PSP Association
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Is severe coughing normal when neither eating nor drinking?

My 79 year old wife was diagnosed in 2010 but since then decline has been rapid, she is wheel chair bound and can't read or write,her speech is now almost unitelligable and she needs help washing,dressing and toileting.I can understand coughing when eating or drinking but her worst coughing occurs when doing neither.NONE of my wife's professionals have any experience of PSP so can't really offer much help.Sometimes Atropine drops work but only sometimes.Is this type of coughing common? Any suggestions?

10 Replies

hi mate sorry about your wifes condition i have psp and i have started coughing since march when im not eating and drinking the only thing i can think of is when i do have a meal some of it stays in the throat and agitates into a cough which is not very pleasant i must admit\\\ i will be going to see my specialist in nov i know its a long time away but i will ask him if anything can be done for this if you hear of anything in the meantime could you please let me know i am 76 years old male its very embarrasing as well if you are out somewhere ]\]\\\\

but keep smillng best wishes [peter jones Queensland Australia


Thanks Peter will certainly let you know if we learn anything help full best wishes Hugh Smith Isle of Lewis Scotland


hi hugh

good to c u on the site again

but not good circumstances

for you or


keep smiling

lol Jill



Hello Garyvard, My husband sometimes coughs at night. It wakes him up (and me) so I think it might be mucous. If he takes antihistamines he does a little better. The coughing can be a puzzle, and I think peterjones makes a good point that maybe there is some incomplete swallowing. Best of luck to you in trying to figure it out----never easy. Hang in there.


My wife occassionally has this problem and it is usually caused by a build up of sticky saliva at the back of the throat.

Suggest you revisit your GP/Speech and Language Therapist for further investigation and also contact the PSPA Helpline & Specialist Care Advisers for advice .

Good Luck


Thank you, riosenior. We have an upcoming appointment, so I will check then.


My husband coughs quite a lot of the time and certainly a meal never goes by without him coughing. Hehad a video swallowing fluoroscopy organized by his speech and language therapist. The result showed that he wasn't clearing all the food and drink when he swallowed. Food was collecting just above his wind pipe. It has been suggested that when he eats he follows each mouthful with sips of water. This has certainly helped, but not cured the problem. The other thing that has improved is his breath. There are times when the smell is quite a problem. Has anyone else experienced this?

Best wishes.



Thanks Peter2 I will try alternating with sips of water. Regards Hugh


My 71 year old sister is a PSP patient, and her coughing would indeed be brought on by swallowing problems through food and drink. She is now getting thickened liquid which is helpful, and pureed food. Thickner for liquid such as water or fruit juice will be perscribed by Doctor. Pureed dinners can be applied for through your Health Care Provider using an approved Agency who can deliver to clients home. It helps with the swallowing and may prevent food lodging in the lungs, thus helping to prevent chest infections.


Thanks Angelin for sharing your experience Regards Hugh


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