Post Oesophagectomy Cough

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A question to all of you Post Op people? 
Did any of you experience a persistent dry cough after your surgery? If so how long did it last for? And did you do or take anything that helped you? 
I am 5 weeks post op and this cough that I have had from only a few days after just isn’t going away or letting up. It’s driving me crazy! 


  • Hi I looked this up on another site .

    ”After an oesophagectomy some people develop a dry cough which can be persistent and cause you to feel sick and regurgitate. Try to keep your throat moist, suck a sweet or try codeine linctus syrup which will suppress it. Also try not to talk too much as this can exacerbate it.”

    Thirteen months post surgery my husband still experiences dry coughs intermittently but not persistently. …

    Anything that is concerning you can be discussed with your specialist nurse ..My husband’s SN has been a great source of help and advice if we’ve had any issues 

    regards J 

  • Hi Gareth. Yes! I had my oesophagectomy on 13 October last year, and am currently on round 3 of post-op FLOT. It's only just started going away, with much relief, I can tell you. I spoke with my surgeon during check-ups and he said the cough was a sign of healing and would eventually go, so I did relax a little with that advice. I didn't take anything for it though, and just hoped he was right. Four months of coughing wasn't very nice, and you have my sympathies. Some days were a lot worse than others, but I did find sips of squash helped during a coughing fit. All normal, so try not to worry.

  • Thank you for the reply Nicky. Very reassuring, as it’s driving me crazy. I can barely hold a conversation without uncontrollably coughing and spluttering. 
    So you are 3/4 through your post op chemo. Are you still finding it less difficult than before? I am seeing the oncologist on Thursday about starting mine again. Just want it done now. 
    How’s your eating going? 


  • Hi Gareth. Yes, I'm three-quarters through post-op chemo. I was dreading it as everyone has said it's harder than the first lot, but in actual fact I've found it easier going this time. The side effects haven't been nearly as bad, although the nausea most definitely has. That is helped with meds though, so all in all it's been fairly bearable.

    My coughing was like yours, couldn't talk without spluttering, and I am at 4 months now, but it's almost gone. Still get the odd tickle, but nothing like before. Hang in there, hopefully it'll ease soon for you. I haven't had any damage from coughing, which I was worried about, just those ribs hurting, eh?! Not what you need!

    My eating is going really well. I even have an appetite (when the chemo nausea let's me), which I'm pleased with as I was told I'd lose appetite and would have to treat food differently. I haven't, everything is as it was before, I still love my food and can eat everything again, even curries, albeit smaller portions. Things are definitely on the up and getting better now, and I'm sure you'll feel the same soon. My surgeon 'told me off' lol, said I 'need to be patient'... and he was right :-) I've definitely turned a corner now. Still a little rib pain and tightness, but even that is getting better now 

  • Hi Gareth

    I've not posted on here for a while but occasionally drop in to see if I can help. I'm 6 years post op this year. The post-op cough is a thing am afraid but it does get better. Look to 8-12 weeks for a lot of things to really calm down especially the coughing, dumping, nerve pain and continue to improve.  I used to cough so much post op my family called it my cough-a-thon.  These days I occasionally get the tickle in my throat when am eating chunkier food and if the air is very dry but it is so so so much better. 

    Diagnosed OC in Jan 2018, keyhole surgery May 2018
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