Chronic cough, nothing is clearing it, worried

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Hi, I'm a 20 y/o female and developed a chronic cough a year ago which started out dry. It then, in november became very mucusy (all sorts of colours including a little bit of blood) and I was given antibiotics. Blood test later showed no bacterial infection since or before cough began and chest xray was normal but after antibiotics the mucus cleared up a bit but the cough remained. It feels like the left lung is tight and the right usually feels fine. Some days I don't cough much but others I cough alot and it has a hacking noise. I bring up some clear coloured sticky mucus sometimes but there isnt a lot of it. Was given mire antibiotics at christmas (doxycycline) in case it was atypical pneumonia. These didnt make any difference. 

Given preventer inhaler for a month in mid may even though last year a peak flow test was normal, no improvement except developing some red patches in mouth (doctor has given me thrush gel to help clear it up but its not sore.) I'm due to go back for follow up appointment but I'm just starting to worry as more harmless causes are slowly being ruled out that I could have COPD or something else. I'm not a smoker but in my whole life I've smoked a total of maybe 10 cigarrettes on random occassions but certainly not in the last year. Does anyone have any suggestions, I'm starting to get frustrated that I can't find the cause of this. 

Does anyone have any suggestions that could help? I also sneeze about 4-5 times a day 

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    ps. I have had digestive problems and have been on omeprazole for several months (just stopped it.) I was hoping that might clear up the cough but it didnt. Doctor said as long as I had been taking omperprazole daily, reflux would not be the cause of cough.
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    • Posted

      I'm wondering whether it would be an idea to ask your doctor to refer you for a pft..pulmonary function test. Such a test picked up that I had asthma and a chest cat scan diagnosed emphysema.
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    • Posted

      Can I ask how old you were when you were diagnosed with emphysema and did you have any risk factors for it or did it just come out of the blue? 
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    • Posted

      I don't understand why doctors send people off for CAT scans to diagnose emphysema:  mine was disagnosed with the simple spirometry test, which  isn't much fun but is cheap and not invasive.  It doesn't even need a specialist doctor, practice nurses can do it.  It used to be possible to get home kits but I'm not sure if hey're still available here in Australia.   Long before I had emphysema someone I knew had one to monitor lung function.
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    • Posted

      I feel the docs who eventually refer for a cat scan are being proactive.  They are not relying solely on spirometry but looking for a definitive dx which would not show up on spirometry alone eg. bronchiectasis.

      I am glad you are being looked after well by your docs and practice nurse.  

      cofalot x

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    • Posted

      Dx'd just recently st 70 with both persistent asthma and emphysema. I had been a smoker but stopped 15 years ago. You mentioned post nasal drip. This can certainly cause caughing. Perhaps you can try a steroid nasal spray like Flonase or similar.
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    • Posted

      I agree with coda lot. My doc was being thorough. The spirometry test from what I understand can measure breathing ability and whether or not any impairment is reversable with bronchodilator. The two tests together dx'd the two conditions definitively. This lead to how I have been told to use the meds to treat both conditions. BTW. ..a couple of nodules were picked up on the cat scan which are being monitored and will have another scan after 6 months to check if any change in them.
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  • Posted

    Sorry you're going through all that so young, greatwhite.   If the inhaler you're using is cortisone, which is a great cough preventatve in my experience, you need to be really careful about rinsing your mouth very thoroughly after each use and not then swallowing the rinse water.  This should've been with the printed instructions or on the box.      If you don't do this you will keep getting thrush and it will end up in your gut and if feamle, your genitals - not fun!

    There is a type of genetic COPD which can develop in young people but I don't know a ny m ore about it.  Someone on this forum will know so stay tuned.

    I wish you all the best, it must be scary to not have a diagnosis yet.   Even if your family smoked around you it would be unusual to develop COPD so young.

    Hang in there until you next see your doctor.   I don't think the sneezing is connected, although I do have a feeling I've been sneezing a bit more often since i started using the cortisone inhaler.

     

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    • Posted

      Thankyou for your reply! It was a flixotide accuhaler (the round ones) which I think are more likely to give you thrush than the spacer.

      I have been wondering if it's post nasal drip as I do clear my throat a lot and sometimes have a blocked nose and feel mucus down the back of my throat. I'm just unsure as I really didn't think post nasal drip could cause a cough for so long with this type of chest tightness and discomfort. 

      I'm so frustrated and a bit down about this now because it affects my everyday life and sleep. I'm a student and honestly the doctors where I study are useless, they just think students bring everything upon themselves and couldn't possibly be anything other than stressed and feeding themselves badly which hasn't been very helpful in getting to the bottom of this *sigh* 

      Thankyou though for your reply smile 

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    • Posted

      The Symbicort I use can't be used with a spacer and I don't see why that'd make any difference anyway, the issue is the mouth rinsing.

      I don't know anything about post nasal drip but with emphysema related COPD I still sometimes have a lot of mucus in my throat, hardly ever since I went on to the Symbicort, before that I used to cough at lot at night and wake up choking for breath.

      Can you ask for a spirometry test?  That would tell you your lung function percentage and is the simplest way to diagnose COPD.  

       

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  • Posted

    Hi ,sorry to hear of how poorly you have been/are,,,I'm not in the medical profession but ask your GP for pulmary lung function test ,could be asthma ,or you've developed an allergy to something ,but it sounds as if you've had a rough time of it and it always takes time  to recover from long illness ,

    best wishes hope you get sorted out soon ,

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  • Posted

    I'd counsel caution...It's only right that your GP is covering the simplest things first and it may be frustrating for you but it's absolutely the right thing to do. There are'nt many mysteries to physiology but it's vital to be able to track the aetiology of a thing before treating it. Try to fret less, it'll not make your life easier, and bear in mind that your Dr WILL get to the bottom of it eventually. 'S a shame we don't do as the ancient Chinese did and only pay our doctors when we are well and stop if we're ill..sorta concentrates the medical mind.
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  • Posted

    Hi greatwhite

    So sorry you are having a rough time.  I agree with zoony docs do the more simple tests and build up in necessary.  As hard as it is hun please don't get ahead of yourself, worrying it is this or that.  Saying that it is a balance and if you eventually feel your doc is not being proactive enough, then asking for lung function tests, referals etc. would not be unreasonable.  

    Good luck and let us know how you get on.

    cofalot x

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