do believe the steroid inhaler has helped in some way.
My Doctor has made me an appoinment with an asthma clinic in my local hospital and I have the appointment in three weeks time. But I really do think it is not asthma. Surely the reliever medicine would be more helpful, also my peak flow would be worse I think?? Also the only time I was wheezy is when I had the bad cold. Surely I would feel chest tightness and wheeziness??

In summary I have found my cough can be set off by:
Crumbly or flakey foods
Hot, spicy or even pepper in food
Not drinking loads of water in the daytime.
A Hot environment...ie: sitting on a hot bus Or and windy days
Not taking my steroid spray the day before

I have found my cough is helped by drinking tons of water. I permantely walk around with a drinking bottle (very annoying) It can also be eased somewhat by drinking water during an attack.
Also my cough begins to get worse towards the end of the evening at dusk. Then worsens went I lie down and sometimes I will wake cough for a while, drink water then go back to sleep. Then wake again an hour later, drink water and go back to sleep again.
However, some nights I will have a little cough when I lie down and then sleep all the way through the night
Also sometimes when my throat is really itchy and I have had a bad day of coughing, I find I cannot talk much without coughing inbetween sentences and talking to people becomes difficult to do.

Finally, other symptoms that occur at the time of a coughing fit which can occur several times a day..to all day. And last from one minute right up to 15 is :

Streaming nose, which I have to blow while coughing
Coughing up loads of watery phelgm
Occasionally retching and vomiting
Streaming eyes which go blood shot
Extremely itchy tickly throat
Gasping for air between coughs

I am now into the sixth month of this coughing. And although it is not as bad as it was a few months back it is still a major problem for me and makes me feel so down . Also I think my children need a break from rushing to grab me some water everytime I start to cough! lol ...Any feedback will be much appreciated....
40 Responses
219704 tn?1338609105
Just a thought.....
It sounds alot like when I had whooping cough (Pertussis) a few years ago.
Doctors tried to treat me for infections and asthma too, even when I fractured my ribs while having a coughing fit during the 4th month of the ****.

Right around the beginning of the 5th month of coughing fits, my dogs Vet made a crack about me sounding like some of her "patients" with Kennel cough,  a similiar equivalent of human Whooping cough, and in a round about way stated that if it were her, she would take some of my dogs oral prednisone (steriods) 2X a day. I did just that and the intense cough and other symptoms finally calmed way down after about a week, although I still had a few short bursts now and again for about 2 months.
This could explain why the steriod inhaler has helped improve your symptoms so much, although a short course of oral steriods might help to settle things down even more. What made me the maddest was the fact that I asked about whooping cough on numberous occassions and all the doctors I saw said "no way". 6 and a half months into the nightmare I went into the ER for other problems and low and behold there was a huge sign stating, "Pertussis is Here!!
Had they treated me for whooping cough in the beginning, chances are that I would not have fractured my ribs, and it most likely wouldn't have lasted for almost 7 months. I still have problems with bladder inconsistancy though. :(

Anyway, heres some of the symptoms that comes with Pertussis.
Pertussis has 3 stages, catarrhal stage usually lasts 12 to 14 days, paroxysmal stage can last up to 100 days (100 day cough), convalescent stage can last weeks to months.  

Some of it's symptoms:
Coughing attacks  that end with a high-pitched whoop sound as you gasp for air, although adults don't always have the "whoop".
Severe coughing attacks that bring up watery clear phlegm.
The cough may be so severe that you vomit or turn red or blue from the effort.
Fatigue. Nasal congestion or discharge. Sneezing, red watery eyes.
Severe coughing can result in tiny red spots caused by ruptures in blood vessels at the skin's surface (petechiae) in your upper body, as well as small areas of bleeding in the whites of your eyes. You may even bruise or break a rib if your coughing episodes are severe. Coughing may be worse at night and it's not uncommon to experience bladder inconsistancy.

Just so you are aware: From what I've seen during the last 2 years, most adults are intially mis-diagnosed as having colds, asthma or other things like allergic chronic bronchitis and symptoms can last as long as a year or more in some people.

Hope you feel better soon!
Avatar universal
You may have allergies - my doctor told me (after I got a horrible cough after Hurricane Wilma & Katrina came by) that I developed asthma.  I never had it before.  She also told me I was allergic to my cat (who slept with me)  Got the cat out of the bedroom - did a thorough vaccuming of house (with a Rainbow Vac) put my pillows etc in hot dryer for 1 hour - and kept my house cold (I like it that way anyhow)

AFter awhile I stopped using the inhaler and have not been sick since.  Now its coming up again.  I got another cat in the house now.  It may be my cat.  So out of the bedroom again with kitty - and serious vacumming with the Rainbow Vac - using Benadryl & Sudafed until I see my doctor again.  I hope its not my cat.

Miami Girl
Avatar universal
Hello Melly, my wife has been dealing with similar symptoms for almost 2 months now.  Her worst coughing fits though are in the morning.  They're not as bad as they were, but sometimes she coughs constantly for 15 minutes trying to catch  a breath in between coughs.  And then they will be sporadic through out the day.  We feel like excessive mucus is the problem, but not sure if it's post nasal drip or bronchial related.  She has had issues with sinus infections in the past, and this started (we think) from a sinus related infection. She has to clear her throat very often and gets a little tired as the day goes on more so than normal, but other than that, doesn't have any other symptoms.   Can anyone PLEASE HELP!!
Avatar universal
My name is Lori Ruff. Since being a kid I had Bronchial Upper Respitory Asthmatic problems. It seems to me that when the weather got to a point of being so clod I couldn't stand it, that's when the Upper Respitory Bronchial Asthmatic problems would start in . I would have the Whooping Cough,although the doctor called it Croup. A good shot in the but kicked it out in 2 days or so. Just recently in the Summer months and I live in Omaha,NE the 100 degrees we had and the high humidity brought on the problem. Late August early September I have been sick. I've been back to my Critical Care Upper Respitory Doctor twice so far and here is October and I am still sick with the coughing I can't control all the Inhalers that are useless,sucking on cough drops to keep from coughing. If my Pulmonologist can't get it under control then I will see my Cancer Oncologist/Surgeon Head and Neck Cancer Specialist. Here's is what has been recommended for this problem. a Sinus Xray, A chemical Panel, a Spectum for routine smear culture,a Fibroptic Bronchoscopy,and a Laryngoscope to check the whole throat out, and a Swollowing Test for the throat. Then you may have more answers then you care for.

Lori A. Ruff
Avatar universal
Hmmm.. what you have sound exactly like what I am getting. I am only 4 weeks into my persistant (an very annoying) cough. To date I have tried absolutely everything. From lozengers to steroid inhaler and the matter only seems to be getting worse. Last night was my worst night of waking every hour to have a coughing fit. The itchy throat is driving me crazy.... The problem is the sleep deprevation that follows.
This morning however I grabbed my sons humidifier (which we have on hand to help night sleeping when he is congested) and added to the water a Eucalyptus oil. I tell you that its right beside me now and for the last 3 hours havent cracked a cough (which is a first in a long while). I shoved the lid of the oil by my nose this morning (to attempt to sleep in) and I found it really soothing. I look forward to having the humidifyer  on tonight - hopefully it aides in a good nights sleep.  I personally find my cough is more dry than wet which may explain why this is helping. I still feel the tingle in my throat but not to the extent that I need to cough. This week I am going to take myself to a naturopath who have helped me in the past.

All the best..
Cheers ..G

Avatar universal
it's funny you bring up that the humidifier gave you relief....I never had any probs until I lived in australia, both humidity and smog as it was sydney, I developed really bad sinus needing grommets, septoplasty and adenoidectomy. the grommets continued, but when we lived in Ireland with very low humidty, I rarely if ever suffered. now we are living in the carribean, and lo and behold, it is all back. I am again suffering with sinus, crippling violent headaches behind right eye and brought on by excercise, blocked left ear, (need tube back in) and a cough that is horrendous at night. there is a lot of mucus there but I cannot bring it up, also a wheez, but not bad at all in the day!? I do know the levels of natural cortisone made by the body decrease at night and also lying down (now that I have started claritin and nasonex) may be causing the congestion in my head (which I cannot feel but know from the ct scan is actually there!) is filling up in my chest. interestingly, I availed of my daughters ventolin during the night when the cough would not subside, and it really gave me some relief.....???? may try the humidifier....while your cough is dry milly, it may yet be coming to the productive stage, have you thought of trying any mucolytic remedies like mucinex?
Avatar universal
your  coughing symtoms sounds like what i am gong through right now ,it is so uncomfortable especially at nights . i am ging to try the humidifier and the eucalyptus oil and see if the coughing will stop. thank you
Avatar universal
I thought I was crazy with this constant cough.  I get some nasal congestion, but really mostly dry nasal problem, then my nose might just run a lot.  I have a constant drip pouring down the back of my throat, and then it goes into my chest.  Recently its gotten worse since my ears crackler terribly when I lay on my ear.  Both sides, so I toss and turn and cough.  Constantly clearing my throat.  If I take a expectorant, it gives me relief for a few hours.  When I get up in the morning its the worst until I drink my ton of hot coffee, then I get relief.  Doctors told me I have Chronic Bronchitis, Allergies, and GERD.
I cannot take it anymore.  Need some advice.
Avatar universal
Claritin in the morning and Benadryl at night.
Avatar universal
I've been suffering for 3 years with this and have some real ideas, which have worked for me.  One of the keys is to keep track of local pollen and mold counts (inidoors and outdoors, and to keep indoor humidity below 40%). My coughing will start once the blooming, mold and humidity rise.

For me it feels like my throat is closing as well.

I went to 3 allergists, 2 ENTs and 1 pulmonologist. I went through speech and voice therapy for paradoxical vocal fold motion.  I really did need to relax, and the stress of coughing accumulates in the upper neck and back.

The pulmon. was most helpful saying nothing should irritate the esophogus due to hyperreactive airways (upper) ... Tussionex, "nuclear doses of medrol/prednisone", reflux meds, prilosec, anitibiotics if cold, and dry the upper respiratory up so no mucus drips. She also said coughing begets more coughing and once the cycle is set up hard to change.  Dr. Karen Lahive - Faulkner Hospital, Boston, MA My alt. med doc, said MOLD toxicity and allergy. Also tested me for mycoplasma pneum. I tested positive. They are now (at year 2) doing the DNA PCR for mycoplasm... plus lyme (positive bands), etc...
Look up Biofilm as well.  
Book reference: mold warriors by Dr. Schumaker.  www.biotoxins.info. and referrals to docs in your area if you want to follow up.
Now, an allegist debunked the mold theory saying we evolved from caves and moldy places, but he missed the point.  Black mold exposure etc.. can have long term ramifications, and must be actively detoxed from body (exercise, sauna, and cholestramine).  

I noticed undetectable post nasal drip in my throat that caused the coughing as well, and used the NELIMED sinus rinser dutifully 2x daily. (Dr. Alex Binginham, Visions Medical)   Another ENT said Mucinex 1200mg daily, along with everything else.  The Mucinex, (Dr. at Mass Eye and Ear) and the Nelimed, is great together. I used  some herbal knowledge and experimented with various concoctions of solutions in the Nelimed sinus rinse bottle, including:  1 drop of collodial silver and 1 drop of either hydrogen peroxide or grapefruit seed extract in the nasal rinse (as not sure I needed to treat fungus in the nos e(candida), bacterial infection (collodial silver), etc...  This was very effective. Totally resolved the issue!   It also made me realize how much mucus was really up there...

HISTAMINE DROPS worked wonders as well (see an serial endpoint titration specialist) , in stopping attacks cold.
First generation antihistamines (benadryl and chlorphentamine) are the only ones that have an effect on me (which is in the Tussionex, which is sometimes the only way I can sleep when the coughing is really intense.)

Smaller meals, digestive enzymes, apple cider vinegar, liver cleansing herbs, and DGL.  Also helped.  

Here's my theory.  Its acutally 3-4 separate things, creating hell on earth.

1. allergies, mold, pollen, dampness, ACs and fans,  etc... (follow anti candida diet, and gluten free - grains have high levels of mycotoxins). CAUSE post nasal drip and throat itching
Coughing begets more coughing...  

2.  MASSIVE coughing spells, create a form of reflux,(not discussed much but common with singers and athletes)...  negative pressure in esophagus, literally ***** up the stomach acid to our esophagus creating more irritation and continued/more severe coughing.

3.  Ongoing dripping and allergens creates mino or majorr upper respiratory issue, resulting in need for 1200mg mucinex, nelimed nasal rinse, antibiotics, and tussionex.  

Once this pattern of causation is understood, the realization of allergy + digestion + nose becomes clearer.

I hope this helps... its the result of 4 years of suffering and spending tons of money on meds and mds!

Like others, its complex, which is why there is no one magic bullet, its a bunch of things.  
1003776 tn?1360197582
hi there. i now have almost the same thing as you and doctors are perplexed. I cannot go on this way anylonger and am getting depressed more and more. I used to be able to stop the coughing with the tussionex, but for the last few nights, not even that worked. For God sakes man, I have 5 children i have to take care of, and one is a baby. I cant run on no sleep anymore. I cant get any help from family and we cant afford to pay someone to help me. This is been going on 6 months straight now. I feel i have done something to make this happen, and i dont know what to do to stop it. I wrote everything down that you said brightmind and am going to try it all pert near. HELP...i can no longer go on this way, it is affecting my marriage, my relationships with the kids, every aspect of my life. Please reply. Jacqueline.
Avatar universal
I had the dry involuntary cough for 6 months. I was worse any time I was at rest. Woke up several times a night and had to cough until I could swallow enough mucous to soothe. Nothing else worked. Had my ENT check my tghroat, took lozenges etc etc.Frustrated, I researched and found there is a side effect called "The Lisinipril Cough". I had my Dr change my Blood Pressue pills and it immediately cut down the amount of attacks a day and night. It could takes months to end but, at least, it is better. It was drivng me nuts!!!
1289000 tn?1273142315
Check out this site IT has a name IRRITABLE LARNYX SYNDROME Google  the Voice and Swallowing center of Maine at the Waldo county hospital it has a video that explains it in detail
they say it can be cured  and there is another site called The mystery chronic Cough just google it as well finally something that can help
190132 tn?1215007158
Thought I would add my experience.  I've been suffering for over 7 years after having bronchitis.  No help from any specialist at all.  Every test was done as far as I know.  

But I do not cough at night, in a laying position; if you do I would advise you to get a 48 hour Bravo pH study done for GERD and Acid Reflux.  Also I hear if you raise your bed (head board side) so you lay little more up right it helps - don't know I don't cough during horizontal position.

Second, if like me you do cough when you get up (stand up, sit up etc) then try Allerx, a prescription from your allergist, Print this link and take it to him.  95% of doctors do NOT know what it is (allergy) so they will prescribe it wrong. http://www.crtx.com/docs/allerx.pdf

For some reason this one works, it has a different ingredient then other allergy pills.  I worked 100% for me but after 5 years it doesn't work.  Stahist worked but it's too strong and puts you to sleep. Ah-chew worked but went out of business due to finance.  

Great journey of journeys of frustration we all relate to.
Avatar universal
I'm so happy I read some of the comments. I thought I was crazy. I've had this extremely bad cough for 3 weeks. I've been to the doctor 6 times. Always a different prescription actually a bag full. 2 different inhalers, antibotics, some sort of nasal spray. Nothings worked. Nights are the worst not just for me but also for my family. I have no idea what's wrong with me. It's more than just a cold with a bad cough. My doctor insists I'll be fine I just have to be patient. This is affecting the quality of my life. Should I be more pushy and insist that my doctor send me for tests? But test for what?

Couldn't get through this without going through a coughing fit.

Exhausted and Sore
Avatar universal
Annoyed and have symptoms like the most of you, cough are driving me insane as well, the only thing that seems to relieve it are cough drops. For me it stops it completely, but once it melts cough come back with a vengeance. I can't keep popping these like candy, even the packaging says take one every 2 hours. I wish I could see a doctor for some test but I don't have health insurance anymore, been debating if I should go to Urgent Care even though it'd burn a holei n my pocket but I can't take this much longer. I want to go exercise again, and not needing to cough up a storm by just sitting and doing nothing :(
Avatar universal
Melly- I have had the same symptoms for 4 months. Lump in the thraot feeling, coughing spasms, previously unproductive- now with clear mucus.Feeling I need to make little burps. Aggravated by certain foods. My doctor is treating me for acid reflux.I avoid chocolate, caffeine, spicy foods anf fatty foods. I take Omeperazole very day which is to reduce acid production. It was improving, but then I got a cold and guess what? A cough too! So now i'm unsure whether I am coughing due to cold or reflux- also the coughing is further irritating my throat. I would suggest you query Gastro Eosophical Reflux.Good luck! Vanessa
1661237 tn?1302646126
Hi all,  Have any of you been tested for stomach bug Helicobacter. This is a bacterial bug that lives in the stomach, and can be very difficult to treat.  I was diagnosed of having Helicobacter, and treated with a course of antibiotics, twice. I to have a persistent cough and it worse whilst sleeping at night. Also having chest pains which can be caused by this bug. I was given Omeprazole for the heartburn. I still have a night time cough and same symptoms as before. As I said it may take up to 3 courses of antibiotics to rid Helicobacter. I am now waiting to have an endoscope as I still have the same symptoms. A simple blood test can diagnose Helicobacter. I hope this might give you some answers. No harm in finding out if its possible that Helicobacter may be causing some of your symptoms.
Avatar universal
I'm approaching 1 year with the phlegm producing cough.  Daily.  Morning and late evening.  Diagnosed as having possible allergies.  Maybe asthma.  Maybe post nasal drip.  Started when I had a cold and noticed something was wrong.  This shift happened in my chest.  A deep settling.  I feel sometimes in the middle of the night or early morning, I take a deep breath and feel like the bottom of my lung(s) were sticking together and the  deep inhale is pulling the sides apart.  Think of a balloon with a small amount of water in it.  CT scan.  X-ray.  Is that a spot in your lung?  Nope.  Hey, your left valve of your heart may be enlarged.  Come in for a stress test and ultrasound.  In the end, my lungs were forgotten and they've found I have high cholesterol.  I'm almost 35.  I'm very tired of this and the generic diagnoses.  We've paid a ton of money to get me no further than square one.  So here's my guess.  I drink wine every night and I don't exercise much at all.  Very tall and thin, but that doesn't mean much for this coughing/phlegm/whatever.  Anyone else follow this simple daily plan?  I'm talking one point five to two 'bigger' glasses of wine. Red.  Walk enough during the day, but no real cardio doings.  Let me know, please.
Avatar universal
I'm approaching 1 year with the phlegm producing cough.  Daily.  Morning and late evening.  Diagnosed as having possible allergies.  Maybe asthma.  Maybe post nasal drip.  Started when I had a cold and noticed something was wrong.  This shift happened in my chest.  A deep settling.  I feel sometimes in the middle of the night or early morning, I take a deep breath and feel like the bottom of my lung(s) were sticking together and the  deep inhale is pulling the sides apart.  Think of a balloon with a small amount of water in it.  CT scan.  X-ray.  Is that a spot in your lung?  Nope.  Hey, your left valve of your heart may be enlarged.  Come in for a stress test and ultrasound.  In the end, my lungs were forgotten and they've found I have high cholesterol.  I'm almost 35.  I'm very tired of this and the generic diagnoses.  We've paid a ton of money to get me no further than square one.  So here's my guess.  I drink wine every night and I don't exercise much at all.  Very tall and thin, but that doesn't mean much for this coughing/phlegm/whatever.  Anyone else follow this simple daily plan?  I'm talking one point five to two 'bigger' glasses of wine. Red.  Walk enough during the day, but no real cardio doings.  Let me know, please.
Avatar universal
I have been suffering for about two weeks with this irritating cough. I literarly choke while i am coughing. I battle to breath and end up with teary eyes gulping for air. I always had upper respiratory probles like hay fever, asthma and sinus. But this is much more intense. Twice or three times, i thought i will die. And it is worst in the morning. I don't know what to do. I can't associate it with anything. HELP! Can somebody come up with an answear? Thanks!

Avatar universal
I've had the same thing for close to ten yrs. exaclty as you describe it . You are the first person to explain the same symptoms. And I've gone through the same tests . They have ruled out asma , acid reflux , bacteral infection . I have a had pulmonary tests without any answers . I totally understand your frustration . Its miserary .
                          Wayne Fraser
1831187 tn?1317948092
I have had the same thing for longer then I can remember. As best as I can pinpoint it started in 2003, that is 8 years ago.  I thought it was from smoking, so I quit 3 years ago. Still coughing. Went to the Dr for another problem, and while I was waiting for the Dr the nurse heard me clearing my throat. She asked if I did that often and I said yes. Told her about my cough, and after consulting with the Dr., said I had GERD. Gave me a perscription for some acid reflux medication, which my insurance would not cover, so I was told to take Prevacid.  I did, for several months, and it seemed to help a little. However I was still having terrible coughing fits, red watery eyes, bladder accidents and vomit from coughing so hard. Managable if I was at home, but usually I was out, and everyone asking if you are ok, while you are trying to hold back, just didn't work.

My boyfriend went on a weight loss diet with medication from a Dr and I took his pills while he was gone to Italy, and followed the deit. This was the only time I felt relief! The diet was 15 oz of lean meat for 2 weeks, and some free foods like lettuce. Then add some veges and fruit into the plan. A gallon of water a day also. I am going back on it, I can't afford the pills, so hopefully the deit will work.

I seem to notice my cough gets aggrevated by hot temps (I live in Florida!) , dairy, nuts, grains, salt, and carbonated drinks.

I think water could be a key to easing the cough, unfortunately I do not like water, but if I get relief I will learn to love it!!!!

Praying for a Dr to find a magical cure for all of us suffering~

Avatar universal
I too am sick and tired of the hacking and the spitting up of flem.  My bladder goes into overtime and I sound and look like I am having an asthma attack.  My eyes fill up with tears, I cough constantly for a minute or two and it often fills like my throat is narrowing (like I can't get enough air).  And when this happens, I pray that I am close to a restroom!
Over the past several years I have been on inhalers, asthma medications, cough medications, cortizone shots and so on and so on...............nothing and I mean nothing has helped.  I am having a bout with it now and I am sick of it.  The doctors (good as they maybe) don't really seem to know what it is.
I have been to an allgergy testing center at Vanderbilt University.  I am alergic to two things....pet dander and mold.  I do not have inside animals (never had) so that leaves the mold.
I am beginning to think that certain kinds of mold set me "off", especially black mold.  Black mold and other types of mold become airborne when they become dry, and I really believe that most allergy medicines are not very effective on mold spores.
Maybe the doctors in your community have more knowledge of how to treat illness that maybe brought on by mold or maybe some of the readers have some answers.  I have exhausted my brain trying to find a solution.
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