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Does this sound like true asthma??

It started in January of this year. I had a cough with lots of mucus every single day. There was no cold that preceeded it or any other illness. I was coughing so much it affected my bladder and was making me vomit. Even food was triggering my episodes. Something too hot, too dry, too crunchy (ie: popcorn is a nightmare)....I found by drinking water and blowing my nose it helped to ease it a little..I always have a bad runny nose with the coughing episodes too. There was no wheezy or a chest crushing feeling.

Anyway, I went to my GP after 6 weeks who prescribed me with cough meds..nothing helped. Then 4 weeks later he gives me antibiotics suspecting an infection.

Nothing helped so in April after I get a cold and a slight wheeze (when lying down) develops he says he suspects it may be a touch of asthma and hayfever. He takes my peak flow which was 350, asks if allergies are in my family..I tell him my dad has always suffered with really bad hayfever and my brother developed hayfever in his late 20's. From there he prescribes me with ventolin, becotide and antihistomines with nasal spray...

I notice no help from these at first. Then as time went on I noticed the ventolin helped with my coughing attacks. But I was still coughing on and off throughout the day. The meds had improved my condition by about half. I went back to my GP in May who says books me an appt at a hospital respiritory unit for June.

In June at the hospital they ended my current meds and prescribe me symbicort (two puffs a day. Up to 7 a day if i needed), two x antihistimines a day, nasonex, and singulair. Plus I can use my ventolin if needed. These meds were prescibed just going by what I told them had been happening to me over the past few months..

I noticed my symptoms improved a further 25% over the next few months...The coughing fits had eased by about half and I was no longer waking at 5am EVERY single night coughing constantly.

So here I am its October (10 months on). I wont say the meds havent helped in some way because they have eased the coughing so it is not EVERY single day that I have the coughing attacks. Also I am no longer throwing up and only have the odd bladder incident. But I have days where I will cough at the littlest trigger.. Especially Dry foods, or even laughing. Also after exercise I have noticed I have a cough...I have little one off coughs throughout every day that produce mucus...Infact mucus is ALWAYS coughed up! I ALWAYS have a runny nose and itchy throat with the cough too.

I know the meds are helping in some way but I am never completely symptom free and I always have to carry a bottle of water with me when I leave my house to ease my itchy throat if it starts!

I have never had a wheeze, except for when I had a cold. There has never been a crushing feeling in my chest. Although, if I cough enough I do feel it difficult to inhale for a few minutes (have to really suck in hard) and cant talk until it subsides.

So I am interested to hear what people think. Do my symptoms sound like asthma??...I want to have faith in the Doctors but with me still having some symptoms, if not as bad it makes me wonder....

3 Replies

Hello Mello

Welcome to the message boards.

Sorry you have had a rough time over the last year but glad that you have some of your symptoms under control.

It does sound like something called Cough Variant Asthma - there are some other people here who will know more about CVA.

Also, asthma can be a very varied condition and everyones symptoms will be different so don't go by ' text book' cases.

Another thing that may be adding to your cough is thrush in the throat & mouth - sometimes caused by steroid inhalers - with the puffers people often use a spacer but that isn't possible with Symbicort. You may have been told this or read it on the inhaler instructions but remember to wash your mouth out and or clean your teeth after taking the steroid inhaler.

Hope this helps

Take care



It might be worth asking your GP about trying antacids as well - omeprazole after meals and ranitidine at night. You can get what they call 'silent' reflux. I had no problems with heartburn just this infuriating coughing which was partially relieved by all normal asthma meds. Adding the antacids made a significant difference. The GP should start you on quite high doses of antacids and then taper off slowly. This website has a really useful description of chronic cough and the various causes.


Hi there,

Sorry to hear you've been having problems, it can be very frustrating to get so many alternative diagnoses.

Both the suggestions below are good ones, and the fact that you have had a partial response to asthma meds does suggest there is a degree of asthma going on. The fact that you are still getting some symptoms suggests that either you need stronger doses of medication or that there is something else going on as well.

Other diagnoses to consider would be: cough varient asthma, reflux (as discussed below), post-nasal drip, specific allergy to something environmental or dietary, infection, vocal cord dysfunction. Your consultant will be able to advise on whether any of these things fit your clinical condition, and whether any additional investigation or medication is required.

I suggest that you return to see your hospital consultant soon; if you do not have another appointment in the near future, then ringing the secretary or asking your GP to write may be able to remedy this.

Hope this helps

Em H


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