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British Lung Foundation
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What Stage Brochiectasis & Copd

How can you tell what stage you are at with Bronchectasis and COPD , who tells you, I am vomiting that much mucus up everyday, Im sure I must be at end !!!!! but I dont really feel that ill , just dont know how I cope with so much mucus coming out of my body, once I have de muked ! I just carry on almost as normal but it only last a couple of hours befor Im over the sink, anyone else like this xx

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34 Replies

I have bronchiectasis too and have always had copious amounts of mucus on a daily basis. Like you I often wonder where it all comes from! It doesn't necessarily make me ill - only if I have other symptoms of infection. I always just carry on as normal.

I don't know anything about stages for bronchiectasis. I measure my 'stage' by whether I can do the things I did this time last year. For years the answer was 'yes I can'. But in the last 5-6 years the answer has been 'not as much'. I am now on oxygen to help with my sats but I had an added heart problem that flared up last year so that may have added to my problems.

I think its best not to worry about stages. It is how you feel and what you can do that are important. Work hard at keeping your lungs clear for as long as possible because if you don't you will grow infections and that will damage your lung air sacs and they will never repair and you will go downhill. So keep up the clearance and keep doing exercise. Beat the bugs and stay healthy.


Hi Happyfeet59,

Thanks for the reply you have lessened my worry I just thought the amount of mucus was so abnormal I have been searching for answers for 18 months or more there is just so much of it, Ive been on oxygen 2lt for up to 15 hours a day for a couple of years now and like you most of the time I dont feel too bad, but once an infection or severe blockage occurs thats when the trouble starts.

Take care Carol x

Carol, I too am on oxygen, 5Lpm static and 7Lpm ambulatory 24/7. I am also on nebulised antibiotics due to being colonised with pseudamonas and it being resistant to ciprofloxacin.

I assume you have had it lab tested for general bugs. If pseudamonas is mentioned please get it dealt with, fast, even if that means going onto iv abs in hospital. Are you on any long term drugs for it eg Azithromicin?

I had a big problem last year with fluid in the lungs, felt like I was drowning. I had/have a heart problem and it was causing the excess fluid. GP gave me a diuretic which calmed things down as did the oxygen. If the volume increased recently perhaps you should check your oxygen levels especially if you are also more breathless. You may need to change your oxygen prescription.

Morning Carol I see the asthma nurse as and when I need to, as long as I go approx 3 times a year.

I never new what stage I was and asked last time I went to see her she looks it up on the PC at the last test you had turns out I am moderate.

The question you ask about mucus I cough most of mine about half an hour after I get up in a morning I do it all day but it does make you wonder we're it comes from, I need that to get going as I have 2 little dogs to take out. I must add I do cough mucus all day but mornings seem worse. Carry on de muking makes getting on with the day a little easier. Good luck :) :) Rose

Hi Rose, yes you are right mornings are bad but late afternoon or if I ignore it early evening is just as bad there is so much of the damn stuff, I literally heave as if I am being sick which is awful, I never did like being sick !! , its a bad state of affairs but once I get it over with I carry on and at least we are still here to carry on.

Take care Carol x

I have RLD and had a bout of bringing copious amounts of what was more like slime after morning coughing. I have a reflux problem as well and once I took a peptic liquid it went right down.

I agree with the above comments, do not look for a stage you are at everyone is so different Do the best with what you have. I have spoken to people with worse lung function than me they can walk for miles with no problem I am puffing going up stairs.

Be Well

Yep me too offcut, I can walk on the flat but show me an incline and Ive had it lol , thanks take care x

Hmm, I've never quite understood this obsession with "Stages" of ANY illness - surely its how you FEEL at any one time thats more important, and this "Stage" business only implies a " JOURNEY ", your on , that presumably ends in DEATH at its conclusion !!- well who wants to know that ! , and if your not careful, you can "create" your own "Stage" to FIT how you are feeling at any one time .A few weeks ago I really felt rough for about five days, but since then - feel pretty good - so WHAT "STAGE" DID THAT IMPLY FOLKS ? - NOTHING IS MY ANSWER! As has been said so many times , - everyone is different and the so called" Progress" of any disease is as varied as those who suffer from it !. To hell with "Stages" - THINK POSITIVE FOLKS - IT WORKS ! .....


Hi Vittorio, I agree wholeheartedly with your comments, I suppose fear makes me ask that question because no one medically can tell me exactly whats going on, normally I am really positive and intend to continue being so, just wish I could slow the rotten mucus down so I can go out a bit longer and do a bit more with my young family it leaves me feeling very frustrated, but I know there are a lot of people worse off than me so hey ho on I go, thanks for replying , take care

I have COPD and Bronchiectasis, Both Mild, so I am told by the consultant. I no longer have any substantial mucus. I put this down to the nose spray I use on a daily basis,as I thought my mucus was caused by a Nasel drip.I also take tablets for my Gastric Reflux when it flares up as this can also cause my Mucus.I do a lot of exercise (Gym and walking) and eat a healthy diet to keep my weight down. I gave up smoking 15 months ago after a 45 year habbit. I am a 65 year old woman who had never been to a Gym before in her life. My consultant says that by working at it this way my condition has stayed the same from last year and my transfer factor has improved (whatever that means)I presume Mild is stage 1, but maybe others on here will know more. I intend to stay at this stage for as long as I can.

Your post was very interesting. Could you please tell me what nasal spray you use? I am willing to try all avenues to get rid of mucus.

Stay well


Hi Tamara The Nasal spray is Mometasone Furoate 50 micrograms. I believe it is a steroid (which I am not very fond of but I don't use a steroid inhaler (I use spirivia) so it is not too bad.

Hi Ptliverpoll,

Well done you, you have done brilliant to do all that you have achieved I take me hat off to you, I am a fitness instructor and have been for over 30 years (Ironic) really me finishing up like this, but thats the was life goes sometimes, I still exercise when I can as I am sure it helps me. I have had to finish teaching apart from doing some moves with some not so fit elderly people whom I love my level of fitness is on a par with them now the problem is im not retiring age yet !! and they are much fitter than me, they tell me its because they had a good teacher !! haha but I know it does them all the world of good, Keep well xx Carol

ps. could you tell me which nasal spray you use xx

The Nasal spray is called Mometasone Furoate 50 micrograms. I hope it will help you if you can get it from your doctor. also see my reply to Tamara above. PTxx

There is research and trials into some natural products that seem to help COPD and the mucous. Here are a couple of links:



Hi Dorris, Thanks I will take a look at these sites xx

I agree with the above, but will add a rider. If you are of working age then the stage you are at is important to be able to claim benefits unless you don't need to or are retired. x

1 like

Hi Coughalot1, No I am not reitired at the moment but I have finished work due to health problems so I am on Sickness benefit (thats what they used to call it) I worked for 35 years so I am entitled to it, I dont know much about the benefit system but my partner still works so Im ok, thanks for replying take care carol x

Hi Caroig1, if you have a Consultant, or a Respiratory Nurse ring to ask for help or ring the BLF Helpline, they will be able to give you some information and hopefully reassurance. I have bronchiecstasis and COPD but I don't have the problem you seem to have. Take Care Lizzy

Hi Skinnylizzy,

I have spoke to both my consultant and respitory specialist and to be honest they are at a loss as to why I get to the stage where I just start heaving copius amounts of mucus up, once it has happened Im ok for a few hours, its as if it gets trapped (like bottlenecking) can,t go down and through my body so it has to come back upwards !! the T junction at the centre of my chest gets so sore it really is getting me down it has been going on so flipping long, Thanks for replying though,

Stay well Carol x

CArol, I know it's depressing to vomit the mucus. perhaps you should try ACBT or Active Cycle of Breathing Technique. See one video from YouTube:

At the Kent and Canterbury, the physio showed me as wel, after the belly breathing, to breathe in deeply and when at the end of breathing in you force a little bit more (when you get this, you leave a little space in your breathing in to do this). You doe this up to ten times,(to begin with start with three times) and then huff to cough up. All this must be done fairly gently, if not you strain your muscles. do this in the morning and in the evening. You should see an improvement and not have this spasm reflex of vomiting.

There are devices which help with coughing up like the flutter and the acapella. Your consultant can prescribe this to you. Speak to your Respiratory nurse about it. Hope this help.

Hi Helingmic,

Thanks for your information I will watch the video, I do have flutter devices and they do sometimes clear a blockage and then I begin the process, but I can be heaving for 2 to 4 hours it is so awful.

Thanks take Care Carol x

Hi .. i take mucodyne , which my nurse gave me a few weeks ago as I was having the same problem. It seems to of helped :) Jan xx

Hi Carol,

You have had a lot of good advice which I am sure will help you. I am like you for a couple of hours most mornings. I heave a lot of the time but not nearly so much anymore. Firstly, I was prescribed Mucodyne capsules which thin the mucous and breaks it up. This makes it easier to cough up. However, I have asthma and copd and waiting to find out if I have bronchiectasis. These capsules definitely help. Another thing that you could do, especially as you seem to think it is a nasal drip as well causing you this problem is using a steam inhalation. You can buy a steam inhaler for under £5 from Amazon or use a large bowl. Fill the container with boiling water, and place on a flat surface. Drape a large towel over your head (tent style), so that no steam can get out.. Then simply slowly inhale the steam.. Have plenty of tissues or something ready to cough into. The two suggestions I have made are for mucous that is stuck and is difficult to cough up. If you are coughing up without any bother, then the two methods I have mentioned will not help much. Hope this helps. hugs xx

Hi Carolg. I'm a bit confused reading about COPD pn this site. Admittedly, I have only recently been diagnosed with mild/moderate emphysema, my main problem is getting very short of breath. I'm an ex smoker having given up 7 years ago following hospitalisation for pneumonia which frankly,scared the life out of me. My confusion lies with the fact that I never cough let alone bring up mucous. Is this a normal 'lack' of symptom with COPD as all I'm reading is about coughing and mucus etc which I don't really understand, however, I am delighted I don't suffer with this awful symptom that most others have to endure. Maybe someone can shed some light..Best wishes everyone.

Hi Daisylacy,

Emphysema , I was diagnosed with mild to moderate emphysema a long time ago and like you I didnt cough much but got very short of breath, the making of too much mucus seems to be a horrible effect of Bronchectasis disease which they found later so I have both so its gross and very disabilitating, the best thing I did for Emphysema was go on a pulmonary rehab course it really helps with the breathing . stay well and take Care luv Carol x

People with bronchiectasis do suffer from sputum production. In some people it is very sticky sputm which is difficult to expel and in others it is loose sputum which is easier to expel and may or may not be copious. Mucodyne helps the first group.

I take it a low grade infection has been ruled out? How long has it been this amount? Is it coloured? Have a peculiar taste or smell? Sorry to be gross! My 'volume' definitely got worse 8yrs ago when i had several infections in a row and tests showed I had pseudamonas in my lungs. I have never gotten rid of it. Have you had a sample tested? If it is pseud you must have it treated aggressively to stop it colonising and/or becoming resistant to abs.

Hi Happyfeet59, I have been bringing copius amounts up for nearly 2 years now maybe a tad longer , it is mainly clear thick sticky fluid but first it is slightly yellow/pale green but in the main clear or white (gross) , in the past I have had Pseudoamonas bug perhaps about a year ago and then about 5 months ago but it took about 7 samples to finally get it, more recently I had some type of influenza bug, I do take mucodyne caps regularly have done for past 3 years or more , thanks for taking the time to reply really appreciate it. Carol x

Hi Happyfeet I have replied to you but dont know whether I have put it in the right section xx

Hi I am the same I have to get up at5am so I can feel better for work at7 am I cant do stairs in the morning but I still smoke this helps me clear my lungs so good luck if we had a bad back we could get all types of help

Hi David,

I know its soul distroying, once I have had a clearance of mucus I am able to move a bit better, but my lungs and ribs go into some kind of spasm with all the wretching up of the godam stuff, thanks for replying though at least I know Im not the only one with the freak thing , take care x carol

Please try to give up the cigarettes david. It really will help you in the long run

Hi everyone, I'm new here and find the conversation very interesting. I'm originally from NZ living in the Philippines. .. I have bronchiectasis and have recently started the Buteyko method. .. 3 days now... Must admit it is really hard to re learn how to breathe again... but I am hopeful that it may help... only time will tell I guess. Has anyone else tried this method?

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