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, 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.
Top Blogs