I can't stop coughing!
April 28, 2009 10:41 PM Subscribe
Chronic cough has bothered me for two years. Five doctors have been unable to help me. I am at my wit's end. Help!
posted by prunes to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
As I write this I am suffering from a coughing bout that has kept me up two hours past my bed time.
I developed chronic cough sometime around when I started working in the summer of 2007. I am a healthy white male in his twenties. I feel like I have always tended to cough a little, but it was around that time that things got really bad. Over the course of these two years I have been to five doctors: my childhood pediatrician, two internists, an asthma/allergy specialist, and a pulmonary specialist.
I saw the pediatrician around a year and a half ago. She did not know what I had. She gave me antibiotics (clarithromycin perhaps), nasonex, and advair. These did not seem to help.
My allergist did two lung tests which he thought confirmed I did not have asthma. I was also subjected to a battery of 20+ allergens. I was allergic to 75% or so. But this was during the winter and during that time I was still suffering from my cough, and because of this the doctor did not think it was allergy induced. As a diagnosis by exclusion he thought perhaps I had acid reflux and recommended nexium. This I took on and off but got the flu during that time and so was very bad about taking my meds. I was highly skeptical of his diagnosis, although I admit that after very spicy foods I do cough (but to be fair I also notice my sinuses running heavily). But I also notice that I cough after eating especially bland foods sometimes. It's really hit or miss though.
Things started getting REALLY bad about four months ago. This motivated me to get a physical. I passed this physical with flying colors. I was tested for TB at that time. My doctor also did blood work to test for walking pneumonia, which I had in high school. The test came back negative and noted that I had the antigens. No surprise there. The doctor suggested I take a CAT scan and reiterated it might be possible that I could have acid reflux. The CAT scan came back negative. A "cookie swallow" was suggested for in the future. He noted that when he listened to my lungs as I sang AAAAAA, one chamber sounded as though I was saying EEEEEE, which he thought could be indicative.
The pulmonary specialist agreed that he did not think I had acid reflux. He observed that my throat was highly irritated and that I seemed to have nasal trip, most likely due to allergies. He thought that because I have been coughing for so long that my cough reflex was worn to the point where anything and everything made me cough. He recommended a full assault. He prescribed me prednisolone, clarinex, singulair, and codeine cough syrup, and recommended nasal irrigation.
This regimen brought my cough to a more manageable level but I still experience bad symptoms. Things will especially flair up when I am trying to go to bed and when I am working out. For the latter the pulmonary doctor prescribed an albuterol inhaler; it flat out does not work. And I can be sitting in my chair beside my bed not coughing but after I do my routine and get into bed I will start feeling like my lungs are wheezing and begin coughing. Anxiety plays a role I think.
I am getting to my wit's end. I feel like my doctor's are blowing me off, but I know of course that they have other patients with life threatening illnesses and that a case of chronic cough, which is so difficult to diagnose, ranks low on their list of priorities. Suggestions?