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Why is it that everytime I laugh a lot, I develop phlegm and a nagging cough?

By November 6, 2011 - 7:58am
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I am 54 years of age and stopped smoking at age 21. I have had this condition for quite some time and am very embarrassed by it. I often avoid being around a lot of people and public places. This saddens me deeply because I have a great sense of humor laughter is my medicine. It helps ease the many stressors in my life; yet I find myself avoiding it around certain people. Also, I am constantly clearing my throat due to a terrible back-drip and I know that too annoys people. What can I do to fix this?I look forward to your response.
Many Thanks!
Carmen Rosa

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EmpowHER Guest

I have the same problem everytime after i laugh I get mucus in my chest,I have to cough it out and I wheeze after.
I have asthma I use my meds twice a day and my asthma is well controlled.
I may see my doctor its annoying I dont want to avoid what I love to do I love anything comedy.
Sometimes I hold back laughing cause I know what will happened.

October 13, 2018 - 11:56pm

I have been suffering from the same thing for about a year. I've had test after test done. I have asthma so at first I assumed it was from that, but the pulmonologist ruled it out. She ordered a Spirometry test and that showed vocal chord dysfunction but showed my asthma was well controlled. I had an upper gi which showed inflammation in my esophagus and stomach lining, and a hiatal hernia. I then had a test where they put a catheter up my nose and into my stomach to measure stomach acid. That showed my stomach acid "levels" were normal or on the low side so my gastroenterologist doesn't think it has anything to do with my GERD. I did have 74 total reflux episodes but I guess they weren't stomach acid?? Weird, but whatever. I'm at the end of my rope. I've elevated my bed, and taking everything they are prescribing but nothing is helping. I'm scheduled for another test on 10/8/18 to look at my vocal chords. Please, please share any information or insight you might have. I'm desperate.

September 24, 2018 - 11:12am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to MelW)

Did you get the test results back showing if it was your vocal cords?

December 8, 2018 - 7:08pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have ashtma and laughing hard is my biggest trigger.. maybe talk to your doctor about getting and inhaler and see if that helps you clear your chest a little. My nebulizer works best for me.

May 26, 2018 - 6:52am

Hi Carmen Rosa,

I'm very sorry that this nagging cough is stopping you from being yourself! You're absolutely right, laughter IS the best form of medicine.

It sounds like what you have may be Post-Nasal Drip. 

Causes of PND include: 


  • Inhaled Irritants- These minute particles cause swelling of the nasal and sinus lining and originate mostly in areas with a lot of smog and dust.
  • Dairy Products- These food substances may cause ones mucus to thicken, making effective mucus drainage difficult. Dairy products also cause an irritation to the delicate mucus membrane lining and stimulate the nasal lining to increase their production of mucus.
  • Continuously eating foods that you are allergic too- This will cause mucus to thicken, resulting in poor mucus drainage and congested nasal passages.
  • Living in dry areas- This dry environment may cause the drying out of nasal mucus, making it thick and difficult to get rid off. This stagnant mucus is then a perfect host for bacteria to live and thrive in.
  • Smoking- Causes an irritation and inflammation of the delicate mucus membrane lining of the nasal passages. This causes an increase in the amount of mucus the nasal membrane secretes.
    Smoking also causes damage to the cilia, decreasing their ability to transport this excess mucus.
  • Avoid drinking caffeine containing products and alcohol - As these substances may cause the drying out and thickening of mucus.
  • Colds and flu- Ones immune system is lowered when one is suffering from a cold or flu. This makes it easier for a person to develop post nasal drip and sinus infections.
  • Throat and Swallowing disorders - These disorders may result in an accumulation of fluids, mucus and solid particles in the back of the throat. This accumulation of foods and liquids may cause the glands of your throat to increase their mucus production resulting in post nasal drip.
    Any growth or swelling in, or at the back of the throat may also prevent one from swallowing the mucus which will then stagnate, becomingsx thick and tenacious and creating another perfect environment for sinusitis creating bacteria.
  • Pregnancy and Birth control pills - Both these factors cause fluctuations in ones bodily hormones. These fluctuations may cause one to experience an increase in mucus production and consequently result in post nasal drip.

It is important that one drink lots of water during the day as these liquids help stimulate mucus flow, preventing it from becoming stagnant and thick.

Washing your nasal passages regularly with a saline solution containing no preservatives helps to wash away any harmful bacteria or foreign particles which may be trapped in the nasal passages or sinus cavities. This irrigation of ones nasal cavities will not however treat the underlying cause of a sinus infection or sinus related conditions.

If you are unsure whether this is what is causing your irritating cough, please see your doctor.

Hope this helps!




November 6, 2011 - 12:38pm
(reply to Rosa Cabrera RN)

Thank you so much your very prompt response and feedback regarding my health issue. The information that you provided was very helpful!
Many Thanks!
Best Regards...

November 12, 2011 - 10:14am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Carmen Rosa)

Hi Carmen. You're not alone. I have the same exact problem and it's so annoying. Have you been able to minimize your problem with it? I'm thinking after reading the response you got that I need to clean more my house to rid of dust or else wear a mask. I thought it was more allergies but Clariton or Benadryl doesn't seem to help. Lately the wheezing in my throat when I breathe keeps me from falling asleep right away! I've read it coups be asthma. Best wishes to you.

July 12, 2017 - 9:54am
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