bronchiectasis and singing

I sing a lot and have just been diagnosed with mild bronchiectasis. I cough quite a bit, and get sleepy.The worst is that I seem quite unable to shift the phlegm, and just at critical times (the high notes) my voice fails. I have had to cancel engagements and am getting depressed. Has anyone had any similar experiences - and perhaps found an answer?

8 Replies

  • Oh, what a shame....I was in a choir many many years ago and gained so much pleasure from it. Now I just don't have the breath to sing, sadly. Do you think perhaps you get stressed when an engagemet is coming up? that wouldn't help your breathing and coughing. Just a thought. Good luck :)

  • flexuosa, you need to be referrred to pulmonary rehabilitation. The nurses there are really good in helping. They assess you and put you on a circuit exercises (within a group). It's vital to be referred to improve on your breathing.

    I have done so twice (because I was terribly ill and needed to start this again. After the pulmonary rehabilitation, I was asked if I wanted to carry on and join a gym at a reduced price. This was teh start of my recovery. It took several years, mnd you.

    What seems to have helped me is Vitamin C + zinc (zinc supports your immune system) and vitamin D with cod liver oil ) have a look at this site (directed to children but instructive for adults too)

    I also take acidophilus because the build up of friendly bacteria shases away teh bad ones; so this is a good protection against bacteria. I hope this helps.

    P.S. I sing in a church choir and have improved so I don't have trouble any more with mucus. Some antibiotics dry the mucus up tpp.

  • Hi. Sorry to hear you have problems with singing. Are you on azithromycin? This has been very useful for me in drying up the mucus generally. But I'm afraid that I have lost high notes completely after a few years of bronchiectasis, even now I don't have such a mucus/coughing problem. Can you think about a shift down to a lower key for the difficult pieces?

  • I love singing and have been in several choirs over the years. I used to be able to sing top C without any difficulty. My consultant told me over 40 years ago that singing is the best exercise for lung conditions, but he warned me that years of coughing and now the use of inhalers would affect my ability to sing, but to keep on doing it any way, which I do. The quality and pitch of my voice is now rubbish and I feel sorry for the folks who stand near me whilst I try to warble, but I don't care, I love going and just join in the parts that I can. I think I would make a brilliant Bass. I find that even my speaking voice sometimes just disappears but the family have told me that that is not a bad thing, as it cuts down on my nagging them. LOL.

  • I also have mild bronchiectasis and find that 2 x 375mg of Carbocisteine twice daily help loosen the phlegm.

  • I have the same. I find that if I'm out and need to speak for a while or need to sing I start coughing a lot, not sure why.

    Never found a fix for it though.

  • Hi, I also have bronchiectasis (along with other lung conditions). Ask your GP to prescribe the Flutter mucus clearance device. If you use steroid inhalers, rinse your mouth out with water after and gargle as well.

    If there is a Breathe Easy Group near you, join up as you will get lots of help. My group runs an exercise class as well. A lady who attends also is in a choir and she says you have to sing from your diaphragm.

    If you can get referred for a pulmonary rehab course, do it as it will really help.

  • Hi, I don't have Bronch but a neighbour, ex professional singer did. When she heard of my woes she showed me an exercise she still uses to clear her lungs and throat.

    It seemed to me like the 'huff technique' at the same time her hands were on her hips and she was bent right over from the waist. I've not had to use it yet because I've not had a full blown exacerbation for a while (touching wood here) but I certainly will in the future.

    Look up the Huff tecnique on YouTube. A GP taught it to me, I have used it and it worked for me.

    Wishing you all the best with your singing. P

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