Coughing up white flem : Hi not been on... - British Liver Trust

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Coughing up white flem

Shell2202 profile image

Hi not been on here for a while hubby is still drinking but has cut down but he shouldn’t be drinking at all he’s not eating hes struggling to swallow the food he’s looking really skinny. The issue is he’s vomiting every Morning coughing up white fluffy flem to the point he feels dizzy and starts to sweat. This lasts over an hour every day Has anyone else had this and could you offer advise on what it could be. He has told his doc who has referred him for his lungs and kidneys checking he said it could be due to his liver other organs are struggling but the eating fit appointments is so long and it seems to be getting worse. Any advice would be great x

15 Replies

The only thing that can help him at this point is to stop drinking, see if doctor will put him inpatient to stop his drinking, if he doesn;t stop, I am afraid it won't end well for him. with the symptom you are describing, his liver is very angry.

Thank you your right it’s all to do with drink . He did rehab in April and was dry for 3 month then started again. It’s a nightmare

Put him back into Rehab but maybe longer this time.

Family helped with payment for that we don’t have funds available to pay for it privately and it’s not so easy to get into nhs rehab

Sorry, to hear that.

Hi Shell, there are many reasons for coughing up white secretions. Some may be chest, heart or upper airway related and can look anything from fluffy, frothy or stringy even. This can sometimes be at any time or specifically after eating and drinking and vomiting. He needs to see a doctor as soon as possible for a medical assessment. Whatever is going on, it sounds like his liver health is having a huge knock on effect on all systems. So sorry for what you are going through. Try to get some support for yourself x

Shell2202 profile image
Shell2202 in reply to BlueAster

Thank you the doctor has prescribed antibiotics but said that’s basically all he can do until the appointments come through and he gets his results.

BlueAster profile image
BlueAster in reply to Shell2202

At least he’s on the doctors radar. I really hope things improve x

Throwing up white foam is often but not exclusively because your digestive system is seriously irritated. So things like gastritis and oesophagitis. This irritation can be caused by acid reflux or long term alcohol abuse, amongst other things.

It's also a vicious circle, as each time you vomit you're aggrevating the sensitivite linings even further. A kind of spasm can then develop making the throwing up almost like gagging. Conditions like Hiatus hernia can provoke this too. The whole thing can be extremely exhausting.

Only a Dr can advise on the above and more importantly only a Dr can help with other significant reasons for this vomiting - things like viral, bacterial even fungal infections of the digestive tract can be what's happening here.

*Less common but more serious causes for this type of vomiting are cardiac/thoracic issues (lung /heart) even airway obstructions. So again consulting with a Dr really matters*

One further worry with this kind of daily, routine vomiting, is that it can make someone even less likely to eat and drink. This matters with everyone but especially with people already struggling with diet and hydration.

Best of luck I imagine you're worn out too.

P. S when chatting to the Dr do include the detail about it being a morning thing, because it happening after rising/changing position is different to doing it all day in terms of understanding it.

Thank you for your advice that’s much appreciated yes I do think it’s completely to do with the drink and no food the doc has prescribed antibiotics to kill any infection (which is one more medication to add to his long list )he’s still waiting on the test appointments for his heart / lungs ect to come through everything is just so slow at the minute

chrisw740 profile image
chrisw740 in reply to Shell2202

Well being in line for tests and follow up is something and that's some of the likely bases covered already.

Sincerely wishing you all the best. Keep us posted and take care.

Shell2202 profile image
Shell2202 in reply to chrisw740

Thank you Chris I will keep you posted x

Good Morning Shell,

I don’t wish to sound pedantic in any way, but I see from reading your first post on here, “Partner drinking again”, that back then, his doctor told him to stop drinking, or he would only have two years left to live. It sounds like he has no intentions at this point to take this medical advice.

Death by alcohol abuse can be a long and painful process. Not only for the patient but also for those family and friends who live through this too. Five days ago, I posted up a thread on here entitled “Husband diagnosed with Alcoholic liver disease/cirrhosis, Judy2001”. Here Judy’s poor husband lost his battle with alcohol and sadly passed away.

It saddens me when people ignore a doctor's advice and then become amazed when their bodies continue to struggle and they seek further medical help, and then once again chooses to ignore it.

This is an alcohol problem, but do you happen to know if your partner is addicted to the alcohol, or has he a serious drinking problem? It may surprise some people to know that around 72% of people who go on to develop cirrhosis or end-stage liver disease are not addicted, they are drinking because they want to, not because they have to.

I think the time has come for some straight talking to take place. You need to know where you stand in all this too. I’d be asking your partner a straight question. “Do you want to Live”? If he answers yes, then layout what the problem is, and then ask this, “Right, this is the problem, now what are we going to do to make it right”?

What this is doing is for you both to work together to find a solution. It is admitting that there is a problem in the first place. Many people just kid themselves that all is fine. It also shows him that he isn’t alone in all this and that you want to help and support him. It gives him the chance to make that decision to want to stop drinking. But this has to be HIS decision if it’s ever going to succeed.

Once you have both decided, you can then both go and speak to your GP. Explain that you both want this to happen, your GP will be more than happy to help as it shows a strong willingness and commitment to address this problem. The doctor will be able to plan a recovery program. It could involve a short time in a controlled detox setting, or even a home detox program. They even ask for help from the local hospital “Alcohol Liaison Nurse”. Most local towns and cities run a Drug and Alcohol support group, these can be of help too.

That drive to want to stop is the key to success. The person has to both want, and agree to this. Once a person has made this decision, all the support and help is there for the taking.

Some of us on here have been down this road, and know only too well of this journey. We have come through this and are alive today to tell the tale. So if we can do this, then so can he. He just needs to believe and want to.

This could be the first day of the rest of his life.

This is his wake-up call talking.

We are here to help in any way we can. You can speak openly or if you prefer you could always send a private message if you this is private. No one here is judgemental and we will, I know offer sound practical advice and support.

Good luck to you both.


Thank you Richard that’s a real help the truth is he has got a drink problem he recently came out of a month of private rehab in April. They got him off the drink I’d say 2 month max this lasted.

Then he started again secretly untill I caught him he then admitted it was too hard and he wasn’t strong enough to keep off it. Once he was back to The real world with stresses of work life ect

I think

The problem was He didn’t do the aftercare and the meetings or complete the 12 steps .

He has definitely cut down but it’s not enough. Yes Ido need to ask that question does he want to live because it’s causing real stress and worry all around

Stop drinking for God sake.My specialist liver nurse was brilliant but I let her down a few years ago.

(I will never forget this) I relapsed just the once and I told her. Her exact words were "you are going to die" she then spun around in her chair and wouldn't look at me. She then turned around slowly (like a bond villain) and said "you are going to die but it's not a normal death it's a very slow, very painful and a very long winded drawn out death, now go".

All I'm saying is if you want to live longer without all the embarrassing complications that comes with liver disease is you have to stop drinking first.

Sorry about being blunt, that was my experience not yours.

Good luck with everything.

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