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Old 05-06-2006, 01:04 PM   #1
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Coughing up mucous

Hi all,

I have been diagnoised with Gerd and Gastritis. I was on medicaiton for a long time which cleared up the gastritis. I am no longer on medication. I've chosen to be very careful about what I eat in order to help myslef. I have a question though about mucous. If I do eat the wrong things I get an overproduction of mucous that causes swallowing discomfort. I cough it out (it is white and sticky) and keep doing that until it stops and then the swallowing discomfort seems to ease. My doctor knows about it but he looks at me funny when I tell him about the mucous. I was wondering if anyone knows what this is. Is it from the acid? It happens with almost everything I eat and still happened when I was taking 300mg of Zantax. There are days if I'm very careful that I noticed have very little of it. This has all been such a struggle for me. I don't understand why I even have heartburn as they have not been able to find any phsyical reason for it. Any help on what the mucous is would be much appreciated.

Thanks

 
Old 05-06-2006, 01:21 PM   #2
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Re: Coughing up mucous

It's very unusual to have acid reflux clear up permanently. It's typically a chronic condition. Because it's chronic, you need to treat it agressively - which means you really need to go back on the meds. Prilosec was the first medication in the class called "Proton Pump Inhibitors" that came on the market about 20 years ago. Since then, 4 or 5 others have been introced in the U.S., the most recent being Nexium (which is also from the makers of Prilosec - Astrazeneca). If the Prilosec didn't relieve the symptoms adequately, you should probably give the other PPIs a try - most people here have had to experiment. However, Nexium has an excellent reputation and I personally also take it regularaly and have enormous relief.

Not sure if this will apply to you - but really bad reflux requires 2 doses of PPI per day, not the 1 that most doctors prescribe. Most of the patients with laryngeal reflux (LPR, "throat reflux" - the "coughing reflux") on this board need 2 pills a day and are taking it. If you ahve chronic coughing (like the phlegm you mentioned) you might have LPR. But a lot of LPR patients have dry coughs in which we are just constantly coughing and clearing are throats to get the acid off the larynx.

However, at one point I switched from Nexium to Prilosec (to see if it would work), and I developed these terrible symptoms in the morning, where as soon as I would wake up, I'd run to the sink and begin coughing up thick gobs of mucous from my lungs instead. I went back to the Nexium and stopped coughing.

 
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Old 05-12-2006, 09:19 AM   #3
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Re: Coughing up mucous

Thank you for the reply. I'm very against taking medication for this problem. I don't like the side effects of the PPI's or even the H2 products. I tried Prilosec and it caused me to cough all of the time, Aciphex made me extremely dizzy, Prevacid seemed okay but the swallowing discomfort never went away, Zantac healed my ulcers but the coughing up mucous never stopped. I then had to stop taking it because I began having stomach pains. So far I think Pepcid AC has worked pretty good but of course doesn't take it all completely away and I keep hearing (like you have said) maybe not strong enough for what I have. Overall, I have such a concern about taking these drugs long term. There must be another way!

I've tried DGL and I thought it helped but had a few strange side effects with it.

Anyway, thanks again. I was just wondering if anyone had the mucous clumps with their Gerd or any swallowing discomfort. I wonder if the mucous is my body's way of fighting the acid. Nothing ever gets stuck, just feels very uncomfortable when I first swallow, at the top. Like a big glob is going down. It is a frustrating feeling. I may have an upper GI to rule out stricture but my endocoscopy didn't show a stricture and nothing ever gets stuck thankfully.

 
Old 05-12-2006, 09:54 AM   #4
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Re: Coughing up mucous

I highly recommend that try 2 doses of Nexium a day. This med at this level has helped numerous LPR patients on this board. Most people are able to metabolize Nexium a little bitter - the molecule is a little different - it's an isomer.

Many of us have had trouble with various medications. When Prilosec went OTC, I briefly switched from Nexium to Prilosec to see if it would be an adequate (and cheaper) substitute. The chronic coughing and throat clearing returned, and I had a new side effect - gobs of really thick thick thick mucous that I'd spend 2 hours coughing up upon waking. As soon as I switched back to Nexium, I returned to full recovery again within days. The Prilosec just doesn't have a good reputation among those with larygeal reflux. Remember - Prilosec was the first PPI on the market, and lost it's patent after 18 years, which is why it went OTC. Prilosec's makers introduced Nexium as it's prescription replacement - and though Nexium is rarely considered more effective than Prilosec for straight-up GERD, it's gained a very strong reputation amongst ENTS as being more helpful for LPR.

 
Old 05-12-2006, 12:49 PM   #5
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Re: Coughing up mucous

I may have to give in and try PPI's because I think my condition is getting bad enough where all of the natural things I've tried are not working enough. I've never tried Nexium because each doctor I've seen did not recommend it. Prilosec is something I tried on my own and it went fine except for the coughing so if Nexium doesn't cause that then I'd be alright. I have a very hard time sleeping sometimes and so I'm also cautious about taking any kind of medication that might affect sleep.

I'm seeing my doctor on 5/22. With the Gerd he'll probably be okay with prescribing me Nexium if want it but not sure he'll support a dose of 2x a day because LPR was not the diagnosis. I went to an ENT for a different problem by the way, mentioned my Gerd diagnosis and told him I coughed up mucous all the time. He said looking in my throat he did not see signs of Gerd or LPR!

Thanks again for the helpful insight. How long have you been taking Nexium?

 
Old 05-12-2006, 01:05 PM   #6
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Re: Coughing up mucous

I've been on the Nexium 3.5 years now. It literally saved my life and a have minimal side effects. The only thing that bothers me is a slight decrease in energy that I only notice when working out - but it's not enough to keep me from doing so. Whenever I do anything that involves strenuous aerobic activity, I feel like I have 75% of the energy I did 4 years ago, before this all started. But maybe that just comes with getting older? I'm in my 30s now.

You need to do whatever you feel good about - especially if your ENT didn't see signs of reflux (just curious - did he do the scope with the monitor?) But it wouldn't hurt to try the Nexium 2x a day therapy because what is the worst that could happen by trying it for 2 weeks? The best thing is that you get better right away, and the worst thing is that nothing changes. Even if you can only get a prescription for 1 pill a day, simply take 2. If you respond to the Nexium, you're probably going definitely know it within 1 week. For me it was under an hour. If it doesn't work, stop taking it and move on.

 
Old 05-12-2006, 02:34 PM   #7
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Re: Coughing up mucous

I workout 4 times a week and it might affect me in the same way it does you. I think I'm willing to try. You are right, I could try it for 2 weeks and see. The ENT did not do anything with a scope and monitor. He said just by looking that he didn't see signs of it. I wasn't there though for Gerd or LPR. I think the first thing I need to do is talk to my gastro doc about it all (including Nexium) and see what happens. The other concern of course is the possiblity of having a stricture which I fear is the reason for the swallowing discomfort.

Thanks again. I'm 38 by the way. Did any doctor every prescribe Paxil for your problem? The gastro doc wants me to try it but I of course am reluctant.

 
Old 05-12-2006, 06:29 PM   #8
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Re: Coughing up mucous

Paxil is an SSRI, which is mainly used for relieving depression and anxiety. If you feel you have anxiety, then theren't no reason not to treat it. But if you honestly feel that you don't have anxiety or depression, then don't take it. If you feel anxiety, but only as a RESULT of your physical stomach/throat symptoms, then forgo the Paxil and keep trying to find the right diagnosis and treatment for your condition.

I know what it's like for an undiagnosed illness to cause worry - and I know what it's like for loved ones to be unsympathetic and not one to hear another word about your worry regarding not having a diagnosis. Getting sick shows you you can really trust and who will be there for you when the going gets tough.

 
Old 05-16-2006, 05:18 AM   #9
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Re: Coughing up mucous

Have you ever considered that the problem is not too much acid but too little? I too have suffered with choking mucous and I wont bore everyone with my history of it - but it involved disinterested doctors visits to A&E when I have woken at night choking and hardly able to breathe. Being diagnosed with Asthma (which I haven 't got!) etc etc blah blah blah. Then I started to research my symptoms on the internet and I slowly became convinced that my problem was too little stomach acid - the symptoms of which often mirror those of too much acid. To test this theory I started to take a table spoon of organic cider vinegar (diluted in a small amount of water) - maybe three times a day - or when needed. The results have been amazing. I would urge anyone to research this as a possible cause of their problems. After the age of 35 the hydrochloric acid in the stomach starts to decrease. Without the appropriate amount of stomach acid, food is not digested correctly and the bad bacteria in the gut start to flourish and cause all sorts of allergies in the body. I am now taking besides the vinegar a hydrochloric acid supplement with my food. All these PPIs and antacids will make the symptoms of too little acid much worse.

 
Old 05-16-2006, 06:22 AM   #10
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Re: Coughing up mucous

I just noticed this thread and found it interesting. I have lost very much weight recently and diagnosed with acid reflux. Endoscopy results ok. One of the symptoms that really freaks me out is the constant lump in the throat. Sometimes it feels like very thick mucous that will move neither up nor down so I rarely cough anything up. If it doesnt feel like this it feels like a pea shell that has got stuck very low down in the throat. Does this sound familiar? I keep reacting badly to PPI's so not taking any right now. I wondered if there is something you can take to thin out the mucous so it comes up very easily. It is putting me off eating as its always worse just after I have eaten even if I drink 3 glasses of water with my food.
Any advice appreciated.

 
Old 05-16-2006, 08:54 AM   #11
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Re: Coughing up mucous

Try the organic cider vinegar possible remedy - about a tablespoon with a small amount of water - drink before a meal. I would also recommend swedish bitters which helps digestion. I do not think you should drink 3 glasses of water with your meals. You should wait at least 1/2 hour after eating before drinking water. Its OK to sip a small amount whilst eating. Do try the vinegar and see how you get on!!

 
Old 05-16-2006, 01:16 PM   #12
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Re: Coughing up mucous

Hi
I have heard of the cider vinegar but not of Swedish bitters. What are these please? I am in the UK.
Many thanks

 
Old 05-21-2006, 10:09 PM   #13
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Re: Coughing up mucous

Benzos,

If you have LPR - reflux, like me, the lump feeling in your throat may not be mucous. My doctor explained that with LPR - the acid reaches the throat, which makes it irritated and inflammed. So although it actually feels like a lump, it is really an irritated and inflammed throat. My ENT put a scope down up my nose and down my throat and told me that my throat was very irritated. I have also tried to cough up what I thought was mucous, and could never do it.

I'm on Nexium 2x per day for 7 weeks now, and had a few weeks of relief at the one month mark. I am now feeling the lump again - I'm not sure if it's the meds not working anymore or (more likely) that I started smoking again and not eating the right foods. Back to eating bland and trying to quit smoking again.

 
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