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Coughing up constant flem

Carol Lee S

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Does anyone else have the problem with coughing up constant flem? Gene is constantly coughing up whitish flem and now it is to the point that it often makes him vomit. He is taking Robotussin DM and Tylenol with Codiene and just today came off the third type of antibotic. I am assuming it is from the tumor.

Anxious to see if there is a suggestion out there for him, the doctor doesn't offer much except what he is on right now. He has tried Tessalone (sp?) tablets but they didn't seem to work either. It is hard enough for him to eat as it is and of course he is waking up almost every hour to spit this junk up. This is not a good formula for keeping his health up between the lack of sleep and the decreased appetite.

I have gotten him to forgo the cardiac diet for the time being, but even at that the flem is making it difficult. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, these Boards are my life line to sanity, thank you all for being there. Carol

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Dear Carol,

I just went to the cabinet and here is the cough syrup that my dr. prescribed which is GREAT. it's called HYDROCOD BIT/HOMAT syrup. 2 teaspoons 3x a day. It stops the coughing. Works for me. I think it has codine in it, makes you sleepy, but it really works. Good luck.


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My husband has this too. He has tons of phlegm in his throat which he coughs up and at times he vomits from coughing so much. No matter what we have tried, the phlegm is still there. I do give him Robitussin DM, which seems to help a TEENY bit...he gets that in his feeding tube - ALL meds go in that way, along w/water and food.


Hang in there - this board saves my sanity too!! :shock:

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Hello, Carol,

First off, I am not a physician, so you have to bear that in mind. Tessalon Pearls will diminish the cough reflex (it literally "numbs" the cough centers in the chest), but it won't do anything to lessen the secretions (the bubbly fluid or thicker flem he is coughing up.). As long as the secretions are building up in his chest he will continue to need to cough.

Is there another Physician you can contact who would be more sympathetic towards your husband's situation, who would take the time to determine why this is happening right now and what can be done to allieviate the fluid buildup?

When things happen to me I become assertive with the docs. I pay them for services rendered. They work for me. That doesn't mean I get ugly with them...it means I try very hard to make them take care of me, even when they don't appear to want to do so.

One of the problems associated with this kind of fluid buildup in the chest and coughing up all that fluid is that we can have problems with our electolytes, in the same way that losing all that fluid when we have diarreah and or vomitting causes problems with our electolytes. So you may need to mention this to his doc as well.

I hope that the information is helpful. If it were me I would haul myself to the ER and insist that the cause of the fluid be definitively identified, and appropriately treated. I have been accused of being a b@#$h. but I am a 4 Year Survivor of Stage IV Lung Cancer ALIVE b@#$h.

Hoping that things go well,

Fay A.

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Hi, Carol! My wife coughs but she has asthma. The asthma has been aggravated by the chemo treatment and radiation. She uses a nebulizer to open up her sinuses and passage. It has gotten better with time.mpw that she is off the treatments. As for his appetite, it is important to keep up nutrition and liquid intake. Both can be taken care of with things like Ensure, smoothie milkshakes and the like. I had to pour those down Lucie when she was in the non-hungry stages. Good luck. Don

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Carol, I don't know about the cough-but I just wanted to say that I agree that the doctors must be more willing to try things to help your husband out. I know that when my dad started coughing then his breathing started to get worse and then he ended up in the hospital to have his lungs drained of fluid.

The cough is gone now. Maybe an x-ray would help, they would be able to see if there is any fluid that may exaserbate the problem. I know that a routine x-ray would have shown the fluid before my dad got to such a bad point with the fluid-and I am keeping this in mind if he begins to show signs of it again.

I know all to well about the lack of eating also, and that is scary in and of itself. But if something could be done about the phlem, I am sure that it would help in all areas, including the eating.

I am sorry that I couldn't be more helpful. If there is anything I can do, please let me know, neighbor. Take care and keep us posted about how Gene is doing, and you too! Deb

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