itchy cough & trachea


I've only really noticed this getting bad in the past year. I get this swelling sensation like an itch in what feels like my mid trachea & behind my throat. It's irritating and makes me need to cough, sometimes a lot, some loose mucus comes out and sometimes it feels better for a few seconds or a minute then this repeats. It's exceptionally irritating when it wakes me up and every time I lay back down the itch returns and I cough a bunch, this repeats. Often I have to move to sleep on my recliner and it subsides a little better. I've been getting it during the day sometimes too and I can't get very far without a little coughing fit.

Anyone else experience this and hopefully find a remedy? I'm 36 and have had moderate lung disease all my life, so it's odd when new lung symptoms prop up.


New member
I know that people get this itchy feeling when inflammation flares up. If sitting up helps, it might indicate that it's a matter of change in blood pressure/blood distribution, which further indicates that it might be an inflammation issue. Could that be your case?


Super Moderator
I wonder if the sensation is coming from the pharynx? Post nasal drainage from allergy or infection will be super thick and probably irritating if not toxic. I get globs on my vocal chords and it is exasperating. It is a strong chance this is coming down from your head in either case. Maybe more aggressive sinus rinsing an hour before bed will reduce phlegm enough to sleep.

If you are not successful after you've mucked and dried your sinuses and nasal mucosa, it may be coming from your lungs. Nebulizing in time to cough your lungs clear before bed might help. Since this stuff is often multiple source, you do both I guess. It is a frustrating problem, wish I had a better suggestion.



Thanks for the replies. So I typically do all treatments (HTS, vest, pulmo, tobi) not long before bed. Also do sinus rinses at least once per day, lately at night as well. It occurred last night again, it felt like it was in my left upper lobe mostly, so I don't think it's sinus related. Who knows. I'll try to stay dilligent with the pre-sleep sinus rinses anyway.
I had 2 sinus surgeries over several years ago, the sinus mucus is very thick when it actually comes out. So yeah like most I have chronic sinus infection.


Staff member
A few years ago ds had a dry, throat clearing kinda cough. I thought it was more of a nervous habit until his cultures came back with Steno Maltophilia. Was put on septra and it went away. So if you haven't done so, you may want to get a culture. Otherwise, this time of year -- allergies, post nasal drip, drier weather....


New member
Just be aware when you do your sinus rinses it is best to do them at least two hours before bed otherwise it may drip into your throat/lungs while you sleep and cause you to cough while you sleep. And I would definitely try doing rinses twice a day. I find doing a rinse first thing In the morning is the most effective.


Wow I can't believe it's been over 3 years since I wrote this. I recently had a streak of at least a few months without this symptom. Sleep is glorious! Rather the lack of is horrible.
Anyway it started up again a couple weeks ago after a late night with some drinks and sporadically since. I Don't do sinus rinses close to bed anymore b/c of what Keefer said, I think it might loosen things up enough to fall into the lungs.
I don't have this symptom all day, then some nights after laying down for minutes to an hour, the itching cough starts. I sit up, and move to all upright positions. I huff and cough hard to get any plugs out till I'm sweating and tearing up. It only goes away for a minute or so. I've been up at least 90 minutes now, have a stressful workday in the morning, and have already been tired this week. I'm coming down off a prednisone burst, which should be addressing potential inflammation but has also likely been making sleep tougher.

I'm doing an extra HTS treatment as I write this, did some extra Xopenex to open the airways. I'm out of ideas.
Maybe I need an anesthesiologist to knock me out despite the irritation..