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HomeAnswersPulmonology (Asthma Doctors)chronic coughWill coughing up phlem due to smoking for long period be chronic bronchitis?

I am a smoker and have been coughing for longer period. Will it be chronic bronchitis?


The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At October 26, 2019
Reviewed AtJuly 7, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I am 23 years female. For about three years or so, I have been coughing up phlegm consistently. It has almost become a routine. When I consulted an (ear nose and throat) ENT doctor, they did not see anything wrong and just said that my nostrils look little swollen, so he prescribed me Flonase. I am still coughing and spitting. The color of the phlegm is generally white, but sometimes it is slightly yellow. I need to know, should I consult a pulmonologist? I fear that I may have chronic bronchitis since I have been smoking from the age of 15.


Welcome to icliniq.com. You said that you smoke since, from the age of 15, so the diagnosis goes more in favor of chronic bronchitis. The symptoms are also typical of chronic bronchitis. But you have not mentioned any associated allergic symptoms like running nose or frequent sneezing as it suggests bronchial asthma. The best test to differentiate between both is to do a spirometry test, also called PFT (pulmonary function test). It will give a definitive final diagnosis. Regarding treatment, if it is bronchitis, the first and most important thing is to quit smoking. If it is asthma, then you need to take a controller inhaler regularly. Also, you should get done with your chest x-ray. I hope after reading this, you will take the initiative for quitting smoking and quit it ultimately. I hope this helps. The probable cause is smoking. The investigations to be done are chest x-ray PA (posteroanterior) view. Spirometry PFT (pulmonary function test). The differential diagnosis may be COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Treatment plan include stop smoking and start with inhalers.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Amol Kumar Wasudeorao Diwan
Dr. Amol Kumar Wasudeorao Diwan

Allergy Specialist

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