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Help...coughing fits that stop me breathing

(33 Posts)
ThatVikRinA22 Mon 08-Aug-11 17:03:56

I've got a throat infection and since last night I've had 3 coughing fits in which it seems like my windpipe goes into pasm and I just can't breath in, only through my nose ( which is mainly blocked).
Warning- tmi alert
I've just had another to the point where I was sick but all I brought up was a huge amount of clear mucousy stuff...when this coughing starts I sound like a seal, I can't take a breath in, it's like I'm choking, i end up in the floor, eyes streaming, gasping for breath. I've been to Gp and I'm on antibiotics for the infection, but he said my chest was clear. My voice is very cracked and hoarse, my sister didn't realise it was me in the phone yesterday. Does anyone have a clue what this could be? I'm back at work on weds and am scared it might happen while driving. Thanks in advance.

cardamomginger Mon 08-Aug-11 17:26:09

You poor thing. Sounds like what I had/have - at the tail end of it. It's taken 4 weeks, although I didn;t go to the GP until last week, when DD (10 months) got it. Although I haven't vomited up any clear mucousy stuff, DD has. GP put me on clarithromycin and i have felt better since taking it, although maybe it's running its natural course and I would have felt better anyway. Like you, she said my lungs were clear. Dunno what it is, but pharmacist said, after I collapsed on his shop floor coughing violently, unable to speak, with tears running down my face and thinking I was going to vomit, that there is loads of this bug around. I've found that pollution makes it worse (I get hayfever anyway) so I've been taking antihistamines. Karvol at night has helped a bit. No real advice to give. But you are not alone sad. X

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 08-Aug-11 19:27:13

yes that sounds very much like it have my sympathies - it is horrendous isnt it.

i am actually wondering as silly as it sounds, if i have whooping cough....i was never immunised against it as a child and the symptoms i have are very similar.

ive had several futher attacks of the coughing tonight, if it continues i think i will get in touch with the gp again, though if it is whooping cough i understand there is nothing that can be done for the coughing. i am sick of not being able to breathe, and when i inhale there is a whooping noise during each coughing attack, sometimes followed by vomiting.

it started with a sore throat last week, followed by a runny nose. ive just had a google and i actually think i could be having symptoms....or am i being silly?

NotQuiteSoDesperate Mon 08-Aug-11 19:43:32

I get this regularly, OP. I suffer from a long term illness called chronic cough, together with asthma. Sometimes, I get a spasm where I cough like mad and can't breathe, then I am often sick too. It has been diagnosed as vocal cord dysfunction - the cords close together suddenly, in my case usually in response to a trigger like smoke from the kitchen, BBQs etc. The advice I was given is that breathing will kind of re- set and that I won't actually totally stop! It is very scary at the time, I know. The only way I can deal with it is to try to talk whilst it is happening and this helps to release the cords. Coughing, swallowing hard and trying to breathe slowly also help too.

When it is all over, I am shaky and very tired and often have to sleep. I hope this helps and that you get over it quicker than I have - nearly 5 years of this now!

pollyteapot Mon 08-Aug-11 20:46:47

I sometimes get this too. I cough a lot, which can be quite distressing but occaionally get a coughing fit where i feel like I am struggling for breath, gasping for air. It IS very scary, but the Doc put it down to stress (other things pointed to that so he said this was part of the stress sypmtom).
I'v not had the scary cough since i've been off work (5 weeks) but i still have a bad cough.

OP - perhaps stress could be a factor? i would still go the GP if i were you as chronic cough sounds likelytoo

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 08-Aug-11 21:13:32

well, i have a cunning plan.

the next choking fit is going to get videoed on my phone. i feel quite sure that i am suffering from whooping cough, but having said that - i do suffer from an acid reflux cough which is treated (and usually eliminated) by Omeprazole and Ranitidine...that has something to do with burnt vocal chords....

but why have i just started again with it now after a sore throat and snotty nose?
im almost convinced its whooping cough - given that i am whooping and chucking up when i can no longer breathe.....and between bouts of choking im ok.

so im going to film the next whooping bout and go back to GP....i feel if i have no evidence to show him i may get laughed out of the surgery - but i did not ever have my childhood immunisations...none of em.

i am scared to drive in case it happens behind the wheel.

NotQuiteSoDesperate Mon 08-Aug-11 21:20:43

OP, Google vocal cord dysfunction - your symptoms sound exactly the same as mine. I whoop loudly too and have the mucus and vomiting thing too.

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 08-Aug-11 21:24:45

right, will have a google, cheers.

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 08-Aug-11 21:53:14

had a google, but have been ill with this - would this vocal cord dysfunction cause symptoms of a cold?

Radhikamalhotra90 Fri 14-Mar-14 21:51:21

Hi! I realize this is an old post but I was glad to discover it. I have the sane symptoms. I've recently started choking on my coughs, I googled vocal cord dysfunction after reading your post and almost all the symptoms match mine. The frequency has increased ever since I got this bronchitis sort of infection (don't know the exact name, klebsiella i guess). I was desperate to know what to do during the vcd attack. I cannot breathe through my mouth and I feel like I'm gulping air (after the episode passes I pass a few burps). What can I do to make the attack pass away without having to stay breathless for a few minutes. It's the worst feeling in the world, please tell me how to manage it and has it gotten any better for you?

PigletJohn Fri 14-Mar-14 22:09:25


First point: What did your doctor say?
If you haven't been, go.

Second point:
I had this and collapsed while driving to a doctor's appointment, had a near fatal accident. So until you have been, avoid cars, ladders, operating cranes, tightrope walking etc.

stayathomegardener Fri 14-Mar-14 22:19:04

DD had this after went eventually but was scary at the time.
Had all the tests etc and all non conclusive.

Matildathecat Sat 15-Mar-14 12:50:35

I had this and it was whooping cough. I knew it was and had to convince the doctor to do the blood test. It can only be diagnosed with this. I was actually much better by the time the results came 17 days later.

The thing is, your chest does sound clear and because the cough is paroxysmal you can sound perfectly well in the surgery.

PigletJohn Sat 15-Mar-14 13:15:10

I have heard that it is very helpful to film an attack on your mobile to show the doc, otherwise they might not believe you. I heard that w/c has been underdiagnosed for years because GPs don't expect to see it.

fayfalma Fri 24-Oct-14 12:41:12

lucky i found this. i thought i was alone experiencing this. Doctors think i am making it up. i had a flu that was treated but the coughing remained. now when i cough, i cannot get air back to my lungs, i chock and it is the worst feeling. its like hanging between life and death until the airway clears again to be able to breathe in. after that i start burping continuously until all the air i inhaled while struggling to breathe in clears out. i am worried sick. anyone found a solution yet? xray to chest shows my lungs are ok

tallulahturtle Sat 25-Oct-14 08:11:13

Whooping cough. Had it last year, the gasping for breath spasms lasted for about a month and finally felt normal again after three months. Horrible thing to have, was scared to sleep :/ .

TongueBiter Sat 25-Oct-14 08:29:20

I have this occasionally - if you google laryngospasm there is a video and a sound clip which is useful to show your gp if you can't video yourself having an attack.

I think mine is GERD related though, not cough related.

Cantbreath Wed 07-Jan-15 10:42:29

Same problem here! Scared to death everytime choking and gasping for air,I close my eyes to sleep the cough starts and I cannot breath at all because of the scary cough! Very scary and every time it happens it feels like I am gonna die! I been like this now for over 9 years whenever I get any kind of viral infection from interacting with strangers ir people hosting any kind of virus,germs or infection I get into a lot of trouble,everyday feels like it will be my last day alive its so unfair that doctors are not Doing anything to help me very scared this last few days,last year I had 2 episodes this month I got one every hour on the hour I am afraid will not make it..

Cantbreath Wed 07-Jan-15 10:50:18

Same here,ex rays don't show anything I am scared to death and some of the nurses don't help much by making fun of me and they don't know shit! I am very scared nowage 53 had it for many years and having attack right now but not as bad as last night or this morning,it feels like you gonna drawn suffocating it's hirrible even more horrible than anything I ever seen or heard of in my whole life,why can't doctors help us? Someone suggested to me that It could be a weak immune system, or no immune system at all!!

Cantbreath Wed 07-Jan-15 10:55:29

Same here,is there anything we can go to avoid the fits?? Please advise me if you do know of anything? Very scared and GP won't come to visit me at home and today I am even worse than yesterday very scared to close my eyes againsad

EmNetta Thu 08-Jan-15 01:44:12

So sorry to hear of so many people suffering similar problems. Not had these, just been unable to breathe now and again, and GP suggested that being close to moving air would help next time, ie opening window or moving a door briskly to cause a draft. Hope it might help.

quakeout Fri 06-Mar-15 11:53:41

Having experienced a lot of what is spoken about on this thread, I would recommend checking out Vocal Cord Dysfunction. A good source of information is I also found this short video clip useful - it is American and the doctor calls it laryngospasm rather than Vocal Cord Dysfunction but it does show clearly the reason for the distinctive sound and the really scarey experience of what happens I hope these are useful because a big problem with this condition is that it does not seem well known among GPs. I was treated for asthma and had a long course of steroids before a specialist at the local chest clinic (after a couple of appointments and lots of tests which did not reveal what was wrong) wondered about Vocal Cord Dysfunction. There are specialist multi-disciplinary clinics in London, Birmingham and Preston (there may be more but probably not). Having gone through a hell of a time it has made a huge difference to have a diagnosis that makes sense. One thing worth saying to anyone who is experiencing this: there are good reasons why you feel like you are dying. That is because you are experiencing suffocation. The very good news is that it always only lasts a short time and, once you can convince someone to take it seriously, there is treatment and cure (or management of the condition so that you can happily get on with your life).

Maryhenry1 Thu 22-Dec-16 10:54:02

This is all me, started from a minor cold, then carried on to constant coughing fits causing a blood vessel in my eye to burst, along with ribs popping. I'd be fine, then I'd break out into this fit that had me gasping for air, at first all this fluid would come up as well.. For weeks. Now it's dry but still gasping for air. I can tell when it's gonna happen because the right side of my throat becomes itchy and irritated.. I even struggle to yell out words. But finally after 11weeks of pain and irration I found this link.. Which makes total sense.

It discribes nerve damaged in the throat.. This is why doctors won't pick it up because they think it's coming from the chest, which comes back clear.

There's hope for us all.

Shurelyshomemistake Thu 22-Dec-16 19:21:13

All of the above sounds very much like whooping cough.

InquisitiveDad Sun 16-Apr-17 19:34:05

I am suffering from the exact symptoms as described here. Had a bad cough for a couple of weeks, very painful throat when I yawned, coughing fits causing retching/vomiting, and then the worst of all - coughing closing throat so unable to breath for several seconds. I too thought I was going to die, after a while I could draw a whooping breath, runny nose and eyes, more coughing that then caused a repeat, finally regained airway and ability to speak. Huge burping a minute later as had obviously swallowed large amount of air somehow.
This has happened several times over past couple of days, very scary as completely unable to draw breath. Self-diagnosed as whooping cough (apparently vaccine wears off after several decades) and went to hospital. Diagnosed there with pharyngitis and prescribed antibiotics. Basically a severe throat infection that causes throat tissue to swell up.
I'll let you know how the antibiotics go...

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