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.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Latest update

I'm now at a settled stage with my cough - I know what it's about, and I know there's a change coming ... just got to be patient.

I recently had a review session with Prof.Woodcock at Wythenshawe. They're now pretty much settled on the idea that my cough, and that of many other people, is a neurological condition, characterised by hyper-responsiveness of the nerves. What I take that to mean is that there's nothing mechanically wrong with any bit of my airwaves, just that it over-responds to the slightest trigger, and at the moment there's no way of calming that down - but help is on the way when the ATP drug that is still being trialled is approved and becomes available, in about three years time. (I've posted elsewhere about my positive experience with the drug trial).

The profs have recently published what's supposed to be the definitive summary of the cough story so far in Clinical Medicine, the Journal of the Royal College of Physicians.  It's called "Towards Understanding and Managing Chronic Cough."  I'm going to try to put a link to it here, but if that doesn't work please try to Google it. It's interesting. 

Don't get me wrong, the cough is still a big nuisance and blights my life often, but I'm confident it's nothing too sinister and probably will not develop that way (who knows what the future holds?).  

My top tips for coping with the cough??? No.1 is Try not to worry about it too much ... 2/ I find Airwaves chewing gum helps a lot - not the prettiest thing to be doing at my age but it keeps me lubricated 3/ same reason, drink plenty of water (and white wine and soda in a green bottle passes for water at the theatre!) 4/ Fishermen's Friends, a good old product from the North of England, also help to keep the tubes clear 5/ explain your problem to your friends - they should be supportive and helpful. 

With simple measures like that I've learnt to live with this damn cough (as has my long-suffering wife!) and so I intend to get on with enjoying myself ... that means making as much music as I possibly can with as many friends as I can!!!

Best regards to all out there in the Cough Community 😊


Alberto said...


As I suggested on another post of yours. Have you tried amitryptiline or gabapentin for sensory neuropathic cough?

Amitryptiline seems to be very effective for this

Take care!

Kate Ped said...

Hi Nick. It's Kate here. I posted a little while back and thought I'd give a little update.
I have suffered with a cough for 12 years. Approximately 5 years ago enough was enough and I started the rigmarole of trying to determine it's cause.
First stop local GP. Then private GP. Then (thanks to your post) I requested to go to the Wythenshawe Cough Clinic.. bringing me pretty much up to date. I had tests for asthma, allergies. X rays, scans. Inhalers, steroids, nasal sprays, acid reflux meds, a camera into the top of my lungs. Nothing was budging. No effect from any of the drugs ando the same persistent cough.
My triggers seemed to be a change in temperature, particularly cold air, certain strong smells. I found I was worse in the morning on waking up. Talking a lot would soon have me coughing and spluttering over everything and everyone, sometimes to the point of eyes streaming and wretching. Not a nice place to be. I would avoid long conversations, definitely not public speak, and would forever be apologising. Lots of people would comment, people of didn't know so well would ask if I had another cold. I was very self conscious.
The final test sent me to Preston Hospital. One of my big triggers, funny as it sounds, was the smell of salt and vinegar crisps (Cheap ones such as disco's are a particular baddy). I was asked to bring them in. As a camera was sent up my nose to this time look at my vocal chords I was asked to hum, breathe at different rates and lastly, sniff up the fragrant offending discos. My vocal chords went into a spasming fury. My vocal chords were trying to close when I breathed in and at the smell of vinegar.. they should be opening and my cough was my bodys response to opening them back up. Many years of hacking away and they were hypersensitive too. I was diagnosed with vocal chord disfunction. A problem that doesn't respond to medication.. Nooooo!! But.. does respond to speech and language therapy!! I sat down with a lovely therapist at the hospital and she help me to understand when I was going to cough and how to effectively stifle it by breathing and swallowing techniques. These are on YouTube of anyone wants to take a look. This in turn reduced the sensitivity of my throat. And cyclically reduced my coughing. Such to the point that people comment that they haven't heard me coughing! It took a good 6 weeks to get on top of it and to realise and control myself. Yes I may have looked atitle silly breathing out and wiggling my neck. But it worked!!
I have had a small relapse recently with a cold bringing coughing back. My cough always would be made a lot worse whenever I was ill. But as long as I train my mind to realise my niggle in my throat I can swallow and breath it away. Today I am giving a presentation to 120 experts, something I the past I would have avoided at all costs, but I am confident I can do it and actually talk all the way through it without coughing!!
I can even eat salt and vinegar crisps now. I think it's a chemical in them that was my trigger. I hear another lady who went in for the same thing had a trigger of Chinese.. again additives.
Anyway, a bit of a brain dump, but after 5 years I got there and am under control. It might be worth a look at the VCD in Google. Best of luck..and I hope you find a way forward too. Thank you for highlighting the cough clinic :) Kate

NickP said...

That's a lovely post and thank you Kate - so positive! I'll give that some careful thought 👍😁

Chris Lurie said...

I too have been coughing for 15 years now. My doctors seem to think it is all due to acid reflux. I received an endoscopy and my gastronologist thinks it has to do with what they call silent reflux. I rarely ever get heartburn just the cough. I take my proton pump inhibitors (Nexium) an hour before I eat like the dr told me but I still cough. And like you said I seem to cough more after I eat. I have raised the head of my bed about 8 inches so I really don't cough at night anymore and I make sure I sleep on my left side. This way the acid can't flow into the esophagus to irrate it otherwise I would cough all night. However, I cough continually during the day, all day. Chewing gum helps me too but it certainly isn't a cure. I would just like relief. Today I feel like I pulled a muscle in my upper back after a vicious coughing spell.
I am glad this new medication is working for you. I know how annoying it must be for you since I cough constantly all day long too. I feel like my only escape is when I sleep. If you can find out the name of the medication on trial I wonder if it has been approved in the US where I live.
Glad Kate has found relief so I am definitely going to look up VCD on the net. I am willing to try anything since my cough seems to be getting worse than better.

John m said...

Hi Nick i was comforted by reading your post, i am a 56 year old man that has had a cough now since 2012. I now am at the stage where in the morning i cough that much i run out of air i have to sit on the bathroom floor in fear of passing out until eventually after seconds it comes back.My breathing has also been affected now have become more noisy and nasally. I have had various tablets, x rays, cameras even sending my sputum off to see if anything grows from it,i have seen specialists but to no avail.I'm currently douching my nostrils and inserting steroids at the moment alongside Lansoprazole, but nothing. I am so interested in this blog as i am happy to try anything to ease this annoying cough. I do manage to sleep at night with only slight cough very rarely but on waking for the first hour the mucus and continuous coughing has now become the norm. I too have a very supportive wife but when you try to have a converstaion that takes 5/6 tries to get it out as you can imagine it is very frustrating.... I hope they release this drug sooner or find a different cure. John

Garrett said...

Have you tried food grade hydrogen peroxide treatment? This is no bullshit if you haven't heard of this. Hydrogen peroxide is found within our t-cells... it has to be food grade and diluted below 1%. You can buy it in bulk of 35% and then dilute to below 1%. Drink roughly three glasses of 1% daily. Meaning that within the glass of water there is 1% food grade hydrogen peroxide and 99% water. It can count as oxygen therapy. I've done this and it does work. Simply look up food grade hydrogen peroxide treatments. You would be amazed at what people have accomplished. Anyways I'm not liable for anyone who attempts this method. Do research and good luck

Anonymous said...

Hello Nick and all. I have reading all this with interest as I have had a chronic cough for about three years now (in my early 40s) So far had a few tests by GP including taking anti reflux medication to no effect. I am lucky in so much as my cough comes and goes and I might get respite for a couple of weeks or longer but it always returns and episodes last up to eight weeks. I don't need to tell you the impact it has on my life but at least i can focus on knowing I will get a break from it. Anyway I will investigate some of therapies you have tried and look forward to finding a cure! Wishing you all well. Thank you for the blog. It's good to know other people understand the cough, cough, cough.....Clare

Colleen Coil said...

I found my people! My cough is every day for 7 years now. I am now 40 so, since 33. I myself have tried the inhalers, nebulizers, prednisone (1 whole year!) Singulair, acid reflux meds, liquid codeine.........it does not seem to change with weather, location, animals or no animals, food products, detergents. Nothing. I will definitely be back here!

Justin Espinosa said...

I've been coughing like you and had all the test and everything normal, for like 10 years now. First asthma and respiratory system was clear, then several eent, said it was post nasal drip or my enlarged tonsils, then acid reflux by gastoenterologist, ive been taking dexilant for a year now but nothing was happening, im coughin like a 100x in an hour, there were a time in a day i wont cough but everytime i eat or drink i continue coughing like crazy, they said i might have a tic, neurological disorder but a cough tic, a neurologist suggested for me to take tetrabenazine 12.5mg a day, ive been taking since fathers day exactly a month from now but no changes, im still coughing like crazy, coughs get worst when i eat something, non stop, im a nurse, so im embarassed with my patients and my colleagues, luckily my colleagues now understands but still its nagging and i have a new born that wake up and cries everytime i cough, my wife feels really sorry for me. i dont know what to do, im tired of coughing too, my throat hurst and so is my stomach, maybe my diapraghm or stomach muscles are tired. what treatment are you doing? ive been taking lozenges and that fishermans friend but still no bueno.

Patricia Goodwin said...

I have been coughing now for over 20 years. It is 4.30 am and the second time that I have woken up this night. My husband and I sleep in different rooms so that I don't disturb him as he still works (I am 69). He is a lovely man and very supportive and understanding. I live in New Zealand and like you and many others have had every test imaginable and every pill available to no avail. I found you tonight and it is so lovely to know that I am not alone. I am sucking on Fishermans Friend at the moment trying to control things and am sorely tempted to get a glass of white wine. Oh dear! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

An update from an early post. I've been coughing for 6 years now with no let up. I recent found out about sensory neuropathic cough and had a good discussion with my familiy doctor and looked at some info available in journals and on the web and decided we had nothing to lose except to give low dose amitryptaline a shot- wow! 4 days later and my fairly constant cough of 6 years is 80 % improved much to my relief and that of my family, friends and work colleagues.

I would strongly recommend talking to you doctor about his treatment , it had been a total life changer for me.

Anonymous said...

I would like to share some things that have helped me with my chronic cough of 30+ years. I've done all the testing that many of you have done also. I try to lay on my left side when I go to bed, if I stay in that position for 15-20 min, then it seems to help reduce my coughing enough that I can get some sleep. Currently I'm using a Peppermint & Eucalyptus Essential oil - and I get some relief from that, it's like applying Vick's vapo rub. I also put some of it on a painters mask or a surgical mask and wear it, and that too gives me some coughing relief for a short time; but I need to keep reapplying it. I've also used cough drops with Menthol in them; and some of those red & white peppermint candies to keep in my mouth. And like most of you, everything offers temporary relief for a time, then I need to try something else. I'm anxious to follow the outcome of this trial drug. Here's hoping you can all have a quiet relaxing sleep.


Arleen said...

I’ve been going crazy trying to figure out why I’ve had this cough for almost 14 years. I’ve been through all the same test and I’ve had a linx device put in me to fix my acid reflux issue only to find out it didn’t solve my cough issue. I am going to bring this to a doctor to get this diagnosis confirmed and hope to be on the road to recovery. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

Grace said...

Hi All!

First thank you for this blog. I suffered intermittent chronic coughing all my life,and my last bout lasted over 2 years. My dad suffered from it as well. But now it has finally gone for good! The solution was we both changed our diets. I would explain it here, but it would be too lengthy. It does involve eliminating wheat and other grains, at least for a while. I know that you and several of your readers have tried eliminating wheat already, but it there can be more to it than that. If you would like to know what I did, I've posted my cure here: https://journalofabundance.wordpress.com/2018/01/04/how-i-cured-my-chronic-cough/. Hope it helps you and your readers.


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