Bronchiectasis: It's exhausting and... - British Lung Foun...

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sadiett56 profile image

It's exhausting and embarrassing coughing all day long doesn't matter how much physio I do what I do exercise wise or what I eat or what medication I take I cough all day, just wondering if anyone out there has any hints and tips?

42 Replies

That's a shame for you. Can't help but hope you're ok

sadiett56 profile image
sadiett56 in reply to

Ah thank you yes I am ok just thought would try asking

I do not smoke and never have done but thank you for ur suggestion anyway

Hi there, I'm sorry that you are having a miserable time. If all the usuals, antibiotics, emptying you lungs of the gunk etc have failed to control an irritating and persistant cough you may be reacting to something inthe atmosphere like aspergilla. You can have a blood test for this. Some people get the aspergilla spores in their lungs but many more react to it as an allergy. Make sure that when you next see your consultant you tell them about it This type of cough is unusual with bronchiectasis. I tend only to get this kind of cough if I have a virus r an exacerbation which is causing a lot of stuff which mybody wants to get rid of.. I did have aspergilla reaction about tenyears ago when my immune system was down but my body fought it off. Wishingyou better days.xx

sadiett56 profile image
sadiett56 in reply to

Thank you still standing I have had the aspergilla test recently which has come back clear I have had the cough for approx 2 yrs now diagnosed bronch 6 months although started on new meds the cough is permanent it seems and very productive but not infected am grateful for ur input though thank you xx

in reply to sadiett56

A persistant very productive cough suggests infection to me. Unfortunately many labs cannot identify the bugs or the numbers which we tend to get. I have had so many tests come back negative when I was so ill. A goid doctor will recognise this and try different antibiotics. Keep at em. You deserve to feel better and good luck

sadiett56 profile image
sadiett56 in reply to

Thank you I will do I am under resp specialist so am guessing gp won't change meds think may ring resp team secretary try bring appt forward

in reply to sadiett56

yes I think that's a good idea. do let us know how you go on

maccas profile image
maccas in reply to

How true I was coughing up brown sputum and blood but the test came back clear. I also had a blood test which showed severe infection so was given anti biotics immediately. So now I ask for both tests to be done. Xx

sadiett56 profile image
sadiett56 in reply to maccas

That's helpful thanks macca x

stillmovin profile image
stillmovin in reply to

hi stillstanding I spotted your reply to this post and your mention of aspergilla caught my attention. I am getting quite worried at the moment as I will be having a lung test plus a 'skin allergy test' in October and I can only assume that the allergy test is to check out my reaction to such things as dust, spores, mould in the air. This worries me as I live in a small dusty aired little flat and I have always had a lot of dry coughing during the night. Then I was diagnosed in 2010 with bronchiectasis and the consultant is checking my recent problem of some sort of recurrent infection over the months of July and August. When I looked up info on aspergillosis I was very nervous about this being something I could have and all the steroid treatment, etc. it involves. My imagination is running riot now and I am feeling so down! How would a skin allergy test show if you had this condition or does it just give an indication only, and is followed by a blood test or some other test? Perhaps you might know more about this? I have an air purifier at home but I am not sure if this is sufficient.

Thanks stillmovin xxxx

in reply to stillmovin

wooah calm down. A skin allergy test just means that they are looking for something you may be allergic to which can give you a dry cough -. just like hay fever. reaction to or colonisation with aspergilla usually shows up in sputum or blood tests. I had no treatment for my reaction to aspergilla and eventually overcame it. It is everywhere and the body usually fights it off. Those unlucky enough to get it in the lungs are usually treated with antifungal drugs, not steroids. Aspergilla is a fungus.


There is more bad information out there than you can shake a stick at and you will only terrify yourself unnecessarilly

Your doctors are looking for the root of your problem. Just make sure that it is your specialist who does this. GPs can be very good but they know very little about bronchiectasis. They are good to keep on your side so that they will give us the sometimes very expensive drugs that our specialists prescribe.

Intil you can see your consultant just keep getting rid of the germy gunky stuff in your lungs.


stillmovin profile image
stillmovin in reply to

Yes I guess I have almost flipped my lid over the past couple of days with all this information I am finding on the web about ABPA and things to do with aspergillosis and other such related matters! Thanks for slowing me down a bit! The whole thing started when I looked up 'skin allergy test' and found most of the sites (and good ones such as NHS) spoke of ABPA. Anyway, I can't do a thing until after I have the test and see the consultant again in 2/3 months so I ought to get it out of my head! Much appreciated. stillmovin xx

in reply to stillmovin

We all get agitated from time to time. At least you are going through the processes so that they can help you to get rid of that pesky cough.

If you want any information on aspergillosis etc go to the National Aspergillosis website. There you will find all the correct current information from the centre of excellence at the University of South Manchester. UHSM. you can also get onto the fungal infection website on Health Unlocked and find more information on there. If you figure do have an aspergillus infection or anything like that later on then I recommend you ask for a referral ther. Best thing I have ever done for myself.

Thanks so much freefaller I shall wait for this test and have a chat with the consultant about it and take things from there. I will let you know how things go, but I haven't even got my next consultant appointment yet, as I just saw him last week and we wait 8 -10 weeks approx. for our next appointments here. By the way, did you mean ask for a referral to the USHM? Perhaps there is something similar in London? xxxxx stillmovin

I am the same its so tiring. Right now my diagnosis is copd but bronchiectasisis now suspected instead (long story). I have read about hypertonic saline, have you tried it. I am hoping to when I get referred to Royal Brompton. Do you drink plenty especially water

sadiett56 profile image
sadiett56 in reply to

I do have saline it does loosen secretions but not reduce the amount I drink gallons of water up to 4 litres a day most days good luck at the royal thanks for ur response

Hi...i have bronchiectasis and COPD but i dont always cough so have you considered something else could be causing it like an allergy or something

just a thought x

sadiett56 profile image
sadiett56 in reply to Mandy6513

Thanks Mandy yes have lots of allergies but taking every precaution and antihistamine permanently x

Mandy6513 profile image
Mandy6513 in reply to sadiett56

yeah me too x

PLEASE push your doctor for more opinions and tests by specialists!! Your condition is not typical of bronchiectasis. It is more likely some form of irritant, either in your throat or airways.

Ok I will do thank you

Very good luck!

Hi eric i am not sure if these replies are for me or someone else, it is becoming confusing....xxxx stillmovin

I cannot think of anything to ease the coughing other than spoonfuls of honey which is what I take as I am in a similar position with the coughing all the time due to lung cancer and COPD.

I understand what you mean about embarrassing though I was in a queue the other day and had a coughing fit the assistant stepped backwards from me bless her. Xx

sadiett56 profile image
sadiett56 in reply to maccas

I will try honey thank you, hope ur symptoms settle too, yes I find myself explaining to people at work etc that I am not infectious xx

Hi hidden

I do not mean to be miserable but Your message was a little abrupt to Sadiett56 who stated had never smoked! It would be nice if you checked next time before assuming? Thank you

I know the feeling, Sadie, or least I did! My bronchi. was a social embarrassment. People always knew where I was in the supermarket by my coughing which was also very productive with sputum. As for have a good laugh - I had a big problem. So what was the answer? Frequent chest infections led to me being put on azithromycin. Bliss since and long may it last. XX

sadiett56 profile image
sadiett56 in reply to pergola

Yes laughing is like a full on physio session and awful when others are eating thanks for advice will discuss it with my specialist x

Are you smoking at all ?

sadiett56 profile image
sadiett56 in reply to Neo7

No I have never smoked

Hi. Another Bronchi here. Mine is long term. (40+ years). Hasn't interfered with my lifestyle too much til 18 months ago. Mixed with other stuff, ie Osteoporosis, it really floored me.

Now can only manage about 3 minutes walk then stop!.....

No never smoked folks.

I don't have ongoing cough though. As has been mentioned you may have an irritant. Do you find it sticks in the throat?

As soon as I get infection send off a sputum sample - to make sure i get the right antibiotics.

Drink fluids. Makes sputum less sticky.

Physio gave me a flutter - no medication

Involved. Bit like a pipe. Its very effective for loosening up..

And of course the exercise! . Pulmonary Rehab and now blf sessions.

I do hope you get some answers when you visit consultant.

When I cough in public i try to smile - inbetween choking - and say - dont worry i have long term lung problems its not catching!

Take care ☺


sadiett56 profile image
sadiett56 in reply to amnihami

Ah thanks Ann for ur reply I also have a flutter and use it sometime however my secretions pretty loose so have no prob clearing my chest more the constant cough but will def ask more questions thanks u x

Im the same with the flu on top.

all I can offer is try to keep yourself busy,

with something thats not going to take its toll physically.Its no fun is it, then people say you

have to keep positive.... really???????

sadiett56 profile image
sadiett56 in reply to Lesleyan

Thanks Lesley I do try keep walking and work full time so pretty busy I try to stay positive but is hard especially when get so tired hope u recover from the flu soon that is not nice x

Hi sadiett, I have asthma and bronciectasis, I was like you,I coughed and coughed permanently before I was diagnosed with bronciectasis. My doctor just kept telling me it was my asthma. But it was like having a permanent chest infection.

When I was hospitalized with pneumonia I then was given tests and ct scan and found I had bronciectasis, put on permanent antibiotics, it has made such a difference. I am not coughing constantly, I still get chesty now and again but nothing like I used to.

Are you taking a long term antibiotic?

Wish you well, you have my total sympathy. Take care Shirley x

sadiett56 profile image
sadiett56 in reply to Shirleyj

Thanks Shirley I will discuss this with my physician as I also have had asthma for many yrs but bronch diagnosis recently so may be a good treatment plan for me thanks for ur response x

monkey65 profile image
monkey65 in reply to sadiett56

Shirleyj's reply could have been describing me! The docs telling me the cough was my asthma over and over again, and increasing the steroids repeatedly. Now I know more about bronchiectasis, I am so cross.

I used to cough and cough just like you describe, but now am pretty well. I think that it was a number of causes all working together, and all of them needed tackling before the cough could recover. So;

Firstly, reflux. I was on Omeprazole for a while but this is a nasty drug, and I stopped as soon as I could. A gluten free diet has helped here for me, and just taking a bit more care to avoid fried food etc..

Then Post nasal drip. I've always had allergies and rhinitis. Making sure I used a nasal spray antihistamine, like beconase, made a big difference.

Then the infection which is lurking in the lungs even if your sputum tests are clear. My consultant was very cross I had not been given anti-biotics by the GP before he saw me. I started with amoxicillin, then AZITHROMYCIN three times a week. I put this in capitals because, if you can tolerate it, this is the best treatment for bronchiectasis out there! As well as being an antibiotic, it has a mucus reducing effect.

Then the asthma - I now take seretide 250 inhaler and montelukast tablets. The montelukast seems to help with reducing the mucus.

And lastly, avoiding infections as much as possible. Keep out of crowded public spaces and be meticulous about washing hands.

It took a while of all these for the coughing to stop, but in the end it did. Hope you can find the right combination of treatment for you.


sadiett56 profile image
sadiett56 in reply to monkey65

Thank u for ur reply monkey I am on seretide montelukast carbocystine was also put in uniphyllin but couldn't tolerate it have had bloods done and no sign of infection consultant feels it may be allergens but I have lots to discuss with him now thanks again

Sadiett56: You mention physiotherapy. Are you doing ACBT (Active Cycle of Breathing Technique)? I have sarcoidosis of the lungs and used to cough with phlegm a lot during the day. For three years I have done ACBT morning and evening to bring up the phlegm (taught to me by a physiotherapist but there are videos on the internet). Since doing the ACBT I hardly ever cough during the day. I also take Azithromycin on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays every week and that has kept infections away.

sadiett56 profile image
sadiett56 in reply to sarcoid123

Hi sarcoid thanks for ur reply I am seeing physio tomorrow so will ask about it

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