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Nurse Susan
Nurse Susan, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1091
Experience:  RN, BSN, MSN-ED, Nurse Educator whose passion is helping people understand their health and wellness
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I have had a persistent, dry scratchy throat since last

Customer Question

I have had a persistent, dry scratchy throat since last April and my Dr. and I cannot find the cause. It feels as though there is something scratching the sides of my throat at the base of the tonsils. It happens on and off during the day, but every night it is triggered the instant I fall asleep. My husband watches me drift off to sleep then almost instantly wake up coughing. I have not slept 8 hrs without the aid of Tussionex cough syrup in 10 months, or if my Dr. has given me a prednisone series. We have tried Claritin, Clarinex, Allegra, Astelin, Nasonex, Clortrimeton, Sudefed, Benadril, Mucinex, Delsym, and every cough med OTC. He sent me to a ENT to be scoped, but the doctor just looked at me throat, said "I don''t see anything and I have no idea what is wrong. You haven''t tried Atrovent and Flonase yet, so use them for 2 weeks (one am, one pm) and if they don''t work, flip them. They did not work. I cannot continue in this manner, and do not want to take a narcotic to sleep. Thx
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Nurse Susan replied 9 years ago.

HelloCustomer

I am sorry you are in such discomfort, and I hope I can give you some advice and guidance. However I need more information to help you. Are you a smoker or are you around chemicals at all? Were you sick before this cough started? You say lying down makes it worse...does anything else make it worse (or better)? Do you have any other symptoms or is it JUST this cough?

Thank you for that information,

Sincerely,

Susan

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I quit smoking in 1997 and I am not around chemicals.I had a sinus infection in late March prior to this starting. Lying down per se does not make it worse - I have fallen asleep sitting up in my chair and the same thing happens (we tried 2 weeks of Nexxium also to see if it was reflux - no help) I have tried to pinpoint some kinds of triggers - indoor vs outdoor, certain foods, etc and there does not seem to be any pattern that I can see. Sometime it can be triggered from eating and not necessarily something dry that would "scratch" my throat. Last night was miserable.. I woke three times with the scratch again, always in the same spots - base of tonsils /back of tongue. I have to put and analgesic cough drop in the back sice of my mouth and wait for it to numb the area before I can fall back asleep. Any insight would be appreciated. Customer
Expert:  Nurse Susan replied 9 years ago.

HelloCustomer

Because this cough happened after a sinus infection, its likely that is to blame for your cough. One of the most common causes of a chronic cough is a post nasal drip, and that can indeed happen after a sinus infection. Another possibility is chronic sinusitis...as that can create a cough that is worse at night as yours seems to be. However, you would in all likelihood if this were the case still be feeling some cold symptoms.

Heartburn is also a very common cause of a cough, but I see you did try Nexium for that.

As you had a sinus infection it is likely (as the structures) are so close that it affected your ear and eustachian tube. One cause of a cough is something in your ear that irritates it. If you havent had someone check your ears, thats a possibility to consider....though usually its a foriegn body like a hair or some such.

Have you seen a specialist yet? An ENT is one who specializes in disorders of the ear, nose, and throat. It may be worthwhile to get his/her input and suggestions. He/she may want to visualize your larynx to see if the problem lies there if more common causes have been ruled out.

I hope I was able to help,

Sincerely,

Susan

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
You apparently missed the part in my initial email where I mentioned that I had already seen an ENT, therefore not needing your simple description of what a Otolaryngologist does. He flat out told me he had no idea what it was, and gave me 2 prescriptions for more nose sprays which were completely inefectual and a bill for $280. I was actually hoping a physician would respond to my email with more experience who might have some fresh insight, not the same stuff I have already tried.
Expert:  Nurse Susan replied 9 years ago.

HelloCustomer

I am sorry you were unsatisfied, I have opted out so your question is now open to other experts to answer. Someone will be with you shortly.

Sincerely,

Susan