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Is it really asthma? Can’t stop coughing


Hello everyone

Been coughing since December, GP says it’s asthma. I’m on ventolin and clenil inhalers, omeprazole (in case it’s acid reflux) and the latest montelukast 10mg. I’m taking my hay fever medication fenofexadine 180mg and mometasone nasal spray. I also take Vit D 3000iu when I remember. The thing is though I’m still coughing morning, noon and night. I can’t lie flat in bed at night on my back throat starts to irritate feel like clearing my throat then coughing starts. I managed to get two weeks sleep when the GP put me on 40mg prednisolone (steroids) it was magic. Was on it for five days. The cough is just awful sometimes it makes me retch, chest hurts all the time just miserable. From reading through posts I’ve learnt a few things but any advice? I’m starting to wonder if it’s even asthma.

15 Replies

When you're coughing, do you use your ventolin and does it help? It might be useful to do your peak flow when you have symptoms, then use the ventolin (ideally 2 puffs, inhaled one after the other not 2 presses together, through a spacer). Then 15-20 mins later repeat your peak flow. The impact on peak flow and on your symptoms can show whether the ventolin is helping.

But if the doctor thinks it is asthma then maybe ask about changing your inhaler from a just steroid one to a combi inhaler which contains steroid and and long-acting bronchodilator. But working out if the coughing is asthma would be useful first. Breathing tests like spirometry aren't necessarily helpful as they can be normal anyway (as asthma is variable) but impact of asthma medications on symptoms and peak flow is a useful tool. Also if you do your peak flow (and if the GP thought asthma they should have been getting you to do this from the start, although many seem not to bother with encouraging basic monitoring...!) has it improved since you started the Clenil (ie since December not literally straight after taking it)?

Thank you for responding. I only started using the ventolin at night after reading posts on here! All of this has been diagnosed over the phone I’ve not actually been seen in the flesh by a doc/nurse. It does help a little but effect doesn’t last. Last night I woke up coughing three times and used it. But I will do as you advise and start monitoring I stopped as no one asked for the results. Last week would’ve been week eight of the clenil and as was still coughing got started on montelukast. I think the clenil is helping but its not fully effective. The GP was going to put me on a combi inhaler but changed her mind and put me on the montelukast instead. Can’t say I’ve noticed any improvement but as it’s getting colder that seems to give me issues. She also said about waiting three months to see if it works before reviewing but not sure I will last. I have a months prescription of montelukast so will see if it improves things. Thank you Twinkly29👍

Diagnosing over the phone isn't necessarily any different to in don't worry about that for now. They can hear a lot that way and will have been listening to what you're saying about symptoms which is really important.

The montelukast should be additional to the clenil not instead of - so if it's a switch I would maybe check they mean that. Waiting is sensible as all these preventer meds do take approx 8 weeks, some longer, to become fully effective. That said, do contact them at any point to discuss any queries you have - they're right to give them time but don't feel you can't discuss things in the meantime.

I kind of laughed about the giving up monitoring - in an understanding way! It does definitely feel a bit 😩😩😩 at times for that reason! Going back to it now sounds a good plan with the meds change.

If the clenil felt like it helped that's a sign that it was working (so therefore could well be asthma) - and therefore it does just need that bit extra that hopefully the montelukast will help.

You may have seen it from other posts on here but I wrote this post because so many people seem to not be told anything about asthma (symptoms, management, monitoring, etc) by GPs or nurses, in case that's any help:

Sorry to hear you are having trouble. I am basically the same but Im okay lying down for the most part. It sound like what I have. Cough Variant Asthma. I have been trying to find the right meds. They say it is Allergy induced. Sounds like that may be your case, but it can turn into bronchitis when not controlled, so maybe you need antibiotics? I recently got changed from Symbicort to Trelegy and its better for sure but I still get coughing fits. I get lots of phlem and cough up mucus at times. Do you have a productive cough or dry? Do you weeze?

I see an allergist and my lung fuction is always below what they want and for years now I cant seem to get anything to work. My next step is to try the biologic Xolair. I know its very frustrating especially now with Covid. Everyone looks at you weird because of your coughing. I have to always tell people its just allergies.

Cushionluver in reply to CharloS

Hi Charlos thanks for responding. I have bad hay fever and IBS so I guess allergy is my thing. At night my cough is productive but it’s just clear phlegm. In the beginning I was wheezing but that’s more or less gone but the coughing fit leads to difficulty catching my breath. Actually I do make this weird noise when coughing which thinking about it is probably wheezing. Coldness and talking seems to be triggers and I guess dust. With COVID the coughing is a nitemare I just don’t make eye contact with anyone.

CharloS in reply to Cushionluver

Im noticing the Trelegy I think Im taking now for just 2 weeks is helping. But YES talking for me also would cause me to start coughing and I lose my voice. I can take deep breaths in it seems but when I breathe out forcefully for those tests I make noisy like roaring and it makes me cough.

Had a cough for a year and then I was told it was asthma.and is 5 years with the cough now.yeah it can be terrible.the dirty looks people give you

Omg you’re still coughing after 5 years how do you manage? I’m starting to get a little down with it.

To be totally honest it can depressing at times.and of course you get angry and annoyed.which you are totally In titled first when had my cough my doctor would say it will go away after awhile or give me cough medicine.when the cough would go away maybe for a few weeks and then could back worse and louder. Soooo I am totally with you can get down and a bit depressed or angry with your body.

If you are taking taking steroids and yet still coughing. I would be wondering if it is allergy related. Have you recently moved house or got a new pet? I have asthma and silent reflux. Asthma makes me cough but not constantly. Are you taking a preventative spray? I would suggest that in case it is asthma as you don’t just want to treat the symptoms you want to prevent them.Also with asthma medication reflux issues can come with it as the sprays can relax the muscles in the throat and allow acid back up. I had omeprazole but it made me get more asthmatic so I came off it. I tried lansoprazole which worked better except for stomach upsets.

I don’t take them now. Gaviscon extra is much milder. I take antihistamine through spring and summer which helps.

If you think they are not investigating your symptoms properly I would ask for allergy tests.

Hope you feel better.

Hey Hazyeyes so today was terrible so spoke to the Asthma UK nurse and rang my GP practice who squeezed me in so I’m back on oral steroids. I’m starting to think I might be allergic something in my home. The GP told me to look for mould which is gonna be fun. I don’t have pets maybe it’s dust? I take the preventer twice a day, which I think needs to be stronger but have to wait for this current steroid course to finish before they will review. I am waiting for allergy testing as recently diagnosed with eczema which they think is allergy related. Thanks

Hi, sorry to hear you are having such a hard time lately. I have been there and it is rough. Allergy testing is good may help identify something that you need to avoid. There are so many allergens, even in food I have found that set me off. Some pre packaged foods have sulphur dioxide in which will be listed on the back that has made me quite ill when I haven’t known it was in it. It is a preservative and can give you a reaction.Also if I have too much dairy which I love it really affects me and I cough more. So I try to have coffee which is a bronchodilator and opens the airways. Although too much makes you anxious!

Do you take a nasal spray a steroid one as sometimes you can get post nasal drip which sounds awful I know but it can start if you have allergies and make you cough which can lead to those asthma feelings.

If I get affected by pollen or any allergies I have antihistamines along with my preventative asthma spray.

I take pulmicort which is a powder inhaler as I was allergic to the propellant in the other asthma sprays and they made me worse.

You can also get a powder reliever too.

I have been on three different preventatives as one didn’t seem to help and the others have me a reaction straight away.

I have been on prednisone as well quite a few times and they make you feel bad but after five days you start to feel better gradually. Fingers crossed you will get this sorted soon.

I had a test called Feno test as well to measure how well your lungs are working and it is supposed to be a good indicator of whether you have asthma or not.

If you have been given a respiratory consultant you should I ask for one of those tests.

I even had a nasal endoscopy and they said that was fine but they thought my issues came from allergies and reflux.

I have allergic asthma. Mold is bad for respiratory issues, check your bathroom and keep your house at an even temperature as that helps you not get symptoms too I found. If I go from hot to cold it affects me.

Sorry for rambling on hope it helps.

Well we.could be twins I'm on ventolin,fexofenadine ,vitamin d ...I am on seratide and braltus inhaler s as well..I have asthma and COPD so I cough a lot ..I also have acid reflux and am on lansoperazol ....nothing seems to help but if you go on BLF website they tell you HOW TO cough and it makes a big difference to me anyway because I was told when I was in hospital DON'T cough because the more you do the more it irritates the I try to withhold the cough and do " huff coughing" and I have found that a real help......coughing is the pits it drives you mad .....try not to let it get you down ...Marlene

Haha cough twins lol! What is BLF? Need to look into how to cough as I’m destroying my throat and vocal cords I’m constantly hoarse it just feels like I’m in a vicious cycle. I’m so grateful for this community because it is so wearing. Xx

Hi. I found that I was constantly trying not to cough, one because it is embarrassing to cough so much that you wonder how you will take your next breath and two, because it feels like you will choke. Back to GP every couple of weeks but no one seemed to know what to do with me. I had a dental appointment and the dentist said that she would not be able to do the treatment as she could see that my throat was “twitchy “. I was quite anxious about having the dental treatment because of the cough but also anxious about not being able to have it. She mentioned Vocal Cord Dysfunction. I went home and researched it. It seemed to make sense so I found an Airways Clinic with a Consultant with a special interest in VCD and made an appointment. I cannot thank that Consultant enough. He sorted put my meds and I haven’t looked back. Worth a try?

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