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I am a 26 year old female (non-smoker, drug user or drinker)

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I am a 26...

I am a 26 year old female (non-smoker, drug user or drinker) I have had a cough for years (sometimes mild, sometimes more severe) I wake up a lot with a wet cough. Anyway, recently it's been more of a hack and very persistent. I also noticed that my heart is having palpitations around the same time of the cough and I am starting to cough up brown phlegm. Sometimes I cough so hard that I start getting dizzy and my heart feels like it can't keep up and when I breath deep it feel like I am drowning sometimes. I don't understand why this is happening considering I have always had a healthy lifestyle, this is why I have always brushed it off as maybe some sort of allergy or undiagnosed asthma. Thoughts...?

Doctor's Assistant: How long have you been dealing with the cough? Are you having any other symptoms?

Several years

Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Medical
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
9/30/2017
Doctor: Dr. D. Love, Doctor replied 7 months ago
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 19,565
Experience: Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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Hello from JustAnswer. This is Dr. Love.

Have you tried taking anything for the cough, such as allergy medicines?

Do you have any stomach problems, such as heartburn or indigestion?

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I don't take anything currently but I have had a sour feeling stomach for a while now if that is relevant which I was taking probiotics for
Doctor: Dr. D. Love, Doctor replied 7 months ago

There are two common conditions that can cause significant coughing that gets worse at night or when you first wake up. You are correct that allergies or allergic asthma is one of the common conditions. There are certain common allergens to which people are exposed while asleep, such as dust mites. Consequently, it is common for people to get allergy symptoms at night. The second condition is acid reflux, also called gastroesophageal reflux disease (or GERD). GERD frequently is worse at night because gravity is no longer helping to keep stomach contents where they belong when someone is lying down. If the stomach contents gets to the throat, it can get into the lungs and irritate the lungs. While most people with reflux notice heartburn, there are some people that primarily notice lung symptoms, such as cough, shortness of breath, or wheezing. And some of these people will only have symptoms when lying down.

While there are some tests that your doctor can do to look for these conditions, another option that you can do at home is to try over the counter medicines for these conditions to see if the symptoms improve. For allergies, you can try an oral antihistamine before bedtime to see if it prevents the symptoms, and there are many antihistamines available over the counter. For GERD, you can try a medicine to suppress stomach acid, such as ranitidine or omeprazole, to see if it helps to prevent symptoms. You can try each intervention for a week to see what helps to ease symptoms. If you do both at the same time, then you would not know which helps, but you can try either first.

If I can provide any additional information, please let me know.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thank you I will absolutely be trying that method to see if it helps. The discolored phlegm is nothing to worry about then?
Doctor: Dr. D. Love, Doctor replied 7 months ago

it is not separately worrisome, as it is only a sign that there is greater lung irritation. The secondary symptoms, such as brown phlegm, heart racing, and dizziness, should all improve as the cough improves.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Good to know, thank you!
Doctor: Dr. D. Love, Doctor replied 7 months ago

You are very welcome.

If we are done, please remember to provide a positive rating so that I am credited for assisting you.

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Doctor: Dr. D. Love, Doctor replied 7 months ago

Please let me know if I can provide any further assistance.

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