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Six specialists and no answer yet!

I'm going to throw this out there and see if anyone has any advice for me. I developed laryngitis w/cough in April '22, throat fungus w/cough in June '22. Since then I have had no relief from coughing fits that are happening out of the blue, night and day. These are the specialists I have seen so far: allergy/asthma, ENT, PCP, otolaryngologist, speech therapists, pulmonary and GI. I have had a lung function test, CT scan of my lungs, manometry (swallow test) and a 24 hour Ph Probe....all are negative! I have also had the vents in my house professionally cleaned, ceramic tile in all bathrooms professionally cleaned, regrouted and resealed, killed mold growing on the second level which wasn't much (we live on the first level), have used a neti pot and Flonase and none of these things has helped stop this awful cough. I am allergic to aspergillus mold and I do have mild asthma, I am not a smoker nor do I live with one. Through the process of elimination we have ruled out a lung problem and a GI problem. So now we are exploring the idea that asthma could be the culprit. I am going to use my nebulizer tonight to see if that will help me sleep without coughing all night. I have rarely had to use it, but now I am thinking that maybe this could help me. I was put on 2 rounds of Prednisone and that helped, but the side effects are not pleasant, but because it did help that tells me that there could be some inflammation. I use Wixela and albuterol. The cough can come at any time day or night and it starts with a tickle in my throat. I cannot figure out what the trigger is.

  1. Hi! How did you sleep last night? I have no suggestions of my own but it sounds like you could be on the right track, given that you've seen so many specialists and you only use the nebulizer occasionally. Do you use a humidifier in your house? Keeping some moisture in the air can be useful, especially during these cold months of the year when everything tends to dry out. Were you given an antifungal medication in June, and did you have any improvement if so? Fungal infections can take a long time and multiple rounds of treatment to clear up. That said, I hear how frustrated you are and I hope you can get to the bottom of it. As annoying as it is, seeking second opinions might be worth it, too. We're here for you, keep us posted! -Melissa, team

    1. Melissa thank you for reaching out. I do not have a humidifier in our house. I live in NC and it has been a mild winter so far with rain every week. I have a hygrometer app on my phone and it just read 70% and I am in my home office. Last night I slept 50% better. I used the neb at 6:30 PM and woke up 4 times coughing, but each episode was short and didn't linger like it usually does. Then I used it at 6:30 this morning and it only lasted 3 hours and the coughing fits came back. Then I used it at 10:30 this morning and so far so good with only a little coughing here and there. I plan to use it again before going to bed. Yes, I took an antifungal medication and it cleared up the fungus and the cough got so much better, but then it came back with a vengeance. I did contact my pulmonologist and he sent back a message with some questions. I answered them and now I am waiting to see what he says. He said originally that asthma patients usually see an ENT, pulmonologist or GI doctor. I have seen all 3, but when I saw the allergy/asthma dr. I had a sinus infection and it cleared up with an antibiotic. I saw the ENT for the throat fungus which cleared up. I have not been back to see them since. The GI doctor did extensive tests and all came back normal. It was recommended that I see the pulmonologist to make sure my lungs are okay and they are fine. So it's sort of like a tug of war...should I see the ENT or the allergy/asthma doctor? I am hoping the pulmonologist will direct me with the next message I get from him. I am thinking I should see an ENT, but will wait to see what he says. My doctors are either with Duke Hospital or UNC (Univ. of NC) and I don't have a preference...both are very good. So the saga continues, but thank you again for reaching out.

      1. Of course, I'm happy to check in. What a conundrum. I'm glad the nebulizer helped a little bit... what a conundrum this whole thing is. Don't give up hope. Are your doctors communicating with each other? Considering they can't come up with a solution individually, they may have some better ideas if they work together as a team. I know that can be tricky especially if they are involved in different hospital systems, but that is something I would definitely advocate for in your case. Coughing aside, I hope you have a good week! -Melissa, team

        1. Melissa...My doctors are not discussing my case with each other as far as I know. One is a GI doctor and the other is pulmonary. The pulmonologist thinks I could very well have mucus in my lungs that has been there for months so he told me to use the nebulizer and he has also ordered an acapella device for forced breathing in hopes that the mucus will come out. My GI doctor definitely wants me to see another allergist in a different practice than the one I have been going to for 40 years. He thinks another set of eyes on my case would be beneficial. He wants to talk about it over the phone so his nurse is going to coordinate a time when we both will be available. I am coughing worse at night and I looked that up and it said gravity is to blame! I do keep the head of the bed up, but not sure that helps. Thank you for keeping in touch!


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