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  • Barking cough and enlarged thyroid with nodules

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    Old 07-06-2013, 03:47 PM   #1
    Join Date: Apr 2013
    Location: Illinois
    Posts: 3
    silvericewolf HB User
    Barking cough and enlarged thyroid with nodules

    I've had a recurring cough for several years, which never really caused any problems. It started at a time when I lived in a town with factories, so I figured that was just irritation from the pollutants. It was always nonproductive/dry and was never painful, just annoying.

    I moved, the cough mostly diminished, and I was feeling better. But this past fall, the cough started coming back, and it turned into strong coughing fits that sometimes reached the point where it felt like I might cough up a tonsil, my thyroid, or some part of my voice box. Coughing fits were usually later in the evening, before bed, and were about once a month. Since they weren't super-frequent, I didn't worry about it.

    A few weeks ago, I was watching my nephew and had one of these coughing fits. My two-year-old nephew even asked me if I was okay, and I had to drink a glass of water to feel like the coughing would stop; I almost felt like I was choking on air. Ever since that night, I've had this feeling in my throat like there's something soft lodged in there. It sometimes hurts when I swallow, but I can get this sharp pain in the very front of my throat, almost like a muscle strain or a pinched nerve.

    The lump feeling and the pain seems to come and go at times, and I've had days where I've awakened in the morning to feel like maybe it's gone, but it eventually will come back sometime during the day. I've had some coughs that seem really weak and airy that make me feel overly confident that it's okay to cough, and then I'll have a cough that eventually gets really bad and takes on a barking quality that causes a burning sensation in my upper chest like you'd get with a bronchitis cough. I can never guess if a cough will turn into a fit, or if it will be a weak, regular dry cough or become the intense, painful cough.

    I had to see my general practitioner anyway for a physical, so I brought it up while I saw her. She did the typical physical evaluation with listening to my heart and lungs and looking into my ears, nose, and throat. She felt my neck and took the extra time to feel for any abnormalities. She said my thyroid felt slightly enlarged. She did typical annual blood tests (lipid, metabolic, thyroid, and CBC with differential) and also requested a chest x-ray and a thyroid ultrasound.

    She said my nasal passages appeared to be a bit red/inflammed. Blood test results came back normal (though the cholesterol is high), and the chest x-ray came back normal, as well. The thyroid ultrasound, according to her note, came back showing "some small nodules," and she gave me the name and number of a group of ENT physicians who could review the thyroid results and figure out what to do from here. My GP said the nodules being small suggests they're benign.

    I've looked up what a thyroid nodule is, and I'm not worried about cancer. Apparently a lot of people have nodules and just don't know it, and I guess most are nonsymptomatic. I'd like to think that this pain and lumplike feeling are just inflammation or irritation from this cough, but I don't know what would cause the cough in the first place.

    What causes a chronic cough, and what makes it take on the barking quality? Can a coughing fit that occurs once or twice a month cause the thyroid to enlarge? Could that enlargement encourage the growth of the nodules?

    And, mainly, what can I expect during an initial consultation with an ENT? What kinds of tests have other people had done for chronic cough with enlarged nodular thyroid? And any tips for dealing with the pain would be helpful, as well. Since the coughs are dry, an expectorant doesn't make sense, and I don't really believe in suppressants, since the body is obviously coughing for a reason. I just don't know what it is!

    Any thoughts/insights would be appreciated.

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    coughing, enlarged thyroid, throat pain, thyroid nodules

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