Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Lungs and Respiratory Disorders Forum

Cough and airways close

Must Read
Asthma affects more than 22 million Americans. But what happens during a respiratory asthma attack? Learn the basics about asthma now....
Some people are more likely than other to be diagnosed with asthma. Learn if you are at risk of asthma in this section on risk factors and causes of asthma....
How can you identify the signs and symptoms of asthma or respiratory problems? We list the common asthma symptoms here and discuss asthma problems....
Hi all, I'm hoping to get some further advice as I'm quite frustrated and a bit worried.

Here's the background:


Me:

- I am male, 30 years old...generally fairly fit & healthy.
- I have had Asthma since I was 5 years old, but have had no serious attacks these last 15 years.
- I used to be a smoker (13 years in total...about 5-a-day) but have almost stopped completely these last 12 months (the odd couple in bars) and have not had a single tug in 4 weeks.
- Other than my Asthma reliever inhalor I take no regular or prescription medication.
- I generally get Hayfever every year...meaning lots of blowing-my-nose due to pollen allergy...but it's never serious, just annoying.
- Apart from the odd cold these last few years...I don't really get ill.
- Since March this year, I have worked nightshifts (14 x 8-hour shifts per month, with the rest of the time being free time).


Now:

- About 3 weeks ago I developed a cough out of nowhere. A chesty cough that sometimes (say 10% of the time) brought up phlegm. This phlegm has been clear, yellow or green and has been fluid or thick...might be dependent on what I've just eaten.

- After 2 weeks, the cough wasn't going away. No other symptons, just the cough. After some particular heavy fits I finally saw the Doc who reckoned Bronchitis and prescribed a 10-day antibiotic program and sick-leave.

- The coughs are irregular...I might sleep peacefully a whole night. During the day I probably have one bout every hour, of 4 - 8 coughs each.


The problem:

- These last few days the coughing fits have resulted in a quite scary complete tightening of my airways. I cannot move any breath in or out and have to violently burp to force them open again. It can be up to 30 seconds until I start breathing, and a couple of minutes until the breathing is normal.

- These last 24 hours I vomited twice during a cough fit, shortly after eating. Small amounts of undigested food came out.

Note: I have had no Asthma-related wheezing issues during these weeks. Which in itself is very unusual in my experience.


The first time this happened I went to an all-night clinic. It was a saturday night and the place was busy with disrespectful drunks so all the staff were a bit rushed and stressed. The Doc there reckoned what I was experiencing is normal for chest infections and prescribed calm.


But still, I fear my cough because if I can't control a coughing fit then at the end of it I will not be able to breathe and will just have to sit still and burp until my airways open up again.


Can anyone else add or complement any information or experiences?

Many thanks in advance.
Did you find this post helpful?
|

replied March 24th, 2009
Re: cough and airways close
I have had the same thing happen and it is very scary. The only way I can start to breathe again is by repeated swallowing. I do not know the cause, but since swallowing helps in my case, I thought perhaps spasms in the throat cause the muscles to close up preventing the passage of air.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied September 29th, 2010
I have GERD and Asthma but Burping stops my Coughing Fits
I have been having coughing fits for more than 18 years and was diagnosed with A-typical asthma 14 years ago. I've tried everything to treat the asthma but the more I treated it the worse it got. I had expensive nose reconstructions to repair any defects and it didn't help. Then I got diagnosed with GERD. Nexium helped but I still had the coughing fits which were scary and often ended with me vomiting. I've stopped the Nexium and began using other methods to manage the reflux. It is much better now.

A few months ago I noticed something strange. When I'm having a coughing fit, if I burp the coughing will ease or stop completely. Since then I've experimented with this and it works. At first I needed other people to hit my back and burp me, but now I am able to burp myself and stop the coughing fit. I rarely use my inhaler now and when I start coughing I don't panic as much because I know that when I burp I'll be OK. I haven't vomited for several months and I'm feeling more more positive.

I know I still have GERD, but managing my diet and exercise and not eating late at night have helped tremendously. This burping thing has given me the power to manage my asthma symptoms and now I often go for several days without using the inhalers. I would love to know if other people have experienced anything similar. It seems really strange that something as simple as burping can bring so much relief.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

User Profile
replied September 17th, 2011
help, I could die!
I have bronchitis which is not supposed to cause throat spasms but sometimes when I cough a couple time by throat closes up and I make a terrible noise trying to force any air into my lungs. It's terrifying because there is no breathing happening and I fear turning blue, passing out and never waking up again. There is a lot of involuntary swallowing and air coming up from my stomach. So far each episode ends with air gradually getting back in and tears running down my face. Most episodes happen in the morning but not all. One episode was while I was at a health clinic and they still had no thearies on what they had witnessed. It sounds similar to what the original poster experiences. It's only been going on for about three weeks durini the course of this bronchitis and never before in my life. Sometimes I can feel it coming on and either hold my breath or breath through my nose to prevent it from happening. When it does happen it reduces me to a state of indescribable terror with no place to go because by the time I get to a medical establishment they say I'm fine because I'm obviously breathing okay by then. Does anyone have a name for this or something that has helped them as it sounds like what the original poster goes through.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied July 7th, 2013
Did u ever figure out how to treat this?
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied November 12th, 2011
airway tightens up can't breathe for minutes
I have something similar every once in a while I inhale water in the shower or last night I ate a cheesy and something must've went into my airway and the airway closes down to a pinhole. It's a total panic situation.

I have to try and not cough or swallow or do anything to perpetuate the problem and then the airway eventually opens up. But for quite a while there's hardly any air getting through. Many years ago I had a bad bout of something like bronchitis and it started after that. It's been a couple years since I had it happen so I thought maybe the inflammation had subsided or something.

If you figure out what's wrong please let me know as it is terrifying.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied December 30th, 2012
Anybody on here get any answers or relief?? My mom has had the same problem this past October. It started with a bad bout of tracho bronchitis and then she started having episodes where after one cough her throat would close up. We went to emergency once and the ambulance picked her up twice. All three times they had no answers except that her chest xrays were clear and so was the cat scan. Her Ent saw some inflammation behind her vocal cord so put her on anti inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxers. The emergency had her admitted for a day because she pleaded to not go home. when she did they sent her home with a nebulizer but that made things much worse as did the mucinex. two months later her bronchitis is gone but the lump she feels in her throat is there and so are her breathing episodes. She can control them a little better (not talk loud or laugh or cough) she also was swallowing and burping through the episodes when she had them bad. Help any new info??
|
Did you find this post helpful?

replied March 6th, 2013
I'm having the same problem.

Started with a chest infection then turned into this weird gagging cough followed by choking if the cough was hard enough and there is mucus present in my lungs at the time.

The mornings are the ones to watch out for, if I have phlegm building up overnight and some of that gets brought up on the first cough of the day, that's when things get really bad for me.

Controlled burping after the cough helps if you can do it, since I learnt this technique I haven't had a really bad attack.

Guaifensin throughout the day also helps me, as does Zyzal to a certain degree. I'm sure this is related to LPR Reflux and allergies, so tired of it after 2 months...
|
Did you find this post helpful?

User Profile
replied September 3rd, 2013
Coughing that leads to closing of airway
I have been having these same problems described above with the coughing that leads to closing of the airway. I have asthma and have dealt with that for many years but this something totally different. I have been referred to a GI doctor who performed an endoscopy that said my esophagus was narrowed a bit and stretched it with a ballon similar to angioplasty procedure used in heart procedure. I have not noticed any improvement since. I have also seen a pulmonologist who said that he believes it is a post nasal drip in my throat that is causing the cough and that the cough has irritated the vocal chords muscles causing spasms/coughing. He has taken me off some of the medicines I was on stating they may also be the culprit(lisinopril for blood pressure). It as many of you stated, a cough that leads to closing of the airway desperately gasping for air. My episodes occur any time of the day or night that I have to cough. I can awake from a dead sleep to coughing, choking, gagging, gasping. It is a terrifying feeling. I saw where one other person posted they are taking zyzal. I am also on zyzal and wondered if any others are using this too. If I get to the bottom of the issue or find a "cure" from one of these doctors I will post more later.
|
Did you find this post helpful?