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Coughing after Long Rides-Expectorant?

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Old 12-07-18, 10:41 AM
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Coughing after Long Rides-Expectorant?

I have trouble with coughing after long rides. Particularly as I keeps me from getting the 3-4 hours sleep I usually get between long days on a brevet. This fall I did a cold 600k and not surprisingly I was coughing after the initial 400k day. Went on for a couple hours, as my body was trying to get rid of the phlegm. Finally hacked up a huge one and then I could sleep. So I got one hour of sleep that night and no surprise the next day did not go well. I blamed it mostly on the weather and fitness not being up to standard. But yesterday I did a charity indoor ride on a spinning bike. Went for 13 hours, (254 miles on the computer. Generous.) And last night I spent a good couple hours trying to expel the phlegm again. So inside temps and the same result. I have had bouts with exercise induced asthma, but this is a little different. Still a problem with the bronchial area, but didn't bother me during the ride. I always take and use an inhaler on brevets. Didn't use such yesterday. Wondering what works for those of you with similar symptoms? Wondering if an expectorant would be of help here, as when I finally get it all coughed up, I can rest. Anybody tried an expectorant?
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Old 12-07-18, 08:03 PM
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Before my long rides, I usually take an allergy pill and a decongestant. I also have EIA, and take my inhaler with me ... and use it several times on long, cool rides.

All of that does seem to help.
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Old 12-07-18, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Before my long rides, I usually take an allergy pill and a decongestant. I also have EIA, and take my inhaler with me ... and use it several times on long, cool rides.

All of that does seem to help.
On the last 600K, I used Allegra and an inhaler. I haven't tried a decongestant, so that is worth a shot. I see that there is an Allegra-D (Allegra and decongestant) My prescription for the Albuterol calls for a couple pumps every 4 hours. Wondering if that is the blanket dosage, or if one should increase the dose or take it more often?
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Old 12-08-18, 02:21 PM
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There is a common over the counter mix of guaifenesin (expectorant?) and dextromorphan (cough suppressant?) that I find helpful. I believe it's called Mucinex DM, but I always get the generic. The one reduces the urge to cough, the other makes coughing more, shall we say, productive. Both drugs are weak enough that I don't notice any side effects at all. In fact the benefits may be entirely psychosomatic. Good enough for me!
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Old 12-08-18, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
There is a common over the counter mix of guaifenesin (expectorant?) and dextromorphan (cough suppressant?) that I find helpful. I believe it's called Mucinex DM, but I always get the generic. The one reduces the urge to cough, the other makes coughing more, shall we say, productive. Both drugs are weak enough that I don't notice any side effects at all. In fact the benefits may be entirely psychosomatic. Good enough for me!
My wife mentioned this today, but until your post I hadn't heard it used by a cyclist, or better yet, a long distance cyclist. When in your ride do you take this? When you are done for the day or before?
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Old 12-09-18, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
There is a common over the counter mix of guaifenesin (expectorant?) and dextromorphan (cough suppressant?) that I find helpful. I believe it's called Mucinex DM, but I always get the generic. The one reduces the urge to cough, the other makes coughing more, shall we say, productive. Both drugs are weak enough that I don't notice any side effects at all. In fact the benefits may be entirely psychosomatic. Good enough for me!
Coughing can definitely be psychosomatically induced, but I've never heard of anyone that can produce phlegm mentally. That's typically produce by infection. The condition sounds congenital but OP did not provide enough information to make that assumption.

I've seen similar to this in friends and others all my life but never understood it. In those case, it had nothing to do with activity, and occurred at all different times and under different conditions. I always thought it was a genetic condition.

Growing up my eldest sister had post-nasal drip and I remember her going through this daily ritual of throaty sound-effects -- especially in the morning. She was the only one in the family that had this.
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Old 12-09-18, 05:56 AM
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Oh, I didn't mean to imply the phlegm was psychosomatic. The phlegm is real enough. And so is the tickle in the back of the throat that makes me want to cough all the phlegm out.

So I take the little pill, and I'm all better, right? Well no, I'm not all better. But I'm a little better, it at least I think I'm a little better... and that is what may be psychosomatic.

I asked my doctor (gp) about this, and he suggested I take a fexofenedrine (antihistamine, I don't remember the common name... Allegra?) before a ride. I usually forget, but this thread reminded me today. (I'm about to head out on a cold century. We'll see how it works!)

As to when I take the Mucinex DM, honestly, I usually forget to take anything before a ride, and don't need it afterwards. I usually take mucinex only when getting over a cold.
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Old 12-09-18, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Coughing can definitely be psychosomatically induced, but I've never heard of anyone that can produce phlegm mentally. That's typically produce by infection. The condition sounds congenital but OP did not provide enough information to make that assumption.

I've seen similar to this in friends and others all my life but never understood it. In those case, it had nothing to do with activity, and occurred at all different times and under different conditions. I always thought it was a genetic condition.

Growing up my eldest sister had post-nasal drip and I remember her going through this daily ritual of throaty sound-effects -- especially in the morning. She was the only one in the family that had this.
On my last 600K, I think I might have had a touch of a bug. It was a year end type deal, where fitness was compromised after spending several days in a combine (I farm for a living). So it was a mixed bag of not so ideal items. But bottomline, after most rides, I do have a cough of some sort. Probably proportional to the length/conditions of the ride. I have had a couple of full blown episodes of exercise induced asthma, hence the inhaler. It was easy to self diagnose these times, but challenging to find some way to manage the times when the respiratory episodes are not so debilitating, but still a big problem.

I will be seeing my Dr. with my bronchial concerns in the next month or so. But I'm wanting to get as much info as possible before. I don't know how all of you look at your doctor's visits, but I feel I need to have my ducks in a row, as I'm talking to a man that has limited time and limited knowledge of our sport. Luckily, I have cycled with his assistant and that is who I run much of my correspondence through. Even then, the assistant is a 20-30 mile a ride guy, so some of the challenges we face, he has not encountered.

I lost a sister a couple years ago (75yo) to COPD. So I wonder about genetics. She practiced a pretty sedentary lifestyle however. I remember my Mom coughing a lot. Probably mostly when she was older, as she was over 40 when I was born.
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Old 12-09-18, 11:02 AM
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Asthma

I have similar symptoms. I use a beta-agonist inhaler and a glucocorticoid inhaler before and after the ride with great success. Asthma is an inflammatory process that results in spasm of airways as well as mucosal reaction resulting in swelling and mucus production. I suggest that you review your symptoms with a health care provider.
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Old 12-09-18, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by gif4445 View Post
On my last 600K, I think I might have had a touch of a bug. It was a year end type deal, where fitness was compromised after spending several days in a combine (I farm for a living). So it was a mixed bag of not so ideal items. But bottomline, after most rides, I do have a cough of some sort. Probably proportional to the length/conditions of the ride. I have had a couple of full blown episodes of exercise induced asthma, hence the inhaler. It was easy to self diagnose these times, but challenging to find some way to manage the times when the respiratory episodes are not so debilitating, but still a big problem.

I will be seeing my Dr. with my bronchial concerns in the next month or so. But I'm wanting to get as much info as possible before. I don't know how all of you look at your doctor's visits, but I feel I need to have my ducks in a row, as I'm talking to a man that has limited time and limited knowledge of our sport. Luckily, I have cycled with his assistant and that is who I run much of my correspondence through. Even then, the assistant is a 20-30 mile a ride guy, so some of the challenges we face, he has not encountered.

I lost a sister a couple years ago (75yo) to COPD. So I wonder about genetics. She practiced a pretty sedentary lifestyle however. I remember my Mom coughing a lot. Probably mostly when she was older, as she was over 40 when I was born.
This the wisest course of action. I can't advise at all on asthma, but certain bugs can cause coughing that lasts for months if not treated. Coughing is a response to some issue, so if you're in good health you should not cough.
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Old 12-09-18, 02:56 PM
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In my case, I think I get this as a symptom of asthma. I used to think I had exercised induced asthma, but I have problems even when I'm not exercising.
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Old 12-09-18, 04:18 PM
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So today's century (technically a metric century, but it started 22 miles from home... So I rode 106 miles, leaving the house just as it was getting light and returning just as it was getting dark.
it was a cold one, temps 25-35F all day, no sun, but also no wind and no precipitation. My nose was running the whole way, and I was regularly clearing my throat of nasty phlegm. Not pleasant, but not a total show stopper. I cannot say whether the antihistamine that I took at 6:30 am did me any good at all. My impression is: no, it did nothing. But what do I know.
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Old 12-10-18, 01:42 AM
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Originally Posted by gif4445 View Post
On my last 600K, I think I might have had a touch of a bug. It was a year end type deal, where fitness was compromised after spending several days in a combine (I farm for a living). So it was a mixed bag of not so ideal items. But bottomline, after most rides, I do have a cough of some sort. Probably proportional to the length/conditions of the ride. I have had a couple of full blown episodes of exercise induced asthma, hence the inhaler. It was easy to self diagnose these times, but challenging to find some way to manage the times when the respiratory episodes are not so debilitating, but still a big problem.

I will be seeing my Dr. with my bronchial concerns in the next month or so. But I'm wanting to get as much info as possible before. I don't know how all of you look at your doctor's visits, but I feel I need to have my ducks in a row, as I'm talking to a man that has limited time and limited knowledge of our sport. Luckily, I have cycled with his assistant and that is who I run much of my correspondence through. Even then, the assistant is a 20-30 mile a ride guy, so some of the challenges we face, he has not encountered.

I lost a sister a couple years ago (75yo) to COPD. So I wonder about genetics. She practiced a pretty sedentary lifestyle however. I remember my Mom coughing a lot. Probably mostly when she was older, as she was over 40 when I was born.
COPD is genetic too. Don't waste any time, see a physician.
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Old 12-10-18, 02:21 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
In my case, I think I get this as a symptom of asthma. I used to think I had exercised induced asthma, but I have problems even when I'm not exercising.
Mine started as exercise induced asthma and then expanded to become stress induced asthma.

I recall a speech I did in one of my classes ... about 30 seconds into the speech, I couldn't breathe. I tried slowing down my pace so I could suck some air in, and tried exhaling between sentences, and ended up just gasping noisily about every 4 words. That 5 minute speech felt like it lasted forever.

The other students in the class had to write a sentence about my speech and hand it to me, and just about all of them commented that I needed to work on my breathing!!

For the rest of that degree, any time I had to do a speech, I used my inhaler first.
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Old 12-10-18, 08:35 AM
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Time to see an ENT specialist. If those OTC meds aren't helping it may be something worse.

My example...

I had surgery three weeks ago to remove a thyroid cancer. Surgery went well, pain wasn't bad. But that night I had another horrific sinus headache. Nonstop post nasal drip. Thought it was anesthesia hangover. Took three hydrocodone over 12 hours to relieve the pain.

I've had lots of headaches and sinus pain this year but it always dropped to the bottom of the priority list compared with the thyroid thing and shoulder injury from being hit by a car in May.

After my post surgery follow-up last week I stopped at the urgent care clinic. Turns out I had a bad sinus infection and the inflammation was pretty bad. None of the Sudafed, Mucinex, antihistamines, etc., were helping.

They shot me full of Prednisone, gave me oral Prednisone and antibiotics to take home. After five days I'm finally feeling better.

Go see an ENT specialist. You're putting off a potentially serious problem that won't get better by itself, especially pushing the limits in cold dry winter conditions.
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