Log in
British Lung Foundation
39,552 members46,358 posts

Bronchiectasis

I was diagnosed with Bronchiectasis last year and was given Azithromyacin which cleared up the infection in my lungs. However I am still spitting up Mucus that looks clear but anyway I asked my Doctor that if I was in a public place or anywhere where there was a lot of people about '' What would the Mucus do to my lungs and body if I swallowed it '' and My Doctor said ''Nothing as it would be passed through my body into the Toilet ''. So is this True or should I be worried about swallowing Mucus to avoid embarrassment in a Public place !!! Kind Regards Ron Tibbetts.

36 Replies
oldestnewest

Hello ron

Reply

Hi Lizzie

Reply

It's best to spit it out but that is not really the issue. Coughing and expectorating in a public place is best avoided. Use a toilet or quiet space.

2 likes
Reply

Hi Ron, I had just the same query after I was diagnosed. I was advised by a respiratory physiotherapist and a BLF nurse that it was not a problem to swallow mucous if you were not able to spit it out. So have done this most of the time and have not had any problems.

3 likes
Reply

Thank You Pentreath.

Reply

It’s very true what your doctor said. It happened many times to me, in class while teaching and couldn’t leave them and run to toilet. The mucus, once swallowed, goes to the stomach and is eliminated anyway.

4 likes
Reply

I prefer to never be without a tissue. I get through boxes, but bless the fact that we can buy them and throw them away,

5 likes
Reply

Same with me, Over the Many Mucus Years must have kept the Kleenex Company in Profit. Even now, Every week Shopping, we automatically put 2 boxes of Man/Large Size Tissues in the Trolley. I'm a dab hand at discreetly using the Tissue to cough mucus into. xxx

1 like
Reply

Thank You Hacienda xx

1 like
Reply

Was told by specialist just to swallow it as acids in stomach will get rid of it.

2 likes
Reply

I prefer to have a tissue handy and just throw it away or loo paper and flush it away. Majt

3 likes
Reply

But what happens if you take pip anti acid tablets ?? Does then all your gut become congested and then other problems begin I’ve always wondered if swallowing it has caused my gut problems whilst taking ppi etc these are only thoughts that run through my head as do many things with the damn mucus take care xx

2 likes
Reply

Thank You Carolg1

Reply

Hi rontib. The others have addressed the issue of swallowing. However, this is really an issue of organisation and and control. You need to be clearing your chest before you go out so that this doesn’t happen so much. I know that it is tedious, time consuming and tiring but if you get into a good routine you should mostly be able to get through your periods away from the house without being troubled by it too much. I produce masses of mucus every day but unless I am having an exacerbation I can usually manage shopping trips, theatre etc without it coming up.

I do take the opportunity to go to public loos if I need to, especially as I was taught as a child never to cough it up in public, even into a tissue.This has been very necessary during my last world cruise when all day trips meant going to find toilets at what are euphemistically called ‘comfort stops’ so that I could manage the long coach journies.

In fact, I am thinking of writing my life time experience of managing bronch and calling it

Always Know Where The Loo Is

8 likes
Reply

Hi littlepom

Having read many of your knowledgeable posts based on a lifetime of experience of Bronchiectasis, I think it’d be great if you did write a book!! Very few out there . Let us know if you do!! X

3 likes
Reply

I really should winter, if only to let others who have lived with the gunk monster and its nasty games know that they are not alone. The young tecnitians at my hospital are always asking for an account of the treatments in the ‘old days’. I think that there are several people on here who would recognise how I was treated and also be surprised at the radical treatment which I received from 6 years old when my Mum was guided to a ‘crazy and eccentric ‘ doctor in Leicester who saved my life and gave me the long active one which I have had so far.

The problem is that I am lazy and also spent a lifetime striving to be and appear ‘normal’. It is only since being on this site with such lovely accepting people that I have spoken of things that I spend most of my time hiding.

I still find that I spend a lot of time fertively hiding things and still come up against ignorance. At my volunteer job on Sunday I really needed to go to the loo to clear so that I could go on talking at length and with enthusiasm to visitors. The loo is outside of the main hall and behind two heavy doors. However, when I came out my day manager ( who is always very friendly to me) was standing outside the door and said ‘ I was fascinated to see who came out’. She knows that I have bronch and has asthma herself and yet couldn’t help but comment on what she had obviously heard. Perhaps sharing these things, hopefully in an ironic way could help others who are made to feel ‘not nice’ by ignorant friends and colleagues.

4 likes
Reply

Yes it would be so appreciated and applauded by all Bronchiectasis sufferers....... if??? you ever have the energy, motivation, inspiration to take such a project on! We all have to protect and look out for ourselves! X

Reply

I recognise everything that you say here you should write that book for sure you will save a few lives you have played a big part in helping me save mine thus far, the cancer unfortunately is only in the hands of oncology at this point on.,,, your one amazing lady xx

Reply

You are very kind Carol. I just hope that all improves for you.x

Reply

Hi Littlepom

I shall write the first chapter for you. Having it for 65 years I am well qualified!!

Reply

I guess that our early experiences are very similar then. Quite grim .

Reply

Thank You littlepom

Reply

Agree with littlepom. I do the same. I alway carry a a supply of tissues, but also a spare sputum pot, blue inhaler (Ventolin) and a bottle of water as a survival kit when I’m away from the house. Clearing mucus before you go out is good advice. My routine includes a session as soon as I get up and last thing at night as well. It generally helps keep my chest clear during the day, although there are good days and bad days so the survival kit come in handy on those bad days. I’m never without it in public. Hope this helps.

2 likes
Reply

Yes Ceejay65 kitchen roll and plastic bag in the side pocket of my car. Those bad days do happen and as you say best to be prepared.

1 like
Reply

Hi yes kitchen rolls are very good and i use doggy bags that I already have in my pocket. Plus I always take bottle of water. I would also love to read a book of your life time experience.🍃😊 Majt

Reply

Love the doggy bags. Just realised that they are in all of my handbags and coat pockets! A backup rescue kit. Thanks for that.🐶

2 likes
Reply

You are welcome. 😁 😂 X Majt

Reply

littlepom is spot on. Clear first before going out and you should be OK for a while, depending on how much mucous you generate. It's all about good lung hygiene and management. IMHO swallowing sputum is horrible, particularly if it is infected.

Some people get quite upset by sputum so it is important not to expectorate in public if at all possible. I've even known health staff be sputum phobic.

2 likes
Reply

Tell me about it Bella. When I was hospitalised in 2015 and feeling very poorly a nurse refused to carry a sample pot which my consultant wanted asap from the ward and so I was forced to stumble out of bed to the nurses’ chattering desk in the corridor to give it to them. Nobody would take it from me so I put it firmly on the top and left them arguing as to who would handle it! They need training in the fact that we cannot infect them but they can pose a risk to us if they have a virus.

2 likes
Reply

I know what you mean I was asked by a practice nurses not to breath near her when she took my sats. It really upset me I felt as if I could give pseudomonas to her which I know its not possible. Majt

Reply

Have you got a flutter or accapell device, this enables you to clear mucus before going out ans also at home to suit your lifestyle, I tend to use mine first thing in the morning then before going to bed, but nee it more often if having a flare up,

I you have not got one, ask your physio or Chest Dr or GP, they area veil able on prescripton.

Reply

Your doc is right Ron. When you think of it people without lung conditions, without nowing it, swallow any mucus the cillia have naturally moved up the airways.

If I have an exacerbation I would prefer, if possible, to cough out the infected sputum, but that is because I have GI issues IBS and SIBO.

I would suggest if you are doing lung clearance don’t go out straight away, as you will have moved the gunk high up in the airways and it will continue to need coughing up for a short while.

Good luck.

Love cx

4 likes
Reply

Thank You cofdrop-UK. xx

Reply

Would like to Thank Everyone for their comments on my Mucus Problem !!

1 like
Reply

I was told the same thing by my doc. Swallowed for years and have haitus hernia and gallstones but I don’t think they are connected

Reply

Hi Rontib I haven’t heard this personally but a friends Mother had Bronchiectasis as well as myself and her consultant said the same thing, so I guess your doctor is right. It can be very embarrassing in public and I would do the same, albeit not very nice. Xx

Reply

You may also like...