Cough variant asthma or VCD? - Asthma UK communi...

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Cough variant asthma or VCD?


Hi all,

I am new to this forum and struggling to get diagnosed, and so glad I found it. It answers many queries and you don't feel so alone.

Here goes - presented at GP over 3 months ago with persistent cough. Found to have ? Chest infection prescribed antibiotics. Whilst these helped cough persisted and so starts the barrage of tests. So far have had Chest X-ray, bloods, spirometry and CT scan (thought I had pulmonary fibrosis). Everything is normal, Spirometry is above predicted normal although I was coughing and wheezing throughout so much so that nurse got GP to check me out and was prescribed prednisone. Was also on 2nd course of antibiotics at time due to what I described as a crisis. It seemed to come on suddenly as coughing increased in severity, became breathless and ? Stridor.

Returned to GP January as kept awake all night with hacking cough and wheezing. Was told chest was clear as was everything else, although GP could hear wheezing as I sat opposite said I sounded congested precribed further antibiotics and prednisone. GP said I was a mystery, I have obvious symptoms which have been observed but no diagnosis.

Whilst Prednisone helped enormously this 2nd time, 2 days after finishing course the cough has returned.

I would be very grateful for any comments/advise as to where to go next.

Thank you for reading long winded entry.

29 Replies

Hi you have been having problems and I am sorry you can't get a diagnosis. I was going to say ask for a CT scan but you said you had already had once which was normal. I think the only place to go after that is an MRI scan? Have you ever seen a consultant at the hospital? I would ask for a referral if not as there is obviously something wrong.

One thing which can help if you are coughing is to drink lots of fluid (water best) as this helps thin mucus down. Also when you go out in the cold wear a loose scarf round your nose and mouth to stop cold air going down. x

NannyP-UK in reply to Hidden

Many thanks Coughalot2. I am trying to keep the fluids going.

Back at GP on Monday so will ask for a referral don't think there is much else they are able to offer at GPs but could be wrong. Fingers crossed I get a diagnosis soon however looking at the posts on this site best not hold my breath - which would be difficult ha ha.

Meant to say in original post I feel like wheeze is coming from throat hence my query of VCD

Mine comes from the throat which is constantly sore but gets really inflamed and I loose my voice and sometimes eating brings on coughing. If I eat mushrooms strawberries nuts when I go to bed my throat feels like it is closing up. Apparently beta blockers make alergies worse but doc said other meds do as well. Are you going to asthma clinic?

As yet not been referred anywhere which is frustrating. I appreciate you have to go through hoops but ..... First course of prednisone didn't really do anything I had to return to GP after 2 doses (review) which he said proved I didn't have asthma. Also told to stop using salbutamol inhaler. However 2nd course of prednisone was like a miracle was told to start using blue inhaler again - conflicting. Is it any wonder we don't know where we are?

Can I ask a stupid question does blue inhaler completely suppress cough or just reduce it. I find it confusing. Thanks

I was told I didn't have asthma by GP for years but had allergic rhinitis but as cough not getting better eventually refferred to ear nose and throat who did various tests told it was beta blockers if coming off them didn't help needed reffering to chest clinic. Drs response was it's not beta blockers but refferred me to chest clinic. After tests was diagnosed with atopic asthma and changed from blue inhaler which I think you take when having an attack and called a reliever which didn't help me as I can't breathe through my mouth when I have one as my throat closes up and I think pink one is a reliever which I take morning and night and is a preventer

My pink inhaler is called fostair

Hi you sound like me I've been diagnosed after a long struggle with atopic asthma mine comes from the throat it's alergic asthma and I was on beta blockers at the time which was making cough worse been prescribed monelukast which I take at night and night coughing has stopped and my inhaler changed from blue to pink I still have some coughing in day but not as much and asthma clinic say it could go altogether when drugs are completely out of my system. Ask them to check your meds read side effects on leaflet and ask for alert test . Hope this helps

Sorry I typed allergy test above

Hi! I am 71yrs old. Had what was called a" very nasty chest infection" 15 months ago and was in hospital for a week. Treated with antibiotics and nebulizer and oxygen. Took a while to get over it. Was prescribed fostair and Ventolin. Six months later I had another bout of very bad breathlessness and was again hospitalised. Diagnosed with? asthma and seen by asthma nurses and gp. Had blood tests and chest x-ray again and chest scan. All normal! Still very breathless. Have been recording peak flow twice daily - before and after inhalers, and waiting for results of last breathing capacity tests. I have never blown more than 250 and have been called a mystery because the medics say that I don't fall into the asthma camp or COPD. Anyone got any ideas?

I have vcd and gerd and my chest is always clear and my sats are 99% even though im stuggling to breath as its coming from my throat like a atrangling sensation

NannyP-UK in reply to Hay133

Many thanks, do you get a lot of chest infections as a result of VCD?

Hay133 in reply to NannyP-UK

Gerd is just as bad though you wouldnt think it but it causes breathlessness coughing etc

Sometimes not often its mainly a cough that wont stop and that makes my breathing bad i have got chest infection this time though chest xrays and sats are normally clear its irritating unless you get doctor who knows about it how are you feeling

NannyP-UK in reply to Hay133

Didn't know that about gerd, could be a clue to my problems. I know where you are coming from re chest infections. Every time I go to GP it's the same chest is clear etc etc although they can hear a wheeze!! Hope you feel better soon x

Do you feel a strangling sensation in your throat or is it coming from chest

NannyP-UK in reply to Hay133

Can't say I do have strangling feeling although sometimes when coughing I find it hard to catch breath almost as if something is blocking airway. Wheezing is from throat.

Hay133 in reply to NannyP-UK

Read up on vcd and gerd you sound very simular to me do sprays affect you eg lynx

NannyP-UK in reply to Hay133

Will do, cold, 2nd hand smoke and spicy food cause me to cough, whilst laughing causes me to wheeze then cough. Sprays can cause coughing

Davey7 in reply to Hay133

Hi just thought I would reply as we have banned the use of lynx and all sprays in school . My throat closed up completely when I breathed it in . They tell me I have cough variant asthma and loads of allergens set me of . It's so scary when your throats closes and can't breathe . I put my hand over my mouth whenever I smell anything weird Now .

NannyP-UK in reply to Davey7

Thanks Davey7 I hope you are getting sorted with medication etc. I still don't have an official diagnosis, however have been prescribed ppi's and clinel inhaler which have helped enormously take care.

That sounds very familiar xx


Might you ask to be referred to physio? It sounds unlikely but my time with physio really helped me to feel more in control not just of breathing/coughing but of my whole life. I was caught up in a cycle of medical tests and antibiotics and steroids and endless blooming coughing. In a sense I am not especially bothered about 'diagnosis' but I do want my life to be as good as it can be. I hope things are good for you today.

Thank you it's certainly worth thinking about. I am still waiting for a 3 month review with a respiratory consultant 5 months on!! I guess asking for a physio referral will take for ever. However if you don't ask you don't get. Out of interest how did you get referred? Regards.


I realize this is an old post but I am having the same issues as you for the last 2 years and its driving me insane! Did you ever find out what was causing you these issues?

I cough constantly, wheeze from my throat (not chest), feels like someone is sitting on my throat and I am breathing through cloth or something.......minty & cold sensation when breathing in

If you could reply I would be so grateful - thanks

Hi Kayanne, sorry you are struggling. I have never had an official diagnosis although when I went to respiratory clinic was prescribed brown inhaler clenil. Reviewed 6 months later and told to continue with inhaler as it was helping symptoms. I still wheeze at times but nowhere near as bad. I occasionally have to take salbutamol inhaler as certain things set me off, 2nd hand smoke and cold in particular.

I suspect I have silent reflux but both hospital and GP dismissed this idea. All tests and peak flow remain normal. Although not diagnosed with asthma I was asked to attend an asthma review. It’s anybody’s guess what the issue is.

None of this helps you I know. If you ever receive a diagnosis let me know, likewise I will do the same. Take care and regards.

Your story and 'dignosis' sounds like mine - I was referred to respiratory clinic and then dismissed as I was diagnosed with Hyper sensitive airways to pet dander and allergic to cats, I have two at home, I still feel its not allergies but going back to the doctor this week to be revisited as the coughing makes me mad!

My ventolin helps me when I wheeze and it feels clear but then the next day its back :(

I hop you feel better also x

Hi how are you feeling now

Hi there. Im ok thanks. I have a cat allergy that causes my coughing

Hiya, what do you take for that

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