The mucus can have different causes. Generally, there is no need to worry: to a certain extent, the secretion of mucus is normal when it is very small, it is even essential to clean the bronchi.
But when the sputum is abundant, last more than a week or the mucus changes color, it is better to consult a doctor, as this may indicate a disease of the respiratory tract, for example:
- Acute infections of the respiratory tract (bronchitis or colds);
- Chronic lung diseases (bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, bronchial dilatation);
- Cystic fibrosis;
- Allergies ;
- Respiratory tract infections by fungi (such as aspergillosis) or other pathogens (such as tuberculosis);
- Tumors of the respiratory tract.
Depending on the cause, the mucus may have different textures and colors.
In the case of chronic bronchitis for example, the mucous is translucent to white, viscous and rather thick. Coughing sputum occurs especially in the morning. The mucus may look comparable in bronchial asthma or cystic fibrosis.
In the case of bacterial infection, sputum often changes color and appearance: yellow to green, purulent and viscous mucus can be quite typical of bacterial infections of the respiratory tract. Pneumonia can then be at the origin.
Heavy smokers may have brown to black mucus. In the case of pulmonary disease (such as tuberculosis), mucus is often observed which is resistant and friable.
The expectoration of fairly important mucus in the morning is typical of bronchiectasis.
If the mucus contains blood or when pure blood is expectorated, it is called hemoptysis (spitting of blood). Bloody sputum can be a sign of a serious infection (pneumonia), but also of a malignant tumor.
In order to establish a diagnosis, and to determine the origin of these mucus, the doctor needs some information, for example: when did sputum occur for the first time? Is there a medical history? Fever, or other associated symptoms? Do you smoke, and if so, how much?
Laboratory analysis of mucus may be necessary. Other examinations may be prescribed to clarify or confirm a diagnosis. Like a chest x-ray, CT scan, or bronchoscopy (visualization of the inside of the bronchi), possibly accompanied by bronchoalveolar lavage.
In video: exercises for a good breathing
In this video, discover with our coach some breathing exercises. These exercises, all simple, will allow you to relax and enjoy your lung function.You want to react, to give your testimony or to ask a question? Appointment in our FORUMS Respiratory diseases or A doctor answers you!