British Lung Foundation
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Mucus from one lung after 6 months smoke free

Hi All. I'm writing this post as I'm a bit scared about the continual production of mucus from my left lung. I have little to no cough, just a frequent stream of mucus that seems to come from my left lung. I don't cough the mucus up, I just hack it up when I can feel it lingering in the left side of my throat.

For the record, I'm a 36 year old male who smoked for about 16 years, nearly a pack a day. I had PFT's done prior to quiting (FEV1 at 90% of predicted, all other metrics in normal to good range except for a lowered DLCO at 70% predicted). A few days ago I had another set of PFT's preformed (FEV1 at 92% and surprisingly DLCO up to 74%).

My pulmonologist says that all he can see from my CT scans is a very mild case of emphysema. He's a bit baffled about the DLCO score based on my CT scans and as of yet has no answer for the heavy mucus production.

I've been on Advair since December and at times it seems to help the shortness of breath I sometimes experience but does nothing for the mucus. I have a rescue inhaler that I use from time to time when my lungs feel tight but, same as the Advair, it does nothing for the mucus. I also use Musinx when I feel the mucus building in my lower lungs.

If it helps, I avoid all foods that increase mucus production and generally eat an anti-inflammatory diet. The other somewhat confounding piece is that I have MS and pretty regularly experience something called the MS hug (a symptom where my entire torso feels as if it's being crushed in a vice) and it's hard to differentiate this sensation from lung tightness. My O2 stats remain in the 96-99 range even while I feel incredibly short of breath. I've also had a full cardiac workup to rule out any heart issues.

I'm scared that this mucus, shortness of breath, and feeling as if my left lung is constantly being filled with mucus won't go away. I understand that every quit is different and I've been holding out hope that these symptoms will abate. I understand it's possible to have increased mucus production for quite some time after quitting smoking but, this feels as if it's been going on forever.

I'm just looking for a bit of hope, a shared experience, or even some sage advice as to what to do or ask.

Thank you all for your time and support.


9 Replies

Hi I have this problem with mucus to much my doctor gave me some carbocisteine 375mg capsules I take them when the mucus is bad ask your doctor


Good morning David. I'm so sorry to hear what you're going through, but can only offer you my well wishes. Hopefully someone will be along soon who will be able to be more helpful. Keep coming back. It can help a little just sharing about your difficulties.


Hi David, I had a similar issue and was diagnosed with COPD,was hacking up mucus constantly Dr gave me Carbocisitine tablets 8 a day to start with then down to 3 per day and my mucus problems have gone,have a word with your doc and see if he will give them a try.

Good luck



I have been put on Carbocisteine 375mg Capsules yesterday for shorthness of breath so cannot say how it is doing at the momemt but there does seem to be what is been offered for mucus issues so as the others have said pop over to the doctors and ask if it would help your mucus issues.

I gave up in 1992 and was smoking 40 a day it can take a long time to get the lungs to stop producing mucus to shift the rubbish we have put in it.

Be well


You may have postnasal drip this can cause this I suffer with my right side getting more congested,i know that reflux can cause this sometimes a vicious circle has they say I hope you get to the bottom of it x

1 like

Hi David, yes I know just what you are talking about I suffer almost all your symptoms and have done for four year just gradually got so out of control, how long in a day would you say you are bringing the mucus up and is it worse first thing in the morning after sleeping ?


Hi Carolg1! Oddly enough the mucus production seems to get worse as the day goes on. In the morning I'm relatively mucus free. Over the course of the day my left lung feels increasingly tighter and the mucus seems to impair my breathing. I'd say that I'm hacking up some bit of mucus every 15 minutes or so. Despite all this, my pulmonologist says he sees no signs of bronchiectasis or obstructed breathing.


Hi David, same here when I have X-ray they say there is nothing on my lungs so they keep plugging the reflux non acid reflux but it affects my breathing so bad it's scary especially in a morning I can't get it out fast enough I nearly choke it's a pathetic existence a constant uphill struggle, is your mucus just clear/white thick n stringy ( sorry it's a gross conversation) but there is no other way of putting it and do you feel it at the back of your nose and throat x carol


I did have a lot but doctor gives me allergy medicine plus NAC plus mucus relief seems to have subsided sometimes have nebulizer treatment


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