Every day I cough up what looks like a scab with ugly mucous and blood

Posted by needtoknow @needtoknow, Feb 10, 2016

Every day I cough up what looks like a scab with ugly mucous and tiny amounts of blood. It seems to come from the back of my throat or nose. My doctor has seen the scab but does not see anything wrong. This, to me, seems really odd. Has anyone had this problem?

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@reebobbin

Everything you explained and even your pictures are spot on with the issues I’m having. I have always thought it was staph. I wonder if we could pass this info along to Reddit? They are very good at identifying health problems. Anyone familiar with Reddit?

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I'm a Reddit user actually, so I've shared our thread there in the r/askadoc subreddit. For others to follow along, it's here:

[REDDITURL]/r/AskDocs/comments/eh5ves/myself_and_others_are_coughing_up_firm_but_slimy/

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You are so awesome. Thanks for doing that!! I hope it gains more attention and we can figure out what in the world is going on.

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Seeing other people that describe the problem similarly is really nice to see to make one feel like it's not unique, though of course I don't wish the annoying symptoms on anyone. Unfortunately, it seems years of posting here and even that Reddit thread (or mine) aren't really generating conclusive or definitive 'answers' in a way that any of us can go to a doctor and be like, 'hey, this really appears to be this, a specialist has seen at least one case and it's been confirmed'.

Instead, we get a rough list of about 15 things it could be, despite some people with very much 1:1 symptoms, and no one really does a post-diagnosis confirmation message that it's been diagnosed, treated and solved — at least not in any of the posts I've seen (they all appear very loose). I'd love to see at least one person come back and say, 'hey, it's this, here was my journey to figuring that out, and now it's been treated and I'm fixed.'

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You hit the nail on the head. It’s so exhausting searching for answers and opening up to strangers about this problem, yet we get no where. My health insurance changed this month, and it’s awful. I don’t foresee many specialists visits in my near future. A lot of the people who are treated and no longer have the symptoms, don’t care to come back and share with others.

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@klpdx

I’m so sorry—it looks like you definitely have the same thing I, and likely more than a few folks have on this forum. I completely understand—things have gotten so bad I’m waking in the night choking on this thing. It used to happen every few days, then I had nasal surgery—the airflow improved, which definitely made things worse. Now it’s every day. It’s worse on days I can’t cough it out…because I can feel it there. It’s kind of like how your ears, nose, and throat feel right at the beginning/end of a cold. My humble advice? New ENT, stat! You totally have chronic adenoiditis, and that means low-grade inflammation is happening above your hard palate ALL THE TIME. I had to do a month of antibiotics (did nothing) for insurance purposes, and finally, FINALLY, surgery is scheduled to have the dang things taken out. The last time I was scheduled to have them removed, my insurance changed and I couldn’t afford it. Then this summer, another ENT agreed they needed to come out…but the surgeon decided it wasn’t necessary during my nasal surgery, and DIDN’T DO IT. He was so sure fixing my nose would solve everything…nope. Worse. I went back to him and insisted earlier this month. He tried to blow me off, then the thing that finally seemed to get his attention was when I told him that because of this, my throat hurt every morning, and the base of my ears hurts every night. See that depression in the center of the scab? That’s where your adenoid is, the mucus is dripping back and hardening around it. Sometimes it hardens around the entire thing like in your 2nd picture, and sometimes just the top, like in the 1st and 3rd. Please don’t give up. Doctors work for YOU. It’s my actual job to help them, and all to often the attitude is: “I’m right because, duh, I’m the doctor here.” They aren’t all knowing and all powerful, they make mistakes and overlook things. You deserve to be heard. Good luck. Please keep us updated!

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How was your recovery? I just had my adenoid taken out for the very same reason. I am on day 9 post op and today I hacked out something similar to what I used to. I am worried that the adenoid was not the issue. Or perhaps you did the same thing for a while until everything healed?

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@codybmusser

I thought I would share as I also suffer from what appear to be the same symptoms as indicated by many, and have yet to find a resolution via a Doctor.

– I've had the primary symptom where I occasionally catch in my throat and can cough up a mucus-y, but firm booger/scab every couple to few days
– I've seen an ENT twice, each time been prescribed an antibiotic but there has been no permanent solution (I can't remember the antibiotic names)
– I've been scoped and it was said that she saw 'dry crustiness' but no confirmation of an issue or condition
– I believe something was sent to the lab, but I never received a confirmation upon those results
– I was asked to nasal rinse daily, of which I attempted to do my best, but it honestly was never a solution either (and daily boiling or carting around distilled water in NYC is honestly a lot)
– I nasal rinsed daily to start, with mupirocin diluted in to the water, but after a month or so swapped to more like every other day, then it trickles down from there
– Honestly, even daily didn't affect the symptoms much

Some unique or personal notes:

– I live in an extremely dry NYC apartment, and DO frequently believe that I breath through my mouth during sleep, but I can find no solution for that
– I run a humidifier (and clean it) but have found no affect on symptoms
– I can actually, with my tongue, reach back and up, into the beginnings of the nasal passage, feel the dryness and beginnings of deposits and occasionally dislodge
– I otherwise do not cough, feel ill, or suffer from any other symptom
– I'm 34, male, healthy weight, don't suffer from acid reflux to my knowledge, and don't smoke or drink alcohol

Because I think the photos are helpful for others, I've been saving pictures of the result of discharge for a month and I'm sharing for those that are also suffering — these occurred every 2-4 days or so, for a month.

The ENT I'd visited seemed fine, but I'm also not interested in guessing at antibiotics once every year or so only to see no change, and the presence of occasional blood (as you can see) is troubling. I really did think it might have to do with sleeping and dryness, but the comments in the thread have been interesting to also see.

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I have the same thing. They said it was my adenoids. They took them out and these pics are after the adenoidectomy! So now I have lost all faith in my ENT.

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CCD44F22-D051-4BDA-BE6B-8C3BCAAE2C54

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Have others posting here had the Tornwaldt Cyst idea ruled out? I've been reading about that since someone came back with that as a diagnosis, and gotta say some of the symptoms really seem to be lining up in a pretty distinctive way.

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@ewwyep

Have others posting here had the Tornwaldt Cyst idea ruled out? I've been reading about that since someone came back with that as a diagnosis, and gotta say some of the symptoms really seem to be lining up in a pretty distinctive way.

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My doctor ruled that out after a CT Scan as I thought the same thing. I will say a month or so out from having my adenoids removed my symptoms have dramatically improved. I am about a week or so between these incidences now and when I do have it, they are a fraction of the size they used to be. Right after the adenoidectomy it was almost every other day and they were huge. I am hoping it continues to improve. I will update here if it does.

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Hi all, as social interaction is limited with the COVID-19 virus and many members have concerns they'd like to discuss, I wanted to make you aware that Mayo Clinic Connect has opened up a brand new group dedicated to COVID-19, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/covid-19/. The hope is to help members connect and cope during these unprecedented times.

Please follow the COVID-19 group by clicking on +Follow, look at the discussions there and participate. You are also welcome to start a new discussion on any COVID-19-related topic you'd like to discuss.

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Hey everyone. Came back to follow up with you. I recently got pregnant. I am 13 weeks. So I have not hacked up any of the scabs in weeks. Probably since February. Now it’s just clear liquid running down the back of my throat that I have to hack for it to come up. Yes it’s still annoying, but no where near annoying as the scabs were. And it’s clear not green which makes me feel so much better. The only thing I have changed or started doing differently was taking my prenatal vitamins everyday. Maybe this is from sort of deficiency? I don’t know. I just know it stopped once I started taking daily vitamins. Hopefully this info will help someone. If you try this, and it helps you, please follow up with all of us. I check this thread often.

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Hello fellow sufferers! I am so happy to have found this forum and know that I am not the only one experiencing this so thanks very much to everyone who has contributed.
I have been having this ‘coughing up mucusey and occasionally bloody scab’ problem for a couple of years now. Thanks also for the photos because they have confirmed that I think we all have the same problem. Also, consistently with other people’s experiences it is worse over the winter and then I don’t notice it over the summer. At worst over winter I cough one up everyday, at best every few days – it varies.

I have found the last post the most helpful to me because I finally started googling and looking into this because I am thinking of getting pregnant and was concerned about whether or not I should get pregnant with an ongoing health issue. So thanks very much for sharing that info, I think I can confidently go ahead knowing it won’t affect things. I have only just, a couple of days ago, started taking the vitamins – so too soon to know if that will help but fingers crossed.
From reading everyone’s comments I think I’m coming to the conclusion that this could be down to environmental factors and maybe overall health? I’ll share some of my environmental and health info in case it is helpful.

– I’m 34, female, in good health otherwise, very slightly overweight and not very fit at the moment. Perhaps it’s worth saying that about 3 years ago I moved and started working from home – at this time I think I started exercising less and had a few too many snacks and put on a bit of weight. And shortly afterwards the throat issues started. So perhaps the fact that my overall health and fitness declined has had something to do with it.
– I don’t have a dog but do have occasional interaction with dogs.
– I used to be a smoker but not for about 5 years – I now only indulge when on holiday (once a year or so). I don’t notice any impact but I’m sure it doesn’t help.
– I do drink, favour a G&T in the evening maybe 3 or 4 times a week. Again – this has been a habit that has developed over the last 3/4 years – before I used to have a drink much less regularly so another factor that probably isn’t helping. Perhaps quitting alcohol due to pregnancy was another factor that helped @reebobbin improve?
– I have never had any ENT surgery of any kind. I did have a phase of chronic nose-bleeds when I was a teenager but these seemed to clear up on their own. I do get a very occasional nose-bleeds in adulthood when I have had a cold and been blowing my nose too much (Side note – my father has the same issue). I have noticed that when I have a nose bleed, a blood clot has formed in my sinuses and only when I blow it out does the nose bleeding seem to stop.
– I think I am quite a mucusey person in general – I’m always the person blowing their nose constantly in winter and reaching for the tissues as soon as I get some cold air on my face.
– I sometimes have phases of having quite bad sinus headaches.

So in general I think it’s fair to conclude that I have quite delicate sinuses – sounds like some other sufferers on here do too? – and maybe this genetic disposition makes us more susceptible to this throat issue that might be exacerbated by not being quite fit and healthy enough to keep our immune systems in tip top shape?

Thanks again everyone, I’ll check back on here once I’ve been on the vitamins for a bit longer and see if I can report any changes. I think information sharing is the key for solving unusual health issues!

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@georgieuk

Hello fellow sufferers! I am so happy to have found this forum and know that I am not the only one experiencing this so thanks very much to everyone who has contributed.
I have been having this ‘coughing up mucusey and occasionally bloody scab’ problem for a couple of years now. Thanks also for the photos because they have confirmed that I think we all have the same problem. Also, consistently with other people’s experiences it is worse over the winter and then I don’t notice it over the summer. At worst over winter I cough one up everyday, at best every few days – it varies.

I have found the last post the most helpful to me because I finally started googling and looking into this because I am thinking of getting pregnant and was concerned about whether or not I should get pregnant with an ongoing health issue. So thanks very much for sharing that info, I think I can confidently go ahead knowing it won’t affect things. I have only just, a couple of days ago, started taking the vitamins – so too soon to know if that will help but fingers crossed.
From reading everyone’s comments I think I’m coming to the conclusion that this could be down to environmental factors and maybe overall health? I’ll share some of my environmental and health info in case it is helpful.

– I’m 34, female, in good health otherwise, very slightly overweight and not very fit at the moment. Perhaps it’s worth saying that about 3 years ago I moved and started working from home – at this time I think I started exercising less and had a few too many snacks and put on a bit of weight. And shortly afterwards the throat issues started. So perhaps the fact that my overall health and fitness declined has had something to do with it.
– I don’t have a dog but do have occasional interaction with dogs.
– I used to be a smoker but not for about 5 years – I now only indulge when on holiday (once a year or so). I don’t notice any impact but I’m sure it doesn’t help.
– I do drink, favour a G&T in the evening maybe 3 or 4 times a week. Again – this has been a habit that has developed over the last 3/4 years – before I used to have a drink much less regularly so another factor that probably isn’t helping. Perhaps quitting alcohol due to pregnancy was another factor that helped @reebobbin improve?
– I have never had any ENT surgery of any kind. I did have a phase of chronic nose-bleeds when I was a teenager but these seemed to clear up on their own. I do get a very occasional nose-bleeds in adulthood when I have had a cold and been blowing my nose too much (Side note – my father has the same issue). I have noticed that when I have a nose bleed, a blood clot has formed in my sinuses and only when I blow it out does the nose bleeding seem to stop.
– I think I am quite a mucusey person in general – I’m always the person blowing their nose constantly in winter and reaching for the tissues as soon as I get some cold air on my face.
– I sometimes have phases of having quite bad sinus headaches.

So in general I think it’s fair to conclude that I have quite delicate sinuses – sounds like some other sufferers on here do too? – and maybe this genetic disposition makes us more susceptible to this throat issue that might be exacerbated by not being quite fit and healthy enough to keep our immune systems in tip top shape?

Thanks again everyone, I’ll check back on here once I’ve been on the vitamins for a bit longer and see if I can report any changes. I think information sharing is the key for solving unusual health issues!

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Hi @georgieuk and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. You seem to be well aware of your health and recognize areas that you can change. I, too, work from home and exercise or even getting up once an hour can be challenging, especially if you're engrossed in your work. I have made a daily early morning exercise routine a non-negotiable in my life. When I get up, I put on on my workout clothes no questions asked. Just having on the "uniform" makes it easier for me to just do it. Remembering to get up from my desk throughout the day, not so easy for some reason.

Might regularly rinsing with a neti pot help you?

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@emmur16

@needtoknow Thank you for your kind reply to my nose problem. I used an holistic product called cleavers. These drops I used topically inside my nose onto the cartilage where the first scab appeared. The scab had formed and then came out of the nose when I cleansed the area. The bleeding was bright red and several dabbings stopped the bleed. Then the cycle commenced again. After I used the Cleavers a few times the scab formed thin crust and now inside my nose there is a more extensive light crust. When I cleanse the nostril there is the same bleeding, but the area where the large scab formed seems not to be boring into the cartilage as it was before. I found a fellow by Googling before I found the Mayo discussion site. This fellow described the identical problem I have stressing his was not cancer (verified.) I spoke with my doctor yesterday briefly about this condition and said I had had an operation for BBC six years ago on the outside nostril of my nostril on the other side. There was a small thing on my nose for years and it was very tiny. As I say it looked like a tiny scratch. It tuned out to be BBC and I went to Dartmouth Hitchcock to have it removed. The specialist said it was very deep and it amazed me to see how deep it had been. No recurrence T.G.
Yesterday my doctor said in closing, “Basal Cell is never going to kill you!”
I am not ready to go to a specialist about this and have them doing tests and start taking my nose apart. I am a healthy, active 90 years old and I have had all the surgeries, tests, probing, etc. for my life time that I intend to ever have.
I feel this thing is staph as the other fellow on Google described. I learned that “bugs” like the staph love the inside of the nose to set up housekeeping and I have always been plagued with cold sores (Herpes Simplex) inside my nostrils. There are loads of blood vessels inside the nose. Hence the bleeding.I also have a deviated septum which I think contributes to my nose afflictions. Thank you dear for replying to my inquiry. Be well.
P.S. I also used Tea Tree Esssential Oil on the site and it dries the area. I think perhaps I have to use the Cleavers more often for awhile. Blessings

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What is Cleavers? I constantly have sinus problems. Can't breathe. I have a "severely deviated septum. I had a cat scan on my head at the dentist's. He told me my sinus was really a mess. Yes, I know. I went to an ENT in Columbus, Ohio. He wants to operate on the septum. I have allergies and I use Afrin spray and have been told not to use it by different doctors. It is the only one that really works. I am sick most of the time -get very little sleep. Have sleep apnea, nose swells shut at night. Ears have been swelling. Can hardly get my hearing aids into my ears. My mouth is so dry, if I do get to sleep, that wakes me up. I used Biotene for dry mouth then read it contains parabens which is cancer causing in make up. I really helps–is it cancer causing? Anyone know? I have been up all night. Got one hour sleep. Very tired. Need back surgery–it is hurting. The pain radiates to my foot at times. What a mess I am. I am blessed because I do get up each day and can get out of bed and get dressed and do some cleaning–can't visit anyone. I really miss seeing my grandchildren. Yesterday one of them had a birthday. He was going to have a party but of course that didn't happen.
Take care, stay safe, this, too, shall pass. God bless.

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@peachy43

Wow! Me too! I'm sooo glad I found this post. It looks exactly like what I hawk up. I hadn't thought to take a pic until now. Thank you for posting!

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I just found this site. These pictures look just like what I blow out of my nose. I can't breathe–blow with all my might and out comes this green and red booger. I took pictures of mine but have no idea of how to get them on here. They are gross. I have horrible breathing problems. Severely deviated septum–the doctor wants to operate but I am so old and I have had so many surgeries–I just pray I don't have to have more although I have many ailments. My list is long. I would like to ask a question. Does anyone have a severely dry mouth? I do. I purchased Biotene and used it then read it contains parabens. I wonder if it is safe.

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