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The Evolving Cough of Cystic Fibrosis

You know that time after a cough when you put your heads in your hands with a pounding headache?

Or when you nearly choked yourself into puking?

Or the huff cough that is a nearly never-ending cycle that brings family members around from other parts of the house to be sure you’re okay?

Welcome to the wonderful evolving cough of CF. It seems like every 6-9 months, I go through a period of uncomfortable coughs that are so vastly different than normal, they physically tax my system.

Types of cough

One time it will be a brain hemorrhaging headache that requires an immediate Vicodin and periodic Tramadol when I can be sure I’m taking one 2 hours before a coughing spell. I still have a headache from some earlier in the day. Wouldn’t you think someone would remove the meat cleaver from my forehead by now? Sheesh!

The next evolution will be so strong, my ribs hurt from using normally forgotten muscles.

Then I’ll go through gagging coughs in the shower, every shower.

Then it stops as quickly as it started

All of a sudden, I’m back to a normal cough, as if nothing changed. I can’t wait for my current evolution to evolve again, but until then, at least they make little white pills for that.

Hello, is this mic on? Anyone else have coughs that evolve?


  1. Sooo living this with my daughter right now. She has a lot of reasons to cough: CF for starters, then throw in mycobacterium avium complex, ABPA, and a very strong asthma componant. The cough is actually like some sort of evil force that can’t be beaten. She’s tough and spunky but sometimes ‘The Cough’ is tougher.

    • Yes, it usually is the “asthma in me” that takes possession of my coughing fits and shows itself as varying coughs – wheezy, tight, huff, etc. It’s the changes in my “normal” cough that drive me nuts.

  2. My daughter has an “asthmatic component” to her CF, as her doctor told us. I’m not a big fan, especially when she coughs through the night or wakes us up asking to have another breathing treatment. Those nights suck. Otherwise, she is actually very healthy, and we are grateful.