How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. David Your Own Question
Dr. David
Dr. David, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 46949
Experience:  Board Certified Physician
41363181
Type Your Medical Question Here...
Dr. David is online now

I have had a dry cough for 16 years. I have previously had

Customer Question

I have had a dry cough for 16 years. I have previously had chest x-rays and tests for asthma - all appear to cause no concern to my doctor, so why am I still coughing?
N.B. I have M.S.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. David replied 4 years ago.

Dr. David :

This is Dr. David

Dr. David :

do you smoke? smoking or living with a smoker can cause lung irritation and cough.

Dr. David :

post nasal drip over night with a runny nose can collect in your lungs and cause cough in the morning.

Dr. David :

sometimes your lungs will produce excessive phlegm at night time which it has to clear in the mornings. this is very common.

Dr. David :

hello?

JACUSTOMER-jkumsikr- :

I have never smoked nor used nasal strips.

Dr. David :

post nasal drip is different from nasal strips.

Dr. David :

if you have a runny nose at night time or even a little bit of a runny nose, this liquid from your sinuses drips down into your throat and lungs at night time.

Dr. David :

and this can cause you to cough more in the mornings.

JACUSTOMER-jkumsikr- :

Have not used post nasal strips

Dr. David :

yes, I understand that you have not nasal strips.

Dr. David :

do you have a runny nose?

Dr. David :

during the day ?

Dr. David :

or at night?

JACUSTOMER-jkumsikr- :

No

Dr. David :

what color is the phlegm you are coughing up in the mornings?

JACUSTOMER-jkumsikr- :

No phlegm at all

Dr. David :

I see, a dry cough in the mornings.

Dr. David :

no one in your home smokes?

Dr. David :

do you have any mold in your home?

Dr. David :

do you have any allergies?

JACUSTOMER-jkumsikr- :

At any time

Dr. David :

do you have any mold in your home?

Dr. David :

do you have any allergies?

JACUSTOMER-jkumsikr- :

Fairly new property

Dr. David :

how long has this coughing in the morning been going on? years? months?

JACUSTOMER-jkumsikr- :

16 years

Dr. David :

that is a long time.

Dr. David :

is it worse in the winter or summer or spring?

Dr. David :

or do you have it the same all year round?

JACUSTOMER-jkumsikr- :

Difficult to be precise, can't really give accurate answer. I have not noticed an increase in any particular seeson.

Dr. David :

I see.

Dr. David :

well, it sounds like this is something that you have learned to live with for such a long time.

Dr. David :

coughing is a reflux our lungs do to help clear the airway.

Dr. David :

most likely you have something in the small part of your lungs like excess fluid which the lungs themselves might be making which can collect in the lungs overnight.

Dr. David :

when you wake, your cough reflex is used to help clear this extra fluid and open up the small airways in your lungs.

Dr. David :

the fact that you are not coughing up phlegm means that the amount of fluid must be pretty small.

Dr. David :

but just enough to cause cough and irritation of your lungs.

Dr. David :

that is good you have a good cough and can clear your lungs.

Dr. David :

some patients have such weakened lungs and muscles that they can't even muster up a good cough.

Dr. David :

does this help?

JACUSTOMER-jkumsikr- :

Apart from going back to my rather disinterested doctor, is there anything I can do? This amount of coughing cannot be good for my lungs.

Dr. David :

coughing is actually not bad for your lungs.

Dr. David :

it is the way your lungs clears and opens airways.

Dr. David :

you can try over the counter cough medications like robitussin or mucinex.

JACUSTOMER-jkumsikr- :

Sorry but I don't feel as though I am any further forward.

Dr. David :

but it is better to actually cough and clear and open up airways to help you breath better than it is to have fluid in your airways.

Dr. David :

do you understand why your lungs are coughing now?

Dr. David :

I tried to explain to you why you are coughing in the mornings. and that this is normal for your lungs to clear the airways in the mornings.

Dr. David :

and that this is a reflex that all of our bodies have built inside to help open up airways.

JACUSTOMER-jkumsikr- :

OK Thanks

Dr. David and 5 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you