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.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Update

It's some time now since I've written anything on this blog, because I've had some problems accessing it.

But I thought I'd bring "readers" up-to-date (though I don't know whether this sends out any kind of "alert" to people?)

The most promising "treatment" has been the one suggested by Jeanette H., which should be the next one down on the blog.  At her suggestion, I used the flixotide inhaler on and off for about a year.  I found it definitely reduced the frequency of coughing, and though I still coughed for a period every morning, I was able to sleep longer and better - through to about 7a.m. most mornings.  That's a blessing in itself.

The downside of it was that it affected my voice - it softened it and made it more throaty somehow, a bit more difficult to speak.  It also affected my singing voice, and made me a little bit short of breath.  So I'm off it again at the moment, but as a consequence I'm back to waking up anytime between 4-6 a.m. and coughing for an hour, so it's very disruptive to my sleep.

Once again, I'm not sure what to do next...

Added to the other message about Jeanette H there are various comments which are always useful to receive.  My comments on them?  The big dietary changes suggested by "Love and hopes" - I'm just not sure I can go through with all that on the off chance that it might work?  The one from "Lucilu" advising taking Gabapentin ... I think I might have taken that in the past without success but I will check - though how far will my medical records go back with my GP?  I'll be in touch with Danni about her researches....

9 comments:

speccy said...

Hi Nick,

Just wanted to say thanks for posting up all these details; it has made for some very interesting reading.
I have had a cough on and off for most of my life. I'm 33 now but I feel like it has held me back from doing many things, especially, as you have said, social events and situations. The worst thing about it is that people assume 'it's just a cough, it's not that bad' and you feel quite silly turning down an invite or being off work because it's so difficult to function normally. I hate the feeling that you know you're getting on people's nerves with it, but it's so hard to describe how much it gets you down. I kow my situation is not as bad as yours - I sympathise so much. After another night of not sleeping, of being sick because your stomach had convulsed from constant coughing, the fact your chest and ribs hurt when you breathe, it's really upsetting.

I too had lots of testing as a child: result - question mark. I've stopped buying cough mixtures, they never work. I may try some of the ideas on your blog and fingers crossed! I'd love to be rid of it, it drives me potty.

Anyway, I feel better even for just writing all this down. Good luck in your search for a cure, I hope you find it. x

Anonymous said...

As much as I HATE either of us are going through this, it feels good to know I'm not alone. I'm a 29yr old female who has had a chronic cough since the age of 14. I too have tried every doctor possible, even a speech therapist for good measure......I have tried all the over the counter, and prescribed medications as well. I am at my wits end!!!! I have been let go for jobs, I left school, and FORGET dating!!! The headaches, the soreness, the attacks that lead to vomiting, ur wife must be a saint.
I'm sick of all the testing and getting no results....this cough has plagued my life. I cling to your blog in hopes one day you will find something that works!! Thank you!!!!!

TNSarah said...

Have you tried dark chocolate...i read an article about an ingredient in dark chocolate called theobromine which suppresses the vagus nerve..heres a link if you want to know more:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8214459/Chocolate-cure-for-persistent-cough.html.

Might be worth researching

Cadence Drake said...

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cough variant asthma іѕ quite common in young children especially those whο аrе have been suffering from juvenile asthma when younger. Signs of aggravated Cough variant asthma саn lead to sneezing accounting to breathlessness. In regard to asthma in children it’s very important that the care giver explain the symptoms and possible triggers to the child, make the child understand the importance of keeping a inhaler handy and using it for control than relief. Hand in hand make the child realize one does not need a major lifestyle change to deal with asthma.

Lavinia said...

Hi Nick,
Yet another person with this perrenial cough. It's good to know that we're not alone.
I've had mine for 17 years. It started after I had a chest infection followed by a lung infection. Have been coughing ever since.
I'm a fitness instructor and the cough, as you can imagine, has really affected my work. During classes I get a coughing fit and my clients have to wait until it's subsided before I give further instruction. Fortunately they are aware of the problem and over the years have been very patient and understanding. However there are times when I come home and think I must give it all up.
Like you I tried so many things. I've been on elimination diets, acupuncture, homeopathy, spiritual healing, whatever I thought might help or has been suggested.
I'm currently attending the Cough clinic at the Royal Brompton hospital in London.
The consultant there has had me on various inhalers. We recently tried Gabapentin for 9 months to no avail. He's referred me to a speech and language therapist. She has given me some, I suppose, you could call exercise to do. i.e drink water every 15 minutes to keep the throat moist. Try to anticipate a cough coming on and hold you breath for 5 seconds then drink a couple of sips of water. This is trying to break the behavioural pattern to give the throat a rest which has become so sensitive it hasn't had time to heal. This is quite difficult to keep up.
At my last visit at the Cough clinic I decided to give it a break until the New Year.
At which point the consultant is going to try another treatment involving a nebuliser, or a possible new treatment from Japan which may be authorised for use in this country by the New year.
I shall keep any eye on your blogs to keep on top of what other people may be trying.

NickP said...

Lavinia,
Thanks for the comment - your story is similar to mine, though I don't think mine was caused by a chest infection.
I'm waiting for a referral to a speech therapist, and there's also talk of me trying a nebuliser - again, so my specialists are coming up with similar ideas.
I had a call from the professor who leads my cough clinic the other day, asking me to take part in the trial of a new treatment that he thought was promising. But unfortunately because of my smoking history (in their jargon I totted up 20 pack years, though I stopped 20 years ago!) I'm not eligible to take part, so I have a long wait.
Meantime, and in desperation. I'm currently seeing an expert in hypnotherapy and EFT. Still hoping ....

Anonymous said...

Hello,
I'm idly looking up things on the net (and coughing) and came across this site. I was just videoing something and was disturbed to hear when I played it back, how constant my cough is. I have been coughing since 2004! Actually it's half coughing/ half clearing my throat. Often every 30 seconds. It drives me absolutely mad! The only relatively good thing is that sometimes it goes away for variable periods- sometimes weeks I think.I'm not actually sure of the period of time. I just realize that I feel normal and then it dawns on me they the cough has stopped.....but then it comes back. Like some of you, mine started after a chest infection. I went back to the doctor after about a month of coughing ( little did I realize what was in store) who said post flu cough could last for sometime. I think I just put up with it for months then eventually went back and asked for it to be Investigated. I went to a top net physician who did the camera bit and then put me on various steroidal inhalers. None of them did anything. After several follow ups I gave up and just put up with the coughing. About after a year, maybe two I thought I really should address it again. I went to an ENT surgeon who did similar tests and found nothing. It's now been 8 years!
The only thing that feels to me like it might be correct, is the vagus nerve theory. I know that my cough is not psychological. it's absolutely physical. Although my family have inferred that I do it when I'm tense. It's actually the otherway around.. It makes me incredibly stressed. A constant anxiety. Fortunately it seems to stop when I'm asleep, due I been told to the cough reflex
being suppressed. Anyway it's horrible and boring and irritating and depleting. Maybe one day someone will know what it is and how to cure it.in the meantime..cough cough

Dawn64 said...

Hi Nick, I've had a cough for at least 4 years. It started as a dry cough but over time my body seemed to try to protect my throat by producing more mucous.

The medics seemed to think the whole thing was down to acid reflux - I had the dreaded camera down the throat test in 2010 which seemed to confirm a faulty valve was allowing stomach acid into my oesophagus so I was put on Lansoprazole to control the stomach acid. So, the acid was under control but there was no improvement with the cough,which just seemed to get worse and worse.

My work was affected, I was told my cough was disruptive! The point I realised just how much my life was affected was when I gave away a ticket to see my favourite band because I was afraid I would just be coughing all night and ruin it for those around me. I was gutted. Music is a big part of my life and I couldn't even cope with going to a gig I'd been looking forward to for months.

Eventually I was referred to the cough clinic at Wythenshawe hospital in Manchester.
The specialist there seemed to know his subject well. He told me there are some clinical trials in progress but as I work full time it might be difficult to take part due to having to make regular visits to the hospital - so it could be a couple of years before I can try a specific medication. He also told me that one of the most common side effects of this kind of idiopathic cough in women is that it causes stress incontinence(the type that doing pelvic base muscle exercises can't help!). This made me feel a little better in so far as I felt like I wasn't alone in that. It's the part of the whole syndrome that is the most difficult to talk about - I've never even told my family about it, only the doctor. It makes me feel so worthless, you hear about it affecting elderly women, not someone in their 40's.

The specialist I saw had a working theory that chronic cough can be a post viral effect - the cough reflex nerves in my throat have been permanently changed and are now hyper sensitive (a bit like when people still feel a burning sensation in their skin after a bout of shingles has gone). So, any medication would need to "turn down" the sensitivity of my nerve endings.

The good news is that the current medication is making a real difference - slow release morphine sulphate 5mg twice daily. I was put on it for 2 weeks followed by 2 weeks without before returning to the clinic for a follow-up. I was worried about feeling drowsy or "woolly" but the dose is so low that the only side effect is an occasional dry mouth. After 2 weeks I was convinced it was helping - my work colleagues agreed they'd hardly noticed me coughing in the second week. Doing without for the next 2 weeks only convinced me that he morphine was making a real difference as the cough returned to its full horror by the time I returned to the clinic.

I'm now being prescribed a continuous supply for the next 3 months until my next check up when it will probably just be continued if it's still going ok.

I still cough but less often and less violently - instead of the cough escalating until I almost vomit, I just cough once or twice. The space in between coughing is also more relaxed, less raw. As a result my whole body feels more relaxed and I am sleeping better. The mucous in my throat is also reduced - whether that is directly due to the morphine (which sometimes causes a dry mouth) or whether the reduction of sensitivity has led to less production, I don't know. I only really noticed how bad it was when I came off the morphine for the 2 week break, as the mucous came back almost immediately.

Fingers crossed the morphine will carry on working and I can start living again.

I'd recommend anyone with a chronic cough to get referred to a decent chest clinic where they will be taken seriously and a solution found, one way or another.

Dawn64 said...

Hi Nick, I've had a cough for at least 4 years. It started as a dry cough but over time my body seemed to try to protect my throat by producing more mucous.

The medics seemed to think the whole thing was down to acid reflux - I had the dreaded camera down the throat test in 2010 which seemed to confirm a faulty valve was allowing stomach acid into my oesophagus so I was put on Lansoprazole to control the stomach acid. So, the acid was under control but there was no improvement with the cough, which just seemed to get worse and worse.

My work was affected, I was told my cough was disruptive! The point I realised just how much my life was affected was when I gave away a ticket to see my favourite band because I was afraid I would just be coughing all night and ruin it for those around me. I was gutted. Music is a big part of my life and I couldn't even cope with going to a gig I'd been looking forward to for months.

Eventually I was referred to the cough clinic at Wythenshawe hospital in Manchester.
The specialist there seemed to know his subject well. He told me there are some clinical trials in progress but as I work full time it might be difficult to take part due to having to make regular visits to the hospital - so it could be a couple of years before I can try a specific medication. He also told me that one of the most common side effects of this kind of idiopathic cough in women is that it causes stress incontinence(the type that doing pelvic base muscle exercises can't help!). This made me feel a little better in so far as I felt like I wasn't alone in that. It's the part of the whole syndrome that is the most difficult to talk about - I've never even told my family about it, only the doctor. It makes me feel so worthless, you hear about it affecting elderly women, not someone in their 40's.

The specialist I saw had a working theory that chronic cough can be a post viral effect - the cough reflex nerves in my throat have been permanently changed and are now hyper sensitive (a bit like when people still feel a burning sensation in their skin after a bout of shingles has gone). So, any medication would need to "turn down" the sensitivity of my nerve endings.

The good news is that the current medication is making a real difference - slow release morphine sulphate 5mg twice daily.

I was put on it for 2 weeks followed by 2 weeks without before returning to the clinic for a follow-up. I was worried about feeling drowsy or "woolly" but the dose is so low that the only side effect is an occasional dry mouth. After 2 weeks I was convinced it was helping - my work colleagues agreed they'd hardly noticed me coughing in the second week. Doing without for the next 2 weeks only convinced me that he morphine was making a real difference as the cough returned to its full horror by the time I returned to the clinic.

I'm now being prescribed a continuous supply for the next 3 months until my next check up when it will probably just be continued if it's still going ok.

I still cough but less often and less violently - instead of the cough escalating until I almost vomit, I just cough once or twice. And no more stress incontinence. The space in between coughing is also more relaxed, less raw. As a result my whole body feels more relaxed and I am sleeping better. The mucous in my throat is also reduced - whether that is directly due to the morphine (which sometimes causes a dry mouth) or whether the reduction of sensitivity has led to less production, I don't know. I only really noticed how bad it was when I came off the morphine for the 2 week break, as the mucous came back almost immediately,as did the cough and all that comes with it.

Now I'm back on it, fingers crossed the morphine will carry on working and I can start living again.

I'd recommend anyone with a chronic cough to get referred to a decent chest clinic where they will be taken seriously and a solution found.

 
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