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 Basu Your Own Question
Dr Basu
Dr Basu, Experienced Specialist
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 28151
Experience:  MD
Type Your Medical Question Here...
Dr Basu is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I spit up a rust colored sputum every once in a while. Sometimes

Resolved Question:

I spit up a rust colored sputum every once in a while. Sometimes it feel like there is something rough, like a piece of paper in it. Anything to worry about? I am 58 years old.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Robert replied 5 years ago.
Hello, Welcome to justanswer and thank you for your question.

Do you have any dental infection?
Are you a chronic smoker?
Any past medical issue?
Expert:  Dr Basu replied 5 years ago.


thanks for your question.

rusty colored sputum should be taken seriously.

this can be commonly caused by an infection like bacterial or viral infection.

if you have history of smoking, this can also contribute to it.

other causes can be fragile blood vessels in your airways.

Chronic obstructive lung disease also can cause this.

if you are on blood thinning medications, that is another cause.

The low risk of malignancy should not be ignored.

i will suggest you to see your doctor for a clinical evaluation and chest imaging studies ( Xrays to start with).

Most likely this may turn out to be an infection which can be treated with antibiotics.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have never smoked and have been under Dr.'s care for five years. They say I have an autoimmune disease but have not determined exactly which one yet. I have been to the Mayo Clinic 2 years ago because I had chronic fatigue (still do) muscle and joint pain. Generally feeling awful and very weak. My Dr. is a rheumatologist that I regularly go to. I have been diagnosed with Systemic Lupus (the Mayo said no), then MS, then rheumatoid arthritis. I have been on all the drugs for those and they all made me feel worse. I am taking an antidepressant now and sleeping pill. I add vitamins to that. I was on Actonel for osteoporosis but I took myself off of that and felt a little better.
My Mom dies from Oral Cancer and my Dad from kidney cancer (67 yrs.) my brother died from COPD and my sister has breast cancer.

Alot of information but what kind of Dr. should I go to? Thank you so much
Expert:  Dr Basu replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for all the information.

really helpful.

antidepressants can cause bleeding and hence rusty sputum is possible.

given the history of autoimmune disorder, this also can affect the lungs.

hence, you need further work up with Xrays, CT scan, and also a bronchoscopy if deemed necessary.

For all this work up, you are better off seeing a lung specialist ( Pulmonologist).


Best wishes,



I am glad you found my advice useful. Please click ACCEPT if you do not have any further question, so that I get rewarded for my time and effort. Thank you!

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I feel like all I do is go to the doctor. I have had so many tests run and they come up with nothing that is why I am so depressed. They said with a chronic illness, that is normal. It is just so weird to feel so bad and not have a certain diagnosis. Putting a name to it seems to make it easier to adjust to. Is that normal to not be able to diagnose an auto immune disease, if that is what is?

Last question, I promise!
Expert:  Dr Basu replied 5 years ago.

i am again sympathetic to your cause.

this is frustrating. but sometimes, a diagnosis may remain elusive especially autoimmune disorders. there are so much overlap, hence classical diagnosis of one condition may not be possible in some cases like yours.

but, what looks like it, what sounds like it, then it must be it.

autoimmune disorders can affect the lungs causing rusty sputum.

it is challenging to find a best treatment, but patience and coordinated care may be the answer to your frustration.

at this point, you should see a lung specialist to address this sputum issue.

Dr Basu, Experienced Specialist
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 28151
Experience: MD
Dr Basu and 3 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

Related Medical Questions