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British Lung Foundation
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Cough and Phlegm in COPD

Hi does anybody else have problems with coughing and bringing phlegm up I do my chest clearance as shown in Pulmonary Rehab which loosens it but it;s like there's a lump stuck there all the time that just won't budge, the doctors have suggested I try sodium chloride nebules which do seem to ease the cough but still do nothing for the phlegm. it's really getting me down I've only had COPD just over a year having NEVER smoked but being Asthmatic since I was a baby I feel so tired and exhusted most of the time because of the coughing and spend most nights sleeping in a chair apart from the other symtoms of COPD which are depilitating can anybody help or advise me please

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13 Replies

Hi Jiffy, Pete also had problems bringing up the mucous which seemed to be caught up in his throat all the time. He tried the saline nebs but was then put onto Mucoclear by the Hospital. I am not sure if that is the answer for you but you could mention it to your GP. Good luck to you. xxxxx

Hi and hoping you had a better night's sleep!

I was diagnosed as being asthmatic 20 years ago, but at my last assessment the nurse thought I had COPD..so don't really know.

I have a cough all the time except when I am taking a higher dose of prednisilone, and the mucus does always seem to be in the same part of my lungs, especially in the lower left.

The saline nebs make it easier to cough but just produce more mucus....one theory is that asthmatics may hyperventilate and that causes mucus to form. Wish I could get rid of mine.

Drinking water helps thin it and not breathing through the mouth and doing the pursed lip breathing does relieve it a bit. Do you rinse your mouth or gargle after taking your brown inhaler..that helps too, I used to find Becotide made me cough if I didn't.

Best wishes

I can cough mucus up, put sometimes it gets as far as my throat and sticks there, I use Cavona which seems to help.

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Have you tried Mucodyne from GP? It helps to keep secretions moist - along with drinking plenty of fluid.

Best bet is to call the helpline to see if they have more idea s on getting it up and out xx

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Thanks for the advice and yes have tried it and am drinking plenty, just don't know what else to do

i was diagnosed with Bronchiectesis about a year ago. I was told by the consultant that not being able to bring up phlegm is a symptom of the disease.I was prescribed Mucodyne but it gave me headaches.I have other chronic conditions so I really did not want headaches on top, but there are other meds that are prescribed for it. Seeing the gp might be a way forward. best of luck.

Hi Jiffy. I was diagnosed with bronchiectasis last year too and have trouble with sticky phlegm. Someone( from BLF community) suggested using a Flutter Device, available on prescription. I have tried it and it helps a bit but I am waiting for some support from a respiratory nurse or physio who knows the best way of using the device. You could ask your GP or Respiratory Dept about this.

Best wishes, swimmer

i also was told about the flutter device while I was at Pulmonary rehab so think that will be my next step have tried Mucodyne and also the Sodium chloride in nebuliser but to be honest don't thin it's helping hope you get on OK with your Good Luck and all the best

Thanks for the advice I've tried Mucodyne as well didn't seem to do anything now giving the sodium chloride nebules a try it's so exhusting trying to clear the chest hope you get on OK all the best

I was advised to get an 'Acapella' a choice Vibratory PEP Device?, which was £50! which I got, but I do not get on with it too well, but I'm going to to give it another try with the help of a community nurse. Here's hoping,....best wishes.

Just a word of warning, Jiffy, don't try coughing too hard to bring up stubborn phlegm or you could end up giving yourself a hernia, I ended up with an umbilical hernia and it just adds to your problems !

Thanks for that advice dukes, sometimes it's like you got to cough your guts up to try and shift it, and still it sits there

I've just started on carbocystine which thins the mucus out. Not a marked improvement but I'm giving it a try. I could think of better ways to shake rattle & roll :( rattling chest keeps me up most of the night. Worn out.

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