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.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cut out wheat?

Just had a comment from Sheila who writes: I quit eating wheat products eight weeks ago and my chronic cough of 20 plus years disappeared!! I feel free!!!!

Sheila, I would love to hear more about you and your condition, so if you see this please post again ... did you have any other symptoms/problems as well as chronic cough e.g. bloating, weight problems?  How do you KNOW it was wheat - what tests did you have? How quickly did the cough disappear - right away, or was it AFTER the eight weeks you mention? I, we, need more information...

I've been down this route, more than 10 years ago now: I had tests for food intolerance which were largely negative i.e. no obvious problems.  But I still tried a non-wheat and dairy diet, only for about 3 weeks and it was hard so I gave it up - it didn't seem to make any difference.  But maybe I wasn't persistent enough?

As I think I've posted elsewhere, I recently had another bronchoscopy, which didn't reveal anything.  So I'm again in the position of being desperate to try anything... and I might give no wheat a try.

But Sheila, if you're there, please write again???


blackdog said...

I would have to agree that removal of wheat would assist in the control of chronic cough. Indeed I'm of the view it would benefit us all to remove or limit wheat consumption in general for health: the human digestive system is not really adapted to its consumption and it tends to promote inflamation, but sadly I would think that it may assist but would not provide a cure.

My partner is diabetic and has to shun it anyway but as she also suffers from a chronic cough for weeks even months, when she contracts any sort of chest infection, I have tested many treatments to alleviate this at least to allow some respite at night. The most effective has been the use of Diphenhydramine, which is old fashioned antihistamine of the sedating type which was used to suppress hay fever, but is essentially the precursor to many newer drugs that are used as an H1 agonist or antidepressive. It's main problem, and in this instance, its advantage, is sedating properties combined with its ability to pass through the blood brain barrier as an effective antitussive (cough suppressant).

I would urge its use with caution as it can have side effects and reactions with other drugs but it's effective and cheap to buy OTC as Nytol or other sleep promoters and it can lose potency if used for long periods. However having lain awake listening to my partner coughing I would suggest that it's a useful addition to the arsenal of protocols that chronic coughers have to have.

If used you should always make an informed decision and ensure harm is minimised by researching intensively prior to use, and the newer antihistamines do not perform in the same way, so always be sure of content Diphehydramine Hydrochloride.

Sheila said...

Hi Nick, I coughed , had a tickle in my throat for well over 20 years. I don,t think I had a decent sleep in my life. I tried everything. The only thing that helped was oxycodone. Very hard to get here, as well highly addictive. I was about 25 lbs overweight. I initially stopped eating carbs to lose weight. I also starting taking vitamins called q96. They are high potency vitamins, minerals and nutrients. I immediately lost weight, no more bloating, I sleeping soundly thru the night. I have cut wheat products completely as possible out of my diet. I feel 100 percent better, with more energy and well rested. I avoided situations because of my cough. It was non stop. I have no tickle, no urge to cough at all. As I said before I am free. I noticed the cough stopped approximately 2 weeks into the diet change. I wish you good luck. I know what a devastating problem this is. Sheila

Sheila said...

Hi Nick, I coughed , had a tickle in my throat for well over 20 years. I don,t think I had a decent sleep in my life. I tried everything. The only thing that helped was oxycodone. Very hard to get here, as well highly addictive. I was about 25 lbs overweight. I initially stopped eating carbs to lose weight. I also starting taking vitamins called q96. They are high potency vitamins, minerals and nutrients. I immediately lost weight, no more bloating, I sleeping soundly thru the night. I have cut wheat products completely as possible out of my diet. I feel 100 percent better, with more energy and well rested. I avoided situations because of my cough. It was non stop. I have no tickle, no urge to cough at all. As I said before I am free. I noticed the cough stopped approximately 2 weeks into the diet change. I wish you good luck. I know what a devastating problem this is. Sheila

NickP said...

Thanks very much Sheila. That's very informative, and I'm going to try it. Curious though whether you think the q96 tablets had any Bearing on your cough disappearing? Not heard of them before so googled - they're used for treating conditions which seem completely unrelated. Why were you taking them? Do you think they helped?

Sheila said...

I started taking the Q96 vitamins probably one month earlier. I am registered psychiatric nurse. I was taking Wellbutrin for approx15 years. Initially to quit smoking. Wellbutrin is Zyban, an anti depressant used for smoking cessation. When I stopped taking it I felt horrible so I just kept taking it. But I read a book about Q96and thought I would give it a try. The day I started on Q96 I quit taking Wellbutrin. I felt better immediately, also started sleeping
better as well. So maybe even then I was coughing less? I only noticed the cough gone after stopping wheat products. I had a feeling I was sensitive to wheat products for a long time however had no energy to chage my diet. I love breads, pasta etc. I found the first few days I craved carbs. Now I have no problem avoiding them. I know I am getting small amts of wheat as times, it's almost impossible to completely avoid. I will eventually introduce gluten free breads back into my diet as soon as I lose all 25 pounds.
For me this is a miracle.i do a lot of public speaking. Run groups etc. I was in constant fear of my cough. Doctors did nothing and never understood the gravity of the condition. Stay in touch and let me know how you do. I have checked out coughing blogs for years looking for anything to help. I just want to tell everyone about the wheat connection. Sheila

daddy-o said...

I'm also going on 20 plus years of battling the same tickle in the throat that keeps me coughing all through the day. The only time that I ever noticed a difference in my cough was when I was put on Prednisone as well as opiates for a week. But that is not something that you want to be on long term.

My cough is typically a dry, annoying cough all through the day. But believe it or not, I can manage to tolerate those. However, I break into these cough attacks on a regular basis where it seems like it is all systems go (mouth, nose, eyes, sneeze, cough combination). Anyone who sees me during those cough attack episodes thinks that a 911 call is going to be in order very soon. I've even had to pull over at times when driving because I simply can't manage to keep my eyes open to see the road! (Anyone else gets that too?)

I'm going to give this avoiding wheat products thing a try as nothing else has really helped to date. I will let you know if I see any difference.


Sheila said...

Good luck, I've had to pull over as well . I still have not coughed. I truly hopes this works for you.

NickP said...

I'm 11 days into the no wheat diet and I'm not noticing a difference yet, but I'lll keep it going for at least 3 weeks to give it my best shot. So far, it's no great hardship - there's lots of gluten-free stuff inn the supermarkets ... though it's all a bit expensive!

NickP said...

Over 3 weeks on the no wheat diet and there's been no difference at all in my cough, so I'm afraid I'm giving it up - but thanks very much for the suggestion Sheila. There's an interesting comment from Alicia in reply to News update elsewhere on the blog.

I recently had a bronchoscopy, which revealed a low level infection in my lungs, so I've been prescribed powerful antibiotics for three months to try to shift the cough. As always, will report back....

Anonymous said...

I have the same type cough. I was told to try amitriptyline or Neurontin. Both medicines have produced some relief in studies of patients with this type of cough. I haven't tried these yet because there are side effects, and my cough usually only happens in the winter months. Good luck - I know what it's like to have to deal with this.

Louise said...

I've suffered from a cough for more than 25 years; the last 5 years getting progressively worse. I'm a healthy septuagenarian otherwise. Been to several doctors, allergists, etc. I have GERD but the non-acidic type. I've tried every antacid on the market. Tried Elavil, an anti-seizure drug. I've been scoped for esophagus and lung problem. All fine and normal. I'm not on BP meds, except for mild diuretic. Doctor's last suggestion was a botox shot in throat, which works for laryngeal sensitivity neuropathy in some cases. Got it last week. My voice is now at a whisper and my cough is now weird, but still with me. I'm hoping the cough will lessen and that I will get my voice back soon. Anyone else get the botox shot to desensitize throat?

mary stuart said...

just typed a long comment, but it got lost, so i will retype and keep this very short
someone who heard me coughing all the time approached me to tell me about a dr. oz episode of a woman who had a similar cough. she was dx with Silent Reflux. see episode here:

it mostly says alkaline diet and no eating late at night.
hope your cough is better!
i'm going to squeeze the lemon into my water now in my effort to go alkaline lose this cough!

Hitesh Vaishnav said...

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Acupuncture treatement in London

Anonymous said...

When I was 17 I caught a long lasting cold that was followed by a bronchial cough that has lasted for the better part of the next 18 yrs.

Characteristics of the cough:
Seemed to ease slightly for a few months or so a year, along with when I took trips to certain places, but I could never figure out the key trigger - it didn't seem to be air quality - possibly food related?

Was not exacerbated while sleeping

After a cold it would always be back again - after many years experience dealing with this, I would just expect it to be back for good after each cold. There were very few respites.

It was worse when I felt mild anxiety: talking with girls I was interested in, days leading up to a big presentation, etc.

I was tested about a dozen times by every kind of doctor (both MD and otherwise) to diagnose the problem - none of them found anything - reporting my lungs to be in perfect condition. I tried inhalers, herbs, etc - nothing had even the smallest affect on my cough.

My friends and family just accepted that I cough a lot - that's who I was to them. It was absolutely maddening. Then something unrelated happened almost 10 yrs ago that changed everything for me. I wouldn't wish this cough condition on my worst enemy, and I’m leaving this post with the hope that it ends up helping someone out there (hopefully it doesn't harm anyone).

About ten years ago I was diagnosed with adult ADD, and started to take 20mg of Adderall each day. I'll add that I am not someone with a lot of issues (health or otherwise) -- in fact, ADD and my cough were and are the only real health type issues that I've ever had. Anyway - I realized after a short time (maybe 2 or 3 months - I don't really remember) that my cough went away. Vanished. After 17 YEARS of deal with this coughing plague - it was gone! After a cold I still do get a cough for the next 2-3 weeks, but then it goes away - always.

I am convinced that the adderall is what fixed (or at least controls the symptoms of) this problem. Perhaps adderall itself isn't what's required, but something in it that has eradicated these symptoms. I have read that it can act as a bronchodilator - but none of the other dilators I used had even the smallest affect.

Please know that I write this with reservation, as Adderall comes with its set of issues as well. Even after taking 20mg for the past decade I still have side effects that aren't ideal. However, I thought it worthwhile to share this experience and hope it adds to your discourse in some way, and potentially even help someone who feels (as I did) that they have a life sentence with a seemingly incurable cough.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nick
Has the 3 month course of antibiotics had any effect? I read ages ago that chronic cough can be caused by infections like yours but it was from an American source and no doctor here has suggested it to me.

I won't bore you with the history of my 25 year cough and all the things I've tried (many being the same as you have!) but would be interested to know if I should ask for a broncoscopy. (Was it a horrible thing to undergo?)
Jennie Ward

Anonymous said...

I have also had a chronic cough that has been going on for 10 years. None of the doctors seem to be able to figure it out. One doctor said it is probably three or more things coming together at the same time causing the problem, but that didn't help. I have been tested for asthma (showed very mild asthma), acid reflux (did not have that), etc to no avail. Now I am supposed to go and have a sinus drained and I am in doubt as to whether or not that will help.

The only thing that has worked to allow me to work through the day and get some sleep at night is 5 ml of Tussionex Suspension (it contains a small amount of morphine)..once I take that with food my cough disappears for 8-12 hours at a time. Now they want to take it away because it is a narcotic, but it is the only thing that allows me to do my job.

I think I will try the no wheat diet before the nasal passage draining....maybe that's the ticket. Thanks for everyone's comments and I wish you all well.

Nick - Tussionex Suspension may help you if you find you are not getting any sleep. Carol (mortgages43@hotmail.com)

Anonymous said...

Is this still a problem. I have had a dry tickly cough for years and recently flared up worse. I found an article about amytriptaline and other drugs to calm the nerve involved. Anyone tried?

Anonymous said...

I gave up sugar a year ago (had the cough now for 5.5 years) and it is at about 30% of what it was since cutting out sugar.... am now on natural supplements to support my thyroid as there is evidence to suggest an underactive thyroid can cause a cough. good luck

Manic mother said...

It is of no use other than to empathize but look at the following link - Living with Chronic Cough http://www.missmarples.co.uk/living-with-chronic-cough/. I think our next step is to go down the hypnotherapy route and then maybe try the wheat free?

jzLiveEventsPainter said...

Hello Nick,
Any luck with the antibiotics/cough remedies? I was just about to ask my doc to refer me to a cough specialist when I googled same and read your blog ... which stops on 11.14.2013 just as you were going to try powerful antibiotics for three months. My coughing started a year ago, a couple of weeks after getting a flu injection... I have survived by eating extra strong peppermints all day long, but they don't give me any pep. thank you. Joan

Inspirational Roberta said...

Hello I'm wondering if this blog is still active would like to ask about chronic cough I have for 15 months . Please reply if active in 2016

himanshu saxena said...

I'm 26, and my cough is 5years old. I think it started due to prolonged medication for lower back pain( I read it on some blog), if continued that medication further it would have turned to lung cancer.
Doctors in my country are dumb and don't take my cough seriously. I had x-rays for many times and also TLC DLC tests for many time and they are fine. I want to know what other tests can be done to diagnose the correct thing.
I have more coughing when I wake up and then it's like 2-3 time a hour throughout the year.

Anonymous said...

I am currently 54 (Jan. 2017). About two years ago I developed a chronic cough shortly after experiencing a simple cold. This viral infection/cough lasted 3 months though and I knew that wasn't "normal." I assumed the viral infection had turned into bronchitis or a bacterial infection of some sort. So I went to the doctor and he put me on 2 different rounds of antibiotics and prednisone, which didn't help. Cough medicine with codeine helped me get some much needed sleep, but I knew I couldn't stay on it forever. They had me use a nebulizer but was told I didn't have asthma and my lungs were clear.

The cough continued and for the next year I visited a myriad of doctors, wasted thousands of dollars, and was diagnosed as having GERD (which was an inaccurate diagnosis) and put on a variety of prescription antacids. They didn't help. I then went for allergy testing. I was tested for a wheat and it came back negative so I was told *that* wasn't the problem.

Meanwhile, the coughing grew much worse. I'd cough until I threw up. I felt like I was drowning in mucus...like mucus was filling my lungs. I'd cough so deeply I was concerned I was going to break a rib. Sometimes I peed my pants (and I had no incontinence issues before). The coughing interfered immensely with my job and quality of life. Coworkers became angry and told me to go home, assuming I'd make them "sick."

Doctors were clueless. So I became a "Google doctor" and googled everything I could about "cough," "excess mucus production," "allergies," "food sensitivities." I started writing down what I ate and noted that my symptoms appeared worse after eating anything with wheat but the severity sometimes occurred first thing in the morning too when I hadn't eaten anything yet. How could food be causing me to cough in the morning when I hadn't eaten yet? It was all so confusing. I also noted that Diet Coke caused me to cough when ingested. So was it the Diet Coke or the wheat? Or was it something else?

What I learned, through trial and error and two years of madness and incompetent doctors, is that Diet Coke and wheat were causing me to develop a chronic cough. The more I ingested, the worse the symptoms. If I ate wheat/Diet Coke at every meal, I continually coughed (day and night). If I stopped eating/drinking it for 24 hours and then ate something with wheat (or drank Diet Coke), the symptoms might not appear until the next morning when I awoke. In other words, if I exposed my body to it nonstop, the coughing was nonstop. If I had a salad for lunch, however, the coughing would stop temporarily but might appear again 10 minutes after eating noodles for dinner or, depending on how much wheat I ingested that day, the debilitating symptoms (i.e, coughing violently for 45 min straight) might not occur until the next morning.

Once I stopped eating wheat (gluten free) and drinking Diet Coke, the symptoms disappeared within 24 hours. In addition, the chronic constipation I had experienced for YEARS disappeared and my achy joints greatly improved.

Wheat and Diet Coke are toxic to me and I believe I suffered for years (with constipation and painful joints) not knowing I was building up an intolerance. I believe it's just a matter of time until the majority of us will have food sensitivities because of the toxins they are putting into our foods. Google "Aspartame and chronic cough" if you have a cough and drink any diet sodas or eat any food containing aspartame.

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