Phlegm chest after cycling

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Phlegm chest after cycling

Postby Crawf » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:02 am

Seem to have an issue of late where around 20mins after cycling I have phlegm buildup in my chest which causes a little sissy cough, it does not seem to matter whether the cycling intensity is moderate or intense it always come 20mins after, and is gone within 2hours. It can happen on chilled mornings or warm afternoons. The buildup is not green, so infection does not seem likely.
I haven't had a serious cold/flu in a long time, and am not prone to getting ill much at all.
My performance on the bike seem fine and stable, I have no breathing difficulties when on the move, it's all - off and after.

My hunch is it's something seasonal, dry air possibly causing my lungs to self-protect creating a buildup? Thoughts?
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by BNA » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:46 am


Re: Phlegm chest after cycling

Postby cowled » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:46 am

Crawf, I had the same problem off and on for years. Finally decided to see my doctor (sports specialist) and he said I had mild asthma. Been using a steroid based puffer since. Has certainly helped in my opinion.

Would recommend you see a doctor who knows sports medicine.

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Re: Phlegm chest after cycling

Postby Crawf » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:56 am

Hmm I hope its not the A word :( There is no history of it in my family... if that matters or not.
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Re: Phlegm chest after cycling

Postby CXCommuter » Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:35 am

+1 for the big A. I tend to get it for a couple of weeks after a cold during exercise then slowly clears up. Asthma is a wide ranging condition from very mild (like us) to the full on blue face no air getting in. See a doctor and maybe get a puffer to try.

BTW mine has appeared after 2 bouts of Pneumonia.
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Re: Phlegm chest after cycling

Postby find_bruce » Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:30 pm

There is some controversy about coughing due to lung irritation & whether it is asthma, or merely that it responds to some of the same medications. Reduced peak flow on expiration is one indicator, but as a cyclist you probably have better than average lung function anyway.

I had it as a child, stopped around 13. Seems to have re-occurred a few years ago. For me it is a specific trigger - every couple of years I will get a heavy cold that creates a bit of phlegm in my chest, which then develops into a cough which if I let it continue, will irritate my lungs. Ventolin, the classic response drug for asthma, does nothing for me. Prednisone & Seretide however both work to get me back to normal. I will stay normal for a year or 3 until I next get a cold of that nature. Sounds like mine is similar to CXCommuter.

Doesn't sound like this is the case for you though - no cold, nor are you describing wheezing or shortness of breath. Two common triggers for the sort of irritation you are describing are rigorous exercise and inhalation of cold or dry air. It was reported that 25% of Team GB at the London Olympics had asthma.

The weird bit is not that it is triggered, but that it goes away after 2 hours. It does sound like it is time to visit a respiratory physician, especially someone who deals with sports medicine.

On the plus side, if you are taking asthma drugs, it will put you up there with plenty of cyclists, Petacchi & Pereiro spring to mind. One official use of clenbuterol is as a bronchodilator, so maybe you will be able to ride like Contador pre 2010 :mrgreen:
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Re: Phlegm chest after cycling

Postby Baalzamon » Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:43 am

I got suspicious after exercising and coughing up a bit of gunk. Went and saw doc, now have a puffer.
Now I've just got to remember to take it with me when riding!
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Re: Phlegm chest after cycling

Postby Crawf » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:10 pm

As of this morning I have a puffer (Steroids! 8-O), also had a Bronchial Tree test which came up all clear and will get a chest x-ray just to be sure.
Of course on the day I went to see the doc, my symptoms all but disappeared! I think I had him stumped pretty good.
I have a suspicion that this is somewhat seasonal/pollen based and triggered by commuting in heavy polluted traffic, i'm going to do some logging and see if there is a pattern.
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Re: Phlegm chest after cycling

Postby Crawf » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:53 am

Just an update, pretty much over this, warmer weather over the last two weeks has coincided with the issue all but clearing up.
Used the puffer on a few occasions, but no longer. I didn't realise at the time but my max HR had also dropped around 10 beats, I had a rev limiter of sorts.
Chest is now feeling ''open'', peak HR is back into normal zones and the body is starting to respond better to training.
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Re: Phlegm chest after cycling

Postby BastardSheep » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:18 am

I get the exact same thing, with the warmer weather I've cleared up too. I kinda miss it because I loved the feeling in the lungs just after you cough something up. Does that make me weird?
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