Avatar universal

Been having this for a very long time! NEED ANSWERS.

I'm a 22 year old female and for about 8 months to a year I have been having this hacking up clear, very thick, and sticky mucus. I am literally filling water bottles full of this stuff (I know so gross, but has become a very disgusting habit)
I feel it in the back of my throat and I have to clear it out, if I don't I won't be able to swallow and also it's very horrible discomfort. There is times I can't even cough it up it's so thick. It's only a different color like green, or yellow when I have a cold. Like I said I have had this for many, many annoying months. It started happening last winter right after I had a flu. Also during the summer time I got "step throat" 3 times in 2 weeks. The first time I had strep, they didn't even test me, they just gave me antibiotics (don't remember what it was) It actually cleared up my thick mucus for a week and it came back. Got "strep" again and had to be treated with more antibiotics (Also 3 times I went, it was to the ER) So the 3rd time, I was perfectly fine and ended up taken a vacation in Pennsylvania and getting  "strep" again. I ended up going to the ER, they gave me a Mono test, strep, and rapid strep tests which all came back negative. So they send me home and told me it was a "viral infection" and that it will clear up in a couple times. Went home, and my flu like symptoms got so bad I couldn't even get out of bed and my tonsils were so swollen that they were touching. Needless to say, I couldn't bare the pain and ended up going back to the ER and getting treated like I had strep with MORE antibiotics. It ended up going away and I haven't had it since this summer. (NOT really sure if this has anything to do with my sticky flem now, but thought it was strange)

I've gone to my primary doctors PA, my regular doctor who told me to go see a throat and nose specialist, which I did and he first prescribed me Nexium (which is stomach medication) thinking that it may be coming from my stomach. I took that, didn't help. I went back and he told me to get some CAT scans of my sinuses and allergy testing done. So I get the CAT scans done, no infections, only cysts in my sinuses (which he told me not to worry about). He also mentioned to me about how one of my nostrils was "plugged up" which I find smell and what not fine in both of them and that he wanted to do (in my opinion) unnecessary surgery to remove so I can breath better. I asked him if it would make a difference in my hacking up stuff. He said no so I said no to the surgery. I asked him about my hacking and all he said was "it's a habit, you created for yourself." I didn't think it would be a habit if there wasn't stuff all gunky back there... but whatever. Anyway... So I decided to get allergy testing done... (which i got done when I was a kid) I got it done and it was the same results as I was as a kid. At this point I am pretty sick and tired of wasting money and having to deal with this so I went back to my primary doctor and told him that I got the testing done, and nothing... So my doctor prescribed me an inhaler and he think I may be allergic to cigarette smoke. It makes sense to me in a way but I have grown up with my mom, gram, brother and I have almost all boyfriends who have smoked (I don't smoke btw) and it has never bothered me. I know that allergies get worse when you get older. I mean mine and my mothers house is smoke free, so I am not around it when I am home. My boyfriend smokes outside.

Also when I eat... when I eat anything really I have to cough up stuff because my mucus gets so thick, I can't swallow it after eating, I have to spit it out. Basically it has taken over my life. It's embarrassing. After a nice dinner with my boyfriend, I have to excuse myself just to  go to the bathroom to hack up all this tick stuff. I can't help my hack up when I am around family, friends, even if I am at the bar with my girlfriends. I know people are grossed out by me when they just witness my consent thickness.

Things that do help a little but doesn't really make a difference is, hot showers and when I lay on my stomach (it's easier to cough up). I also drink plenty of water. Also when it's thick and I can't cough it out, my chest feels so tight which prevents me from sleeping. I have had very many times when I am laying in discomfort and I cannot just sleep. I need to cough it out but it won't happen. So I just take over the counter sleeping aids.

I have been taken Gabapentin for as long as it's been happening. I have been taken it for Post-herpetic neuralgia (which is caused my shingles, if some of you didn't know. I tell that to nurses and some other people and they just look at me like wth is that?) I asked the throat and nose doctor if MAYBE I could possibly be allergic to Gapapentin. His exact words were "Oh you would have to go to a different doctor for that." and that was it... he didn't recommend me to anyone or anything... I take 400mg (suppose to be 3 times a day) but I take it maybe once or twice a day. I was taken 500mg but I have been slowly weening myself off.

So I need opinions. Should I go see another specialist (who lives 3 hours away. We only have one specialist up here where I am living. It's a small area) and to be very honest... the throat and nose doctor I am seeing is very rude and I feel like none of the doctors are taken me very seriously. My primary keeps asking me "What do you want me to do? I have giving all the options I can think of." (he seriously says it every time I am in there with the same problem).

I have also been thinking that maybe it may have to do with my lungs. I haven;t gotten any tests or anything like that on my lungs. So maybe I should go to my primary and ask?

Things I have taken that hasn't made a difference: 2 different allergy pills (both, Claratin, and Allegra), Mucinex, 2 different kinds of inhalers, Nasonex nasal spray, Nexium (stomach medication).  

Also I forgot to mention... it wasn't a flu that "triggered" this. It was actually in fact a sinus infection... which was treated and this was before they gave me CAT scans of my sinuses. I had probably about 5 different antibiotics which helped with other things, but not this.

So basically. I have had this for about a year now and I am just getting sick and tired of it. I carry napkins in my purse, bra, wherever I can fit it. When I need it, and there is no where for me to go and cough it up, i do it in a little "clear my throat" cough and sometimes it comes out nice and easy but at times (especially during the night) I have a hard time coughing it out. Like I said earlier I cough into bottles or cans (I get lazy at times or when I don't have a napkin) My trash can has to be emptied out every week or two because it's so full of tissues.

I know this is a very long post but I need someones help! Obviously my doctors don't know how to help me. I need opinions, options, whatever it takes to get rid of this! Also get very bad headaches from coughing this stuff up... My family and friends are concerned but I am sure they have gotten used to me hacking.
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4851940 tn?1515694593
Good idea.
Let us know how you get on.
Hope all goes well for you.

Best wishes.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Thank you all so much! I am going to make an appointment with my doctor and talk to him about options!
Helpful - 0
4851940 tn?1515694593
You have been given good advice by uniquedatzme and I agree that the doctor should send you for a chest xray.

The doctor should also send you for a lung function test too.

Although you do not smoke, by inhaling other people's smoke makes you a passive smoker. In effect for every 7 cigarettes a smoker smokes when you are exposed to that smoke, you will have inhaled the equivalent of 1 cigarette.

By you hacking and trying to get rid of the excess mucus production there is clearly a trigger that is causing this.  You may have an allergy to wool, feathers, dust mites.  The cold can also trigger off mucus production and coughing.  

If you have a feather pillow and duvet, change this to a polyester fibre one and use anti dust mite protection.  

Asthma can cause you to cough and cause you to try and clear your throat.    The lung function test will show if you suffer from asthma or not.
A chest xray will show if you have any obstruction in the lungs.  Do you remember ever swallowing anything that went down the wrong way?  

Coughing is the body's way of trying to get rid of an irritant, be that viral, bacterial, any type of irritant to perfumes, chemical vapours, animal dander, smoke, dust etc.  Keep your mouth and nose covered by a scarf so that you do not breath in the cold air.

I find that having  freshly squeezed lemon juice with hot water and honey helps to soothe a hacking cough when I have one.

You may find that doing steam inhalations helpful.  To do a steam inhalation, into a bowl pour in a kettleful of boiling water, taking care not to get scalded.  Put some Vick or olbas oil into the hot water.  Bend your head over the bowl and cover your head and the bowl with a towel.  Inhale the steam through your nose and out through your mouth.  Do this 4 times a day for a duration of 10 minutes each time.

The doctor can prescribe medication to dry up the mucus, but these medications are not suitable for everyone and should not be taken by anyone who has high blood pressure.  Sometimes a nasal spray can help, but these should not be used long term unless advised by your doctor.

If you eat and drink a lot of dairy produce, reduce the amount that you have.  Milk and dairy encourage the formation of mucus.  Drink more warm drinks.

Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Your PCP should order you a chest x-ray it really sounds like your lungs are very infected. Bit here are some other things could possibly going on with you as well.  Bronchitis, Asthma, or Sinus Infection.

Infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia can cause acute cough or a chronic COUGH. These infections can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungus. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics.

A particular strain of bacterial pneumonia, called Mycoplasma, may cause a chronic cough with fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and sputum production. This infection is sometimes referred to as "walking pneumonia,"

Here are some home remedies that always help me with congestion
Stay hydrated. Fluids can help thin secretions.
Gargling with hot saltwater can help cleanse the throat and rid it of mucus.
Elevate your head with extra pillows at night to ease a chronic dry cough.
Cough drops may soothe an irritated throat.
Do not smoke or use tobacco products.
Avoid inhaled irritants such as smoke, dust, or other pollutants.
Honey is often can be an effective treatment for a persistent cough. Add honey to hot tea, or even grape juice.
Ginger, prepared as a tea, is often used to help reduce symptoms of chronic cough and clear the nasal passages.
Other herbs such as eucalyptus or mint are often used to relieve cough symptoms.
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