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Dr. Thomas, MD
Dr. Thomas, MD, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 56738
Experience:  Internal Medicine--practice all of internal medicine, all ages, family, also Integrative, CAM, etc
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When I sleep, phlegm or mucus seems to block my air passage

Resolved Question:

When I sleep, phlegm or mucus seems to block my air passage in my throat, waking me up thinking I can't breath. I can't seem to cough it up. What can I do to stop this feeling? I take 1/2 a benedryl each night to help me sleep. Could this cause the problem?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Thomas, MD replied 2 years ago.
Hello
This might well be GERD
REflux
So the anti mucus won't work

As a test, get your doctor to prescribe nexium for 2 wees or so.
Raise the head of the bed on 6 inch wood blocks.

If this all helps then you are probably refluxing.

good luck

Let me know if you have further questions, details or need clarification, just use reply.......

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm not a doctor,however, I used to take a zantac before I went to bed each night. I have changed my diet. Lost 18 pounds and 37 inches. I no longer eat white flour sugar or processed food, and seldom eat before I go to bed. You still think this could be acid reflux. It doesn't seem to react the same way it use to. I have no insurance so going to the doctor is not an option.
Expert:  Dr. Thomas, MD replied 2 years ago.
Yes
Zantac is not so good.
You could try over the counter prilosec for 2 weeks.

I would also suggest finding a neighborhood clinic..call the health department..they are on sliding scale.

Reflux can have ALL sorts of presentations...and you don't have another good explanation, and in addition you have it in your history!

So see what happens
good luck

Let me know if you have further questions, details or need clarification, just use reply.......

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
I would like another opinion as I have never heard of acid reflux responding in a way that causes one not to be able to breath and causing phlegm
Expert:  Dr. Thomas, MD replied 2 years ago.
This is very common in fact.
When you lie down for a while this allows gravity to help the acid in small amounts up the throat.
Small amounts can even be aspirated into the trachea.
This is well known among internal medicine doctors...we treat it all the time.

If it were allergy or infection for example,,,,it would not be worse at night, or aggravated from lying down necessarily.

The other part of your question is interesting...if it were allergy..the benedryl should help, not make it worse.

The fact that benedryl does not help goes for reflux.

Asthma or allergy ought to at least get some benefit from benedry.

Of course, you can never be sure there is not some lesion, tumor etc, in the throat..and if you had chronic sinus blockage this would certainly account for it, but you are not describing this.

If you test it for two weeks and you know...fine..if it does not work..then you have to look for these other explanations.

Good luck again

Let me know if you have further questions, details or need clarification, just use reply.......

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If it were sinuses would you describe something different? My sinuses seldom bother me, however, this past week I could feel what I thought was blocked sinuses on the right side of my face, nose, eye area, ear and teeth all ached and I had a headache. I took a full benedryl at 4:00 in the afternoon (usually makes me drowsy) and put heat packs on my face. Another benedryl at 9:00 p.m along with an excedrin and woke feeling much better. I have been working outside this past week in cold weather.
Expert:  Dr. Thomas, MD replied 2 years ago.
Yes
Claritin now has over the counter.
It is long lasting and if you take it daily for 3 days this would be another test.
If sinuses are infected, prescription antibiotics are the only feasible solution...and that usually means that there is pain.

good luck


Dr. Thomas, MD, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 56738
Experience: Internal Medicine--practice all of internal medicine, all ages, family, also Integrative, CAM, etc
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