What is this green ball?
July 27, 2006 8:31 AM   Subscribe

I cough something up every morning. I would like to know what it is. Description inside [mildly gross].

Okay so almost every morning for the past 4-5 months I have coughed up a pea-sized, squishy, ball of green/yellow mucus. No more, no less. The particularly strange thing is that while "squishy" it holds or binds together in it's ball shape much stronger than any mucus I have ever seen, much less produced. (This may be extremely gross, but it's not as bad as it sounds or I would have asked sooner. It's just very wierd to produce something of this kind of consistancy [both time and texture meanings intended])

Now I don't experience this any other time in the day. Also I'm aware of the fact that green/yellow mucus normally indicates infection. I don't feel sick but about a month into this experience my girlfriend developed a laryngitis type illness. It stands to reason that they are most likely related, however no one else I know has gotten sick around me.

Family members have suggested that this is caused by allergies, but I've never had this type of reaction to an allergen before, and am not very allergy prone.
posted by JakeLL to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
Response by poster: Oh I forgot, I smoke every so often when I drink, which is not much. There has been a period of 2 1/2 months in which I did not smoke and it did not change much less stop.

Also when I did smoke, it didn't change it either.

I have never been a steady smoker so this is not the result of years of smoking or anything.
posted by JakeLL at 8:34 AM on July 27, 2006

I get those every so often. I don't know what they are, but I think people call them "pearls," which is pretty apt.
posted by milarepa at 8:38 AM on July 27, 2006

Doesn't 100% fit the bill, but could be a tonsilith.
posted by bifter at 8:39 AM on July 27, 2006

This post is useless without a photo.

No, just kidding, they're called tonsil stones. Google "tonsil stones crypts".
posted by jellicle at 8:39 AM on July 27, 2006

what bifter and jellicle said, judging from how you describe it. i'm 35 and i've had them since i was about 14.

apparently i've just got tonsils with entry holes (or whatever they're called) that are big enough to let food in, which gets covered in the goo.

i used to smoke and it never made a difference, i just get one or two a week. if you're curious like me, you'll learn which bit of your tonsil to gently press with the end of a toothbush, to pop 'em out, when you feel one on it's way out. but maybe i'm just gross.

hope this is what it is (harmless) rather than something more icky.
posted by dowcrag at 9:02 AM on July 27, 2006 [1 favorite]

Previously on tonsillolith-filter. (Bifter apparently takes his tonsil stones very seriously, because he left out the "lol".)
posted by mendel at 9:46 AM on July 27, 2006 [1 favorite]

Sounds like Catarrh to me (link and link).

It was a problem for me when I was a kid, I had ear and sinus infections all the time. I still cough this crap up occasionally. Usually darkish yellow, smells like death made whole. My Mum called the substance itself Catarrh, but having done a few searhes on it it looks like the medical definition spans wider than this.

Probably not much to worry about. If you're at all aconcerned about your smoking then stop. Nothing like a good excuse for that.
posted by 0bvious at 10:11 AM on July 27, 2006

I get these a lot. I ask my doctor and she said:

Your lungs are a filter, and the heavy stuff falls to the bottom of your lung. Sometimes when you breath deeply or breath heavily these items come up.

I usually cough them up after a big grappling match or from doing lots of exercising.
posted by bleucube at 10:23 AM on July 27, 2006

I may be the only one here, but I have tonsil stones, and cannot imagine it being possible to cough up a pea-sized one every single day for 4-5 months. You're talking 120-150 stones here. Also, I've never seen them mistaken for mucous, they're quite solid. And I haven't seen them ever described as green; they're usually white, maybe sometimes with a yellow tinge.

I could be wrong, and am going largely from my personal experience with the condition, which may not apply to all, but it doesn't seem to fit to me. That's a whole lotta tonsil stones.
posted by FortyT-wo at 10:30 AM on July 27, 2006

I don't think these are tosniliths. Tonsiliths are little balls of grainy paste that can be crushed like an over-cooked grain of rice. The description to me sounded more like jellified mucus in texture.

Tonsiliths are also white/off-white. The OP specified green/yellow.
posted by sourwookie at 11:10 AM on July 27, 2006

Response by poster: FortyT-wo is right, I looked up the tonsil stones and these defenitly are not it. They are very squishy and mucus-like; however it's much more "bound" then slimy, "blow your nose" mucus.

The "lungs as a filter" makes sense but why every morning? I don't have to work hard to get them up, I just give one firm "hock" and it fly's up.

Also I've never noticed any smell from them, but then again I haven't gone out of my way to smell them.

Any theories on the regularity?
posted by JakeLL at 11:11 AM on July 27, 2006

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