Are cough drops causing me to leak?
July 6, 2010 7:11 AM   Subscribe

What are the chances of sugar-free Halls cough drops causing...seepage? (yeah, that kind...sorta gross details inside)

I used to be on some medication that made my throat dry. I was teaching at the time, so I started using Halls sugar-free cough drops to help me lecture beyond my scratchy-throated 20 minute limit.

I no longer take the medication, but my throat is still sorta dry. I consume 3-5 cough drops a day. Feels great, like I can talk again, sing again, etc.

The problem is, I've developed a slight anal seepage problem. Enough to dampen a piece of toilet paper a few times a day. Smell is similar to what my cat's butt smelled like before we had his glands expressed.

Further complicating the issue is that I'm wondering if it's an anal fistula. I had a good size hemorrhoid about a year ago, and I had never had one like that before. Could this have led to what I have now?

I will go ask a doctor about it, but what are the chances it's the Halls? Is there something in the sugar-replacing component that could be causing the seepage?

I have had anal leakage before from consuming olestra (I think it was), and that was quite a bit more unpleasant; still, it makes me wary of my cough drops.

Also: Tips on a replacement for the halls would be much appreciated. Water doesn't seem to work that well. Breath mints seem to make my throat worse.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
Do the cough drops contain either sorbitol or maltitol? If so, you may have an intolerance to sugar alcohols. I do. It's not fun.
posted by Evangeline at 7:14 AM on July 6, 2010

Isomalt (which I think they contain - you might want to check) can cause flatulence and diarrhea, because the digestive system treats it as fibre rather than as carbohydrate. So there you go.

3-5 cough drops a day isn't much, but maybe you're a bit sensitive to Isomalt.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:21 AM on July 6, 2010

My dentist recommended Spry brand gum and mints with Xylitol for symptoms of dry mouth. I believe Xylitol is still a sugar alcohol but not as bad as sorbitol or maltitol. You can get Spry products at Whole Foods and vitamin shops.
posted by BibiRose at 7:24 AM on July 6, 2010

Direct from the Hall's website: "Excess consumption may have a laxative effect."
posted by labwench at 7:32 AM on July 6, 2010

Yup - lots of artificial sweeteners have a laxative effect. It's common. The trick is either to switch to the sugary equivalent, consume less or choose a brand with xylitol - which tends to cause it less.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:02 AM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

A singing teacher recommended licorice-based pastilles; I've had success trying Meloids and the horribly-named Nigroids (both are tiny black candies with a very strong licorice taste) or Valda (gummy and mentholy). All three can be hard to find, but I've had success in imported candy shops (British for Meloids, French for Valda).
posted by pseudostrabismus at 8:31 AM on July 6, 2010

You might want to try an herbal throat spray. You can get them in health food stores. They taste mildly horrid but can do wonders - used to use them in musical theatre. My favorite was one by Zand called Herbal Mist, but there are a few options.
posted by Billegible at 8:51 AM on July 6, 2010

I use all manner of sugar substitutes. As a result I've become acutely aware of how each effects my body. I have never had a "seepage" problem from any of them. Acute distress? yes. Seepage? no.
posted by FlamingBore at 9:01 AM on July 6, 2010

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