Coughing up white phlegm may indicate bronchitis that is viral in nature, explains Cedars-Sinai. It can also be a sign of mycoplasmatic pneumonia, which shares characteristics of both viral and bacterial types of pneumonia, states University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. A third possibility is heart
Phlegm that is coughed up from the lungs signals the presence of an infection or disease of the lower respiratory system, says Everyday Health. A physician must evaluate the material to determine its cause and whether antibiotic or alternative treatment is needed.
Coughing up yellow phlegm can indicate that the body is fighting off a disease and has produced mucous as a response, according to WebMD. Yellow phlegm can indicate the presence of a bacterial infection or another condition.
A doctor should be seen when phlegm is yellow, green or bloody, according to WebMD. A doctor should also be seen when the cough does not go away.
Postnasal drip is the most common cause of chronic cough, according to WebMD. Postnasal drip occurs when the body produces more mucus than it needs and the excess mucus drains down the back of the throat. Common causes include allergies, sinus infection, pregnancy, deviated septum and changing weath
Heart disease is one possible cause of a chronic cough with white phlegm, according to Harvard Medical School. The symptoms also appear with chronic bronchitis, WebMD states. In addition, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, produces a persistent cough accompanied by white mucus, explains
Treatment options for a chronic cough with phlegm include medications such as antihistamines, decongestants and nasal glucocorticoids, according to UpToDate. Depending on the underlying causes of a chronic cough, physicians may also prescribe antibiotics, as MedicineNet explains.
Common causes of constant coughing and excess phlegm include postnasal drip, asthma and gastroesophageal reflux disease, according to Mayo Clinic. More serious causes include viral and bacterial infections, chronic bronchitis, and the side effects of blood pressure drugs.
Coughing up clear phlegm is commonly a sign of infection in the respiratory passageways, such as acute bronchitis, which tends to come on after a bad cold or flu, according to Phaa.com. The coughing up of clear phlegm may also be due to certain acute viral infections.
Difficulty breathing and coughing up phlegm are two symptoms of asthma, says the American Lung Association. However, those are also symptoms of bronchitis and pneumonia, notes Healthline. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is also characterized by problems with breathing and phlegm.