A forum for people who suffer from chronic or persistent coughs to share ideas... these don't have any sort of official approval so you try any of them out at your own risk. I've consigned some of the more unusual ones I received to the Oddities bin on the left. I've also listed very simple remedies separately. If you're a sufferer, good luck, and please report back by commenting on the particular posting if you find success. Or just comment to the most recent posting and I will pick it up.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The cough is easing off!

To Morven, and anyone else who's interested.... the morphine is definitely helping. I've been taking 10 mg. twice a day for the last week, and the coughing has eased during the day and evening. It's such a huge relief, though I'm not convinced that it's actually curing it. I still cough a lot in the morning so it feels like it's still lurking. But maybe I just need to allow time for my system to settle back to normal?
Something else that's also helping is that I've cut down my alcohol consumption quite a lot. That's partly to do with not wanting to mix drugs and alcohol too much, but I have also found that the less alcohol I have, the better chance I have of a good night's sleep.
Anyway, life's definitely taken a turn for the better, and I'm about to go and spend Christmas and New Year in Thailand so that will be another boost for my physical and mental well being!
Merry Christmas to all who've shared in my blog.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Marc, UK

Hi, have you tried chiropractic? I used to have cough for 4 months (dry, irrative cough) and I visited chiropractor who found tight joints from my back - after 1st treatment the cough was gone ;)

NP writes: I've had a similar suggestion from an osteopath, so I may investigate this one further.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Latest news from NickP:

I promised to report back a few weeks ago ..... nothing's working yet I'm afraid. The Bowen therapy was an interesting experience - very relaxing, and did produce a sort of result. For about five months I had had a pain in my side, between my ribs, which I and the doctors put down to the repeated coughing - pulled a muscle or ligament, maybe even cracked a rib, and the continued coughing wouldn't allow it to heal. Anyway on the day I went for my first referral it was particularly painful. I told the therapist, Alastair, about it and he said he'd try to help. Well I'm not sure what he did with his soft tissue manipulation, but by the end of the session it had gone, and hasn't returned.
But the cough shows no real signs of abating. I tried stopping drinking alcohol during the week, which helped me to sleep better but didn't affect the cough. I stopped chewing gum for a while too and drank lots of water - no difference. I've just finished a two-week course of marshmallow tablets, suggested by a couple of my blog correspondents - all to no avail. And now I've started on a course of homeopathic tablets prescribed by a lecturer at work ... we'll see.

Monday, October 29, 2007

NickP wrote:

I received a letter addressed to England, University of Central Lancashire, Nicholas Peake ... from Hong Kong, all written in beautiful Chinese characters. Fortunately, we have lots of Chinese students at my university and one of them translated for me, as follows:
Black bean: about a quarter of a kilogram.
Water: amount of 1 day drink (may put in small amount of sugar).
Boil them by weak fire for 3-4 hours.
Drink the boiled black bean water as daily drink. It would be best to eat the cooked black beans together with the water.
After 1 week of drinking, your coughing is hopefully be cured!

I've not had the nerve to try it yet!

Peter, letter from Co.Antrim

I'm writing to tell you of the beneficial emissions of spider plants, especially when grouped together. I surrounded my chair with 6 of them, plus 2 in the far corner of the room. It may be coincidental but I haven't had a cough or cold for 5 years now. They are supposed to clear the air and help the respiratory system. They are also a lovely plant to look at ...

Mrs.S, letter from Paignton, Devon

I had a persistent cough like you and was recommended marshmallow tablets, which can be obtained at a health food shop. After a couple of days I'm glad to say my cough went away. Good luck!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Steve, Whitstable, Kent

I've had the same type of cough as Mr Peake for 33 years, now well under control, but it can return quickly if I lapse from my routine. What Mr Peake should try is...

1) Give up chewing gum or anything with a menthol/peppermint type flavour/smell. It gives short term relief, but is an extreme irritant to the bronchial tubes and makes coughing much much worse some time after chewing with a 'rebound' effect. This has a major effect on me, chewing gum for a couple of hours in the day will bring back all my symptoms every time by 6pm, and yet chewing more gum will give instant relief as well. Much much better to give it up.
2) Steam inhalation can help, it may make it worse at first but persevere, it's doing good. Don't add menthol or anything (irritant).
3) Fasting on water for a day or so will likely help, the coughing will be worse during the fast but will suddenly stop and the effect will last several days.

Susan, Bradwell-on-Sea

When I read the article, I was hoping above hope that I might read about a cure, as I too have very much the same symptoms described by Nicholas Peake, for the last 15-16 years. I have also had most of the same medicines and tests he has had but still I cough uncontrollably many times during the day and night. I have tinitus in both ears and am gradually going deaf, I believe, due to the strain of the coughing, and yes I ache terribly sometimes after. I hope Nicholas Peake will be able to read my message and know that he is not alone. After many visits to the hospital for tests etc. the outcome was that they think I have a very sensitive throat and they hoped that it would right itself eventually and I was signed off. I am now 60 years old. I have thought that maybe it was because I used to smoke (I gave up about 15 years ago) the cough started a while before that. I would be interested to know if ever Nicholas smoked.

Fiona, Exeter, Devon

It was incredible to read about someone else who suffers from persistent coughing! I never stop coughing and have done so for about 11 years now. Mine starts with a watery feeling in my windpipe which I have to cough to clear. Whenever I start one of my frequent coughing fits, people sympathetically say "oh thats a bad cough" or "would you like a glass of water" but I just have to reply that I cough all the time! Like Nicholas Peake, I have had all sorts of tests and remedies, from Asthma inhalers, to sinus sprays, acide reflux treatments, and the full blown bronchoscopy. My lungs and rib cage hurt from so much coughing. When I am supermarket shopping my kids always know how to find me just by listening out for my usual coughing! I would love to find a cure for it, because the thought of growing really old and still to be coughing all the time is an awful thought!

Lavinia, Barnet, Herts.

It certainly is a relief to hear of others with the same problem. So glad it has been brought into the public eye. So many people think, as Nicholas said, that it is a habit.
Mine started over 12 years ago after I had a lung infection followed by a chest infection.
I have been seeing a consultant at the Royal Nose Throat and Ear hospital in Grays Inn Road for years now. She has been very thorough and will not give up. I have been on a low salycilate diet. Anyone done this one? It did ease the cough a little, but no can survive on a diet like this.
Think we should keep in touch in case anyone finds something helpful that could be passed on.

Gareth, Wrington, Somerset

I too have suffered from persistent, debilitating cough for a number of years and have had the same experience of useless remedy after useless remedy, until I was referred to Professor Morice at Hull University Hospital. After another series of tests, which indicated acid reflux as the cause, and failed remedies including all sorts of ant-acids, it was found that relatively small doses of morphine (much smaller than the dope fiend or medical dosage) alleviated the symptoms to a considerable degree. Unfortunately, the condition continues to worsen, so I have to increase the dose from time to time, but I have considerably improved the overall level of cough, greatly reducing the frequency of bouts. It hasn't cured the condition, but it has dramatically improved my ability to function on a day to day basis.

Pam in Beckenham, Kent

I read your article in the Mail. It was like reading about myself. I have been coughing for about 25 years and it is getting worse. Sometimes I feel like I am straining my heart. I have tried acupuncture, hypnotherapy, mouth patches and controlled breathing (that helps if I can stop coughing long enough) reflexology, asthma pumps, reflux medication, cough medicine, homeopathy. All to no avail. I often vomit or retch and as a lecturer (like you) it doesn't look good! I can't offer a remedy but I know that the medical profession dismiss my symptoms as unimportant. One consultant told me I had to live with it - what does he think I do every day of my life! Dosing up with antihistamine, Dimotane Co and Becatide nasal spray all at the same time did help the cough but left me feeling so ill that I decided the cough was better.

Good luck with your search for a cure - let me know if you find one. Best wishes.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

NickP, Blog Editor

I had a phone call from a lady in Dorset last week who seemed so sincere in her belief that she could help me with my cough, that I'm going to give her suggestions a try, and I will report back in a few week's time. Mary told me I should try the Bowen Technique - see this website for further explanation: http://www.bowen-technique.co.uk. I'm booked in to see a Bowen therapist next week.
She also advised me to cut out alcohol, drink plenty of water and take a food supplement called Aloe Gold for a period. Her view was that this would all help my body to "reset" itself.
So I'm going to give it a go.
Meantime, I've just been back to my cough clinic at Wythenshawe Hospital and discussed with my doctor there some of the many suggestions that have been made to me as a result of the publicity. She was interested to hear of them all - and we had a laugh about a few! Dr.S is open-minded about complementary medicines but also offered a few useful words of caution. The next treatment she is advising is a drug which will act on the parts of my nervous system which may have been imprinted with the habit of coughing. So if Bowen doesn't work out, that's the next thing I'll try.
I will not be defeated by this!

If you have any suggestions to make or views to express, add a comment to this posting and I will pick it up. Thanks.

Karen, UK

I had my cough for a very long time. It was a dry cough which, once started, was very difficult to stop. I used to dread having to go anywhere like the theatre, cinema, out for meals etc because it could come on at any time with no warning. Sometimes even a tiny breath of air would trigger it and other times it seemed that nothing had triggered it at all.

About eighteen months ago I decided enough was enough and started to research 'persistent dry cough' . After about three months I'd looked at a lot of information, both from websites and health discussion noticeboards. During this time I had lung xrays (all clear) and had been given an inhaler. The inhaler was to 'eliminate' asthma from the list of possible causes ie if it worked then I had asthma! The inhaler actually triggered the cough, so I only used it a couple of times.

Eventually I found that a persistent cough was a symptom of candidiasis (there are many strains of candida with different names). I found a questionnaire on the net and had a very high score on it. I then looked up ways of curing it with drugs and diet.

I should point out that I'm not really a believer in alternative 'medicine' and that there an awful lot of 'remedies' on the net and in health shops which purport to 'cure' candida, but people commenting in forums stated that they didn't work. In the main they seem to be a money making scheme.

After more research into what others did to cure candidiasis I decided to try the anti-candida diet and combine that with taking a month's supply of flucanazole. I had to get the flucanazole on the net from India via New Zealand, self-prescription I know, but by this time I was getting desperate. The diet is strict (no sugar at all, including natural fruit sugars and nothing else that encourages yeast growth) and is supposed to be followed for a minimum of three months. I also took apple cider vinegar (one or two teaspoons before each meal) which I read other people had used to combat candida. I also used Xylitol, a natural sugar (as I have a very sweet tooth). Xylitol is known to boost the immune system and the chewing gum also cures ear problems and mend tooth cavities. I also bought Xylitol nasal spray which is natural too and can be used as many times as you like to clear and moisturise ears, sinuses and throat. Re the diet, if you try it there is a range of yeast free foods in Tesco which are good - soda bread etc.

The information I looked up stated that the anti-candida diet and the drugs had to be used together as neither of them would work on their own. I followed the diet as closely as I could for three months and took the flucanazole for one month (two tablets on day one and one a day after that). I had read that usually people felt initially worse and after about two weeks I did feel pretty awful - terrible itching mainly and headaches plus a bad stomach. However, I found those symptoms stopped and then I began to feel much better and continued to do so until the end of the three months when my cough had disappeared and I felt miles healthier than I had done for a long time. I gradually introduced all foods back into my diet, but am still wary of getting too much sugar into my system (still using the Xylitol). The cough hasn't returned.

Mrs.T, Manchester

Try Herbetom Palm Tonic for the respiratory system - £12.95 from Wellbeing, Freepost BM4601, Birmingham. It worked for me.

Pauline, Widnes

I would like to bring to your attention a complementary treatment which was of benefit to me. It is non-invasive and works upon the principle of the body healing itself: a series of hand and arm movements are made around the body, releasing blockages (negative energy) thus enabling positive energy to help heal. Although this may sound bizarre in theory and look strange in practice, something does happen, even without physical contact.
I went for treatment to the Plexus Bio-Energy clinic in Galway, Eire - you'll find it if you Google it. The treatment consists of four consecutive half-hour sessions costing between 150-180 euros - you may be advised to have three in total.
Ring them up and tell them your problem. If you go and it doesn't work, you can enjoy a pleasant break in Guinness country.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dave, Southampton, by letter

I suffered the same for about three years. My chest consultant thought it was acid reflux ... he told me not to eat a meal after 7pm and only have a drink before bed. He prescribed Gaviscon Advance and a 5-10ml. dose of Codeine linctus before bed. It worked fine for me.
I'm, 77 by the way.

Mary, Edinburgh, by letter

Remedy: extra virgin olive oil - take about ten dessertspoonfuls a day for a week and then if your problem eases cut it down. Don't give up after a week or two. If you persevere for a long time I am sure it will work for you.

Mr.Williams, letter

I had a cough like yours for several years and tried everything. But for the past five years or so I've been taking morphine tablets, twice a day as prescribed by my doctor, and I don't cough any more. They're very small, low-dose tablets and have no other side effects. If I stop taking them the cough comes back. The cough seemed to start after I had chicken pox about 8 years ago.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

DaveL comment on M.Bristow

Having read all the comments on the site and finding all of them covering my symptoms in one form or another, this was the only one that has not been suggested before, ie a metal dental plate.
I started coughing in approx 1984 and tried all the recommended medication suggested by my GP, including nasal sprays, throat sprays etc, to no avail. It eventually got so bad the spasms were making me black out, this prompted my GP to send me to a consultant. The consultant put me on Omnaprozole 10mg twice a day, and eventually in 2003 sent me for a throat examination ( Gastroscopy I think). I didn’t have a general anaesthetic for the inspection. which I afterwards regretted as it took to burly female nurses to hold me down whilst he shoved the camera down my throat. It really hurt, but I survived and went home regretting not having a general anaesthetic. Guess what, my cough was cured. I survived an emergency Abdominal Aortic Aneurism in 2004, which I almost certainly wouldn’t have done if I still had my cough.
Six months ago it came back and I’m desperately trying to get my consultant (who I see every six months) to send me for another gastroscopy, but she is sceptical that this was the cure (or the relief). So I see her again soon and will push again. She has put me on a regime of 40mg omnaprozole daily and Ranitidine 150 & Metoclopramide 10mg twice daily.

In the meant-time I will take my Cobalt plate out.

PS I find a pint of Tanglefoot beer definitely helps

Monday, September 17, 2007

Jean, UK

I suffered for many years with exactly the same symptoms, however I was very lucky to be seen at my GP's surgery by a locum who had studied the problem. This was shortly after Heliobacter Pylori had been newly discovered by a New Zealand doctor some years ago.He said that Heliobacter nestles in the convolutions of the stomach and flourishes in the acid content used to digest food.

Continual debilitating coughing as described is a sypmtom. I was provided with two antibiotics plus one other bismuth based tablet and within two weeks the problem was eliminated.

Josephine, UK

My husband, Derek, had a cough almost similar to the one that is described in your article. Like Nicholas Peake he had all the necessary tests to eliminate any underlining conditions causing this constant coughing.

We asked to be referred to a Consultant who examined my husband, found nothing and said it was something he would have to live with. Life became unbearable for him and for me living with him - I was concerned, sorry for him and I admit it was very wearing. At times you just wanted to put your hands over your ears.

After some time we went back to our doctor who said he would like to try some tablets Ranitidine 150 mg, twice a day. The tablets he prescribed were for Acid Reflux, even though my husband had never suffered with indigestion, heartburn or any other related ailments in his life. THE TABLETS WORKED, we were overjoyed. Yes, he coughs occasionally, but just like a normal person does.

Not ever having to take any tablets in his life, and was concerned that he would have to take these for the rest of his life, he went on to the web site of the www.coughclinic.org.uk, situated in Hull, which had been brought to our attention. He completed the questionnaire and an immediate reply was received recommending the same medication.

The Clinic also follow up your questionnaire at a later date.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


I read with great interest the article written in the daily mail about the man who has coughed for 13 yrs. I myself understand only too well how he feels having suffered the same symptoms for around 10 years. Like Nicholas i have run out of options to try . Having tried everything ever suggested to me, even resorted to 2 lots of surgery for sinus and nasal congestion thinking this might have been the problem, to no avail. At the moment i have registered with a private Herbalist as a last resort, if this does not work i don't know where to go from here.
I find this very embarrasing at work, as i work with E.N.T.consultants who are struggling to find a solution. Also i find it totally embarrasing when socialising having to leave the room mid conversation. So if there are any answers or suggestions out there i would be very interested indeed. At least now i know i am not the only one suffering this problem.


I have a relation that also coughed for many years and had
many tests which proved negative until she came across someone who
suggested it might be the steel band in partial dentures. when this was
replaced with a plastic piece she has now stopped coughing.

John, ntlworld

I have suffered from a similar problem for over 15 years. I have seen many specialists and even resorted to a number of sessions with a homeopath but it did not help. I have gone down the route of sucking mints, chewing gum and sipping water all of which help a little.

The most effective relief has been to take a small dose of Night Nurse (approx one third of the recommended dose) and I take this roughly every third or fourth night at bedtime when the problem is particularly annoying.

My wife has suffered my problem all these years which tends to be worse in the evening when watching TV.

Six months ago we decided to replace the carpet in our lounge and bedroom with wooden flooring and it has reduced my problem dramatically.

Alison, Cannock

I also have a persistent cough that started after the birth of my daughter in 1993 and I've never stopped since. I've visited 2 hospitals, seen 2 consultants, had lung function tests, allergy tests, had a broncoscopy, been given countless inhalers and had a camera up my nose into the back of my throat - and no one can tell me why I cough.

I cannot tell you how embarrassing this problem is at times. It really does affect your quality of life - if I'm in a bad phase I can't visit the cinema or theatre and a restaurant is out of the question. I would give much to not cough anymore. Not only is it embarrassing - it's painful as well as my throat and chest muscles become very sore at times.

I don't smoke and I never have but I often get stopped by complete strangers in the street who say to me "you should stop smoking".

If you have the time, I would be so grateful if you could put me in touch with someone who can help me.

Gordon, UK

I read your article in the mail today and felt sorry for mr peake. I have had a cough for three years, had all the tests to no avail.
there was an article in the daily mail some months ago re coughs, with an email address to a cough clinic on line. I took the on line test and was diagnosed with rhinitic cough. they supplied me with a letter to my doctor, he gave me the recommended prescription, which has all but cured my cough (takes about 2 weeks) maybe you could help by passing on the following address to mr Peake. http://www.cough.co.uk

Kay, UK

I had a persistent cough in the throat which went on for several years. My doctor thought it was due to dry cough asthma and I was put on inhalers. However, the cough persisted and my sister suggested it might be due to stomach acid which could cause problems in the throat. I was not aware of a particular problem with acid but did bring back acid after eating certain spicy foods etc. For 3 days I ate a bland diet and the difference was remarkable. I mentioned this to my doctor and she put me on a course of Omeprazole and my cough almost disappeared. I had tests done at the hospital and this showed acid problems. I am now on a regular low dose of Omeprazole and I have no further problems with a persistent tickly cough. If you haven't tried this I would definitely recommend it.

Geraldine, UK

I read your article about the unfortunate man who has had a cough for 13 years with interest. I'm 60 and have had the same since March this year, which I thought bad enough! I too have had various tests which show nothing. It is very debilitating and can be dangerous, I have had to pull
on to the motorway hard shoulder because of an attack and until recently could not have contemplated going to the theatre or concert - until...

I took an old fashioned remedy called Collis Browns Mixture, usually sold for mild stomach upsets (which is why I took it) and found quite a small dose will quell my cough for several hours - it's wonderful! (though haven't discussed it with my doctor yet, afraid he will tell me it doesnt go with my blood pressure pills or something!). The stuff can be bought from the dispensing section of most chemists.

Annie, UK

I have worked fairly extensively with homeopathy and herbalism over the past 20 years and use many of the plants which grow naturally here, as well as ordering from a good herbal suppliers when necessary. I have treated family (I have 5 children, now in their teens and twenties) and friends and my horses (I have 10 here at present), cats and dogs.

Whilst there many reasons for persistent coughing, and assuming that a full medical check has been carried out,there a several simple herbal remedies that Mr Peake could try. A tea made of plantain (the weed which grows on lawns and wild all over the countryside) and thyme is especially beneficial. I usually add honey and lemon or lime to taste. I am sure that Mr Peake has kept a record of when the cough is at it's worst - and if he finds that it is especially irritating from spring to late autumn, he could do worse than take 'Pollena', a homeopathic remedy available in pharmacies and some supermarkets. People are often unaware that hay-fever can occur from the appearance of the first leaf in spring , to the disappearance of the last in the autumn.

The mixture I have described can be dried and used throughout the winter months. In addition taking echinacea daily, or better still a herbal 'antibiotic' should ultimately bring total relief.

Tony, UK

I went through the same hassle as Mr Peake for years, hospital xrays etc.

Then I went to a new doctor and he said it was germs in my nassle passage.

I then bought a nasal spray Otrivine and it cleared it up.

About every 2 years after a cold it comes back but I get Otrivine and it
clears it.

Brian, E.Sussex

I had a similar problem living in Australia 30 years ago. I then came in contact with a natural healer - they call them naturalpaths. He gave me a supply of marshmallow capsules - it reduces the production of mucus, or thins it quite a lot. My condition was cleared up in less than four weeks. I've not been without some of these capsules since (I'm now 74).
The naturalpath also advised me to eat a dessert spoon of wheat germ each day with a meal.

Joyce, Northumberland

I was distraught, worn-out and couldn't go to the cinema, theatre etc. because of my cough.
My brother gave me some co-drydomol tablets for my arthritis and within two days my cough stopped.
I went to see my GP who put me on codeine tablets three times a day and they worked. Apparently they subdue the coughing centre in the brain.

Mr.N.Parker, Leicester

This is an old folk remedy to make garlic syrup: take one teaspoonful up to 3 times a day.

Pour 570ml. (20 fl.oz) of boiling water over 50g (2oz.) of finely chopped garlic. Allow to stand in a sealed bottle for 24 hours. Strain off liquid into a clean bottle, add enough honey until a syrupy consistency is formed.

Anne, Liversedge

I suffered for over a year with constant coughing, throat filling with mucus, voice disappearing and on several occasions having to strop my car because there was just too much going on with coughing, choking and streaming nose and eyes, all of which was very debilitating and anti-social.

... within minutes of describing my systems to the consultant I was diagnosed as having "silent reflux" caused by the muscle at the top of the stomach letting in food & drink but then not closing properly, allowing gases to escape, thus irritating the throat. It is now controlled by stomach medication.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Jill, UK

I too have a persistent cough but was diagnosed after 2 years, having had all the lung x-rays, ENT camera, allergy test, asthma and breathing tests etc.

Have you had a gastric- endoscopy to check for a Hiatus Hernia? You don't need to have heartburn or acid reflux to have a hernia. The problem of the cough is when the diaphragm pushes against the stomach when you are lecturing or sitting especially if leaning over, exercising etc.
This will push the acid out of the stomach, which tries to seep into the lungs, mucus is formed as a protection and then you have the cough.

My cough will start when I am singing, giving presentations, sitting down in a slumped position, bending over to pick something up. I am also unable to sleep on my right side or flat in bed.

Hope this helps.

Anne, Norfolk

I read with great interest an article in the newspaper the other day about you and your persistant cough which has been going on for 13 years; I have a cough albeit only for 7 months and I was beginning to think it was all in my head, but this article made me realise that it couldn't be, then it hit me how long you had had yours - well if I knew how to do it I would go into deep depression! but then I thought I would write you a letter to say thank you. So far I have had the antihistamines, 2 different asthma sprays, a chest x-ray and am now on the antacids and next week I am about to have a C.T. scan which will also be totally clear but if they wish to spend money on me I'm not one to complain, my only worry is how on earth am I going to keep perfectly still for however long it takes to do the scan when I have to cough.
What I am actually writing all this screed for is that I understand that you are going to Wythenshaw to partake in a research programme and I was wondering if they came up with an answer if it was possible that you could tell me what it is so that I can get back to a normal life.
My theory on this cough is that a nerve has got irritated and if they could give me something to deaden the nerve it would be cured.

Pamie, UK

sorry if you've already been told this a million times but I'm 99.9999999% sure your cough it being caused by something irritating your inner ear. That's why chewing gum relieves your cough, because the jaw motion relieves the irritation.

Anthony, North of England

For the past 3 years I have been clearing my throat/coughing all day. Sometimes every few seconds, especially in the AM. Sometimes I felt as if I was choking. I have been to see quite a few consultants. They had several different theories, but nothing really cured it. I even had my uvula (gaggle at back of throat) removed at their suggestion. They said it was longer than normal. But once healed I was back continuously clearing/coughing. I have had xrays, scans. I am tired of having that nano camera going up my nose. I am extremely healthy. I am 63 years of age. I go fell-running in the Lake District and the Howgills.Mountain biking in the same areas. Love road biking. I can run up a flight of stairs two at a time, without being being out of breath. I am going into overkill on activities, because if I had just put age=63 yrs. you might have thought it is his age.
The consultants have given me allergy tests. No allergies. I have given up dairy produce, just in case. Not a big problem as I have been a vegetarian for 40 years, but not the answer. They have suggested now that it is myself who has created ' a habit ' of coughing/ clearing my throat. I know it is not me, but something about my throat. I have tried meditation. No help.

About 10 months ago I found that chewing gum at best stopped the clearing/coughing. It certainly stopped me having such a sore throat. I now wake up and pop chewing gum in my mouth. Every day and all days. My jaws get tired, but on the positive side my jaw line has got firmer. It is the only thing that controls my problem. Sometimes if I got really bad I have tried my wife's asthma 'puffer' and it possibly helps a little. I have also had tests for asthma and I don't have any symptoms.

Only one other thing can subdue the problem for me. I like watching DVD movies in bed on my laptop. And my wife has noticed that as I get more into the film, I start to stop clearing /coughing.

I have this mental picture of this sad little creature chewing gum and watching films 24 hours a day.

My conclusions are the chewing gum keeps my throat moist, and possibly relaxes it ( Not too sure on the latter) and the 'puffer' opens up my airways ( as they are intended to), and the film watching ? Relaxes me? Lets me displace?

I hope you do not mind me writing to you, but you are the only other person I have seen who suffers from the same problem and coincidentally has found chewing gum helps.

I have come to the conclusion that I am stuck with this for the rest of my life.

The consultants have now suggested I go for Sleep Apnoea test,(Please Google it for a definition) because of my throat problems. They have almost admitted that they are running out of ideas.

Jill, Bradford

I read the article about your constant coughing in the Daily Express and it certainly rang a bell with me. Ironically I also stopped smoking 16 years ago and prior to that I didn't cough. When I stopped smoking I started coughing all the time as I felt that I had phlegm in my through and just had to keep coughing, and a minute later it was just as bad. This was excessive for about 5 years, and very embarrassing. I went to my doctor who explained that it was the effects of stopping smoking, and that it was the body's way of cleansing the lungs, and that there was really nothing I could do about it. It got a little better as time went on, but 16 years after stopping smoking I still get days when I cough a lot.
Just thought that I would write to you in sympathy. Hope that it gets
better as time goes on.

Ace, Manchester

I have a lung problem called "COPD." I find that slow relaxed breathing helps - get yourself a book from the library or a dvd ,and do some of the exercises. will help you.

Anne, UK

I have just read about your coughing problem. I am of similar age and have had a similar (if less intense) problem over a number of years - a tickly cough where I just can't clear my throat. Like you, my cough appeared to be at its worst about an hour and a half after getting up. I even suggested to my GP that the road where I would be at that time is probably the most polluted in the city as I thought it may be pollution that was causing the cough.

I, too, have tried lots of measures, some with my GP, others without (drugs for congestion, acid reflux and asthma, a chest X-ray, homeopathic treatments - quercetin and ivy-thyme complex, and Hopi ear candle treatment). None has worked.

However, I have just had a food intolerance test and the results showed an intolerance to milk and yeast. As proposed, I have cut milk and yeast and all their products (cheese, butter, margarine, yoghurt, cream, chocolate, ice cream wine! beer, bread etc) out of my diet and within a matter of days things changed drastically. My old type of cough appears to have gone and has been replaced with a significant 'productiive' cough. I believe this is clearing out my system of all the clogged up mucus that has built up and was causing the niggling cough.

If you haven't already done so, it may be worthwhile having a food intolerance test. I used Yorktest (www.yorktest.com) or try cutting out all milk and milk products as I have recently read that milk thickens mucus, which seems to be my problem. I assure you that I have no connection with Yorktest other than as a customer.

Good luck.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Jenny, UK

As somebody who has very similar problems, but found a partial solution, I thought I would briefly tell you just in case it is helpful

Like you I gave up smoking after quite a number of years and like you I
don't cough when I'm asleep: conclusion : there is nothing wrong with my
lungs: the whole thing is to do with my throat, (which I have possibly
sensitised/damaged as a result of the smoking which is an added trigger).
But why?

When my doctor didn't come up with anything, being an academic I sat down and thought about it logically.
What is different between asleep and awake?
My eyes are open/closed.
I then experimented, and low and behold, if I close my eyes for say 15
minutes during the day, away from strong light, I don't cough either.
The whole thing is to do with the amount of 'tearing' of my eyes.
So that is what needs dealing with.

The second thing is that I discovered that some people do what they call "cry through their nose".
It is a psychosomatic phenomenon due to suppressed sadness. Some people have a constantly blocked nose, others, like me have the constant teary trickle which causes the cough. One person I met had to use nose-drops several times a day until her father who had abused her died, and from that day on never had to use the drops again.

So I declined all lung tests or treatments and concentrated on my eyes instead, sunglasses in the morning, and I make sure I never get cold, even indoors. etc. The only time I now cough significantly is when I yawn a few times and my eyes fill with tears.

I blow my nose a lot, as soon as there is any hint that something could be trickling down. That helped a lot as well.

Have a think and see what happens !! Good luck!

Gillian, England

I thought you might like to know about a cough medicine called Bisolvon (Bissolvon), obtainable from Holland and Germany. Back in the mist of time the NHS struck it off the list of approved medicine because it was too expensive, despite it being the only medicine suitable for asthmatics. Mysteriously vets still proscribe it for horses here. Some asthmatics get a dry cough and if they can stop it, they do not get an asthma attack. Unfortunately, there are no suitable medicines in the U.K. so they try to manage with Benolyn but it just doesn't do the job.

Anyway, having successfully used this medicine on my then small daughter, I can recommend it. I wrote to the manufacturers and asked about distributing here but got a woolly answer. It was only through a vet I found out that the real reason is the cost. I have asked chemists to look up the ingredient in it but they have nothing similar here. It is very quick to Holland via Hull and the fares will be getting cheaper soon. I have been out at 20.30, arrive 0800 - drive to Germany, collect my daughter and be back in Rotterdam in the evening for the trip home so it is do-able or a short break is quite pleasant. There is a very good doctor in Wassenaar, Holland - Dr. Opundland - not the correct spelling - who speaks excellent English. Just as well, 25% of Wassenaar are foreigners. Very nice place - we lived there for 3 years.

Good luck.

Medical worker, NY

Coughing is caused by a part of our brain when it is stimulated. Vomiting is also caused when the vomiting center of our brain gets a signal from our body. Certain medications for High Blood Pressure have "cough" as a side effect. Most of these drugs are in the Ace Inhibitor class of drugs. I had a steady cough for almost 2 years. No medications helped. Finally a respiratory therapist told me I needed pleural therapy on my back. The therapist would cup their hands and hit my back for about an hour, until the irritating things in my lungs started to come up. I went to this therapy 3 times a week for about a month. After each treatment, so much material came out of my lungs and throat. Once it was out, I began to clear up.

Dympna, Essex

I read about you in the daily mail with great interest. I have had a similar
problem for over 10 years and I had just given up smoking as well. I did
cough when I smoked but thought the smoke was the reason. Anyway over the
years I have tried everything too, but I never knew about chewing gum. It
is not something I enjoy but would do anything for relief.
I had a fundoplication operation on my stomach to see if gastric reflux was
the cause but to no avail either. I travelled to Hull from Essex regularly
to see Prof. Alyn Morice who is googleable and has written an interesting
paper on cough. My problem remains unresolved. Any suggestions, short of chopping my head off, would be helpful.

Peter, Bangkok, Thailand

I have had this problem for over 25 years and it is very debilitating indeed to the point where I pass out and have no idea where I am or what I did. My doctor says it is mild emphysema. I have no idea myself but sympathise with anyone in this situation. It is so embarrassing when you are in public and just can't stop the cough.

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