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The Doctors Lounge - Primary Care Answers

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Forum Name: Ear Nose and Throat

Question: Coughing up weird things

scottnshelly - Tue Aug 30, 2005 12:49 am

I have a weird question. Over the past couple years Iíve occasionally coughed up these little things. I donít know what they are; they remind me of crushed peanuts. They are the same shape, color and size, but they are not the same texture. When you squeeze them, they smear instead of crumble. I usually get one or two a week, mostly in the mornings. This has never really bothered me as itís happened for so long and it doesnít seem to hurt me.
Also, occasionally I have really bad breath. I mean bad enough to make riding in a car with me a horrible experience. I can never explain it though, because I have good dental hygiene and everything.
This morning, right after I finished brushing my teeth, I coughed up one of those little things Ė this one was a little larger than normal. I hadnít eaten anything smelly and just brushed, so I had good breath. I noticed when I was examining the little thing I just coughed up that I smelled that infamous bad breath smell. Now I think the occasion bad breath and the little things might be related.
Any ideas what this could be?
Theresa Jones, RN - Tue Aug 30, 2005 10:04 am

Hi scottnshelly,
Chronic lung infections as well as sinusitis may cause odorous sputum production. If dental hygiene is not an issue, I would suggest an evaluation by your physician to identify the causative factor.
MissRed - Tue Jan 31, 2006 9:29 am

I know this post is really old but as he was discribing his issue I knew EXACTLY what he was talking about. I have had this same problem for 10 or so years. Through out the years I have figured out more about what is going on. The "crushed peanut" like stuff is pus from the tonsil(s) this pus smells VERY fowl, and when the pus builds up [in] my tonsil or both sometimes my breath is terrible. My throat feels smaller, I have a hard time swallowing. This started when I was young, I used to call the pus "brains" because that is what they usually look like. I bought a water pick a few years ago after making my tonsils blead from trying to dig the pus out with a folded out bobbipin, I thought if I stuck the water pick in the hole where the pus comes out it would be easier that digging. It has now gotten to the point where I think the holes have grown becasue I can now get alot of it out by pushing around the tonsil with my finger. I am so sick of this, will an ENT doctor remove my tonsils if ask and tell him what I just posted??
Theresa Jones, RN - Wed Feb 01, 2006 12:51 pm

Hi MissRed,
I would strongly advise you to have an evaluation by an ENT specialist. Please do not continue to pick or dig as this will cause additional complications. If a referral is required to see this specialist contact your physicians office and request that this be provided.
Theresa Jones, RN
Lizzer - Fri Feb 03, 2006 9:06 pm

I have a similar problem as the previous posts about the wierd things being coughed up. I am a healthy 21 year old female and off and on for the past 10 or 11 years I Cough up these small yellowish things that look like curdles of cottage cheese and they smell foul. They are joined by a smell that only I can smell. I can only describe it as smelling like rotten cabbage. No one else can smell it but me. The smell makes me gag most of the time and I lose my appetite. It doesn't occur costantly, but it is rather annoying when it does. Does this sound like a serious issue or is there nothing I can do about it? Thank you so much for your time.

casta - Wed Apr 18, 2007 1:46 pm

I think you'll find these things are called Tonsiloliths or Tonsil stones, visit a good ENT specialist.

More info on wikipedia and numerous forums can be found on the net.
lonely-loner - Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:05 am

My big brother also had a similar problem after he started smoking.
I often see peanut colored slimy stuff in the sink whenever he not washing it. It smelt bad and very disturbance. I wonder if this is related to smoking because it happens to alot of smokers I seen. It could be throat infection. (hopefuly my information helps)

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