Hello all, I've been a lurker on this site for close to a year now and I am finally making a post. I'm looking for help but I will also post my experience to offer assistance to those in similar situations.
Long story short, I had an upper respiratory infection in March of 2014 and after it ended I came down by with a chronic cough that basically persists until this day. Along with this cough are other symptoms such as nasal congestion and throat clearing. The cough used to get worse with exercise.
After over 30 trips to doctors in the past year including GPs, pulmonologists, ENT, and allergist I still don't have a definitive diagnosis.
The first doc said asthma, put me on steroid inhalers and albuterol. I maintained this treatment for over 6 months with very little to no improvement. Pulmonologists put me on stronger inhalers. After no improvement finally came a whole round of tests, and guess what....turns out I don't have asthma. Spirometry was perfect and methacholine challenge was perfect. Tests also revealed high IgE, so off to the allergist.
Allergist: blood test revealed no allergies whatsoever. First skin prick test showed an allergy to grass, although very midl. Next allergy test was intradermal, which revealed allergies to dust mites, mold, and grass So I try sudafed and a nasal antihistamine/steroid combo. Huge success! Symptoms were relieved by over 80% and for the first time in over a year I could go a whole day without coughing. The cough wasn't completely gone but 1000x better. Nasal congestion was still persistent but slightly better with the nasal spray. Since then I've been on Sudafed 24 hour daily for 4 months, but there's still some problems, notable a weird feeling of mucus buildup in my throat which gets much much worse with exercise. This mucus build up sometimes makes it "odd" to breathe, like my airway is slightly blocked. And it affects my performance, I get exhausted playing sports way way way earlier than I should be.
So back to a new GP, who thinks it could be either heart related or acid reflux. All heart tests are normal (ekg, exercise test, echo) and he wants me to try Prilosec for a month. Now I have tried PPIs before in my very early days of treatment(took protonix once daily for 5 months with no improvement whatsoever), so I'm skeptical. Before I can begin treatment something terrible happens, I catch a cold. The first time I've been sick since this whole ordeal started a year ago and all the old symptoms come flooding back. The last 4 months have been great with the only symptom a slight everyday cough and exercise mucus. Now through this cold throat clearing returns, feeling of mucus in throat, a brutal cough, and more nasal congestion. The cold went away after a week but 2 weeks later all my chronic symptoms are back! It's like a never ending yearly cycle!
Anyways, that's my story and it sucks. I do highly recommend sudafed, that drug has been a lifesaver for me. Make sure it's pseudoephedrine and not the other stuff. I still take it every day and it doesn't make me jittery anymore and my blood pressure is completely normal. I'm hopeful this full return of chronic symptoms is just left over from the cold and will go away, but my body and gut are telling me that's not the case.
What is left for me to try? Should I demand some tests from my doctor.
Thanks for listening.
Me: male, 27, Midwest
No history of asthma or allergies. Allergies diagnosed recently.
Non smoker, but I do chew tobacco.
Drink alcohol rarely.
Medication therapies tried: Claritin, Allegra, protonix, albuterol, symbicort, singulair, qnasl, nasonex, dymistA, codeine cough syrup, zpack, sudafed, atrovent nasal spray, afrin, Xanax (doc thought maybe anxiety), tums, mucinex, Benadryl, and probably a few more I can't think.
My best guess is a bad dust mite allergy and maybe gerd or lpr. I would just like a definitive diagnosis. I'm considering immunotherapy (allergy shots) this summer.