Bad cough after exercise

Hi, I have been experiencing a really bad cough for months now after I've played football. I go to the gym and do a lot of swimming and class my self as quite fit but I only seem to suffer with my chest when I play football. I take seretide 125 twice daily and bricanyl as and when needed and think my asthma is pretty well controlled. I do need my inhaler before I play and half time and occasionally towards the end of the match but once finished I have this really chesty cough. Does anyone else have this prob after exercise?

Thanks

Smithy

7 Replies

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  • Hi Smithy,

    Sorry to hear you've been struggling after football, it must be very frustrating when you are sporty and class yourself as fit. I do experience significant exertional breathlessness myself, so I know how annoying it is.

    It's impossible to be sure, of course, without actually seeing you and knowing your history, but it does sound like the cough that you are experiencing after football does relate to exercise-induced asthma. It is not unusual for different exercises to affect you in different ways, in terms of your asthma - I have heard a lot of people with similar stories, that one form of exercise does not trigger their asthma but another does. It may be that the short bursts of relatively aerobic exercise are more of a trigger for you than more sustained gentler exercise like swimming.

    It's worth going to your GP for a review of your asthma treatment, and explaining that you are getting significant exercise-induced symptoms. The goal of treatment should be to allow you to lead a normal life and do all the things you want to do. There is room for your GP to increase your Seretide, and there are plenty of other treatments available that you can try as well - for example, the tablet montelukast (Singulair) is supposed to be good for exercise-induced asthma.

    Hope this helps, do let us know how you get on.

    Take care

    Em H

  • I had the same problem about 10 years ago, I played 5 a side in a leisure centre and Sunday league. My doctor advised to use the reliever before and after the match and this helped. I have given up the football as I get older but do try to use the gym and intend to start swimming as I beleive exercise does make a diference.

  • well i eventually got into see the nurse about my recent experience of a really bad cough after I've exercised and all the nurse said was isn't it strange how some exercises cause me to cough afterwards and others not and laughed! She took my peak flow which was slightly below normal but I don't feel as though my asthma is bothering me and said just keep an eye on it. I guess I'm just worrying about nothing!

    smithy

  • Hi Smithy,

    I'm glad that you discussed this with your nurse. I wouldn't say that it's that strange that different forms of exercise have differing effects on your asthma - it's certainly not uncommon. Different exercises put different strains on your body, heart and lungs - for example, compare the effects of sprinting and marathon running. Many people who suffer from exercise-induced asthma would have difficulty sprinting fast, but would be able to run a much longer distance more slowly.

    I don't think you are 'worrying about nothing'. Clearly this symptom is interfering with your life, or you would not have posted on here about it. Any sort of exercise-induced symptoms may be a sign that your asthma is not as well controlled as it could be - and your slightly low peak flow would go along with this. The vast majority of asthmatics can be almost completely controlled, once the right combination of treatment has been found, so you should not put up with symptoms that are interfering with your life and your enjoyment of sport until you have tried to get things under better control.

    If this is still bothering you, I would suggest you go to your GP and say clearly that you are not happy with the level of control that you have. You might find it useful to keep a peak flow diary and measure your peak flow before and after sport to show the GP what is going on. If you don't have a peak flow meter, your GP can prescribe one, or you can buy one in any pharmacy.

    Hope this helps, do let us know how you get on.

    Em H

  • Thanks for that emily I'm going to see doc next week so will ask. I do have a peak flow meter and have never measuered it after I've played football when I have the cough so I guess it would be interesting to see if there is any difference to before I play. I'll give it a go!

    Thanks

    smithy x

  • Do you cough at the beginning of the game, cause that what happened to me, sometimes it would settle down and I be ok, I used to go in goal in five a side for 5 mins then swap and that seem to work.

  • Hi Andy, No I don't have a cough at the start, I always take my inhaler at the start of the match and at half time. I only find myself coughing about 10mins after the match is over, particularly when I'm in the car on the way home!

    Smithy

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