Everyone knows that smoking is an unhealthy habit, but taking a decision to quit smoking is certainly not an easy one for habitual smokers. The first step involves mustering up the strength or will power to make the decision to quit smoking. One needs to understand that risks of smoking outweigh the satisfaction or pleasure associated with smoking. Those who quit smoking would certainly be doing themselves a great favor. This is your chance to prevent the accumulation of harmful toxins and thus, lower the risks of serious health problems. One, however, must be ready to experience smoking withdrawal symptoms for some time. Most people complain about coughing up black mucus after quitting smoking. Wondering what does this signify? Scroll down to find out why one may be coughing up mucus after quitting smoking.
Is it Normal to Cough Up Black Mucus After One Quits Smoking?
After one quits smoking, one must be mentally prepared for dealing with the withdrawal symptoms that are experienced in the first few weeks. One needs to be prepared for the struggle that follows, after you make the decision to follow the right lifestyle choice. Nicotine is highly addictive in nature which is why one would have to fight or resist the temptation. When one quits smoking, the withdrawal symptoms start making an appearance. Tingling sensation, headaches, anxiety, cravings and nausea are some of the symptoms that one may experience after one quits smoking. Smoking attacks the body's defense against disease causing pathogens or environmental pollutants. The mucus membranes produce mucus when exposed to nicotine or tar. This is the reason why habitual smokers often have to cough up and spit mucus.
Cilia, which are the tiny hair-like projections in the upper respiratory passages, sweep the mucus or trapped particles and prevent them from entering the lungs. Since smoking damages these hairlike projections, the airways and the lungs may get inflamed and toxins get trapped along with mucus. Once a person quits smoking, the body attempts to get rid of the harmful chemicals that may have accumulated overtime. The toxins that have been accumulated are expelled in the form of black mucus. The duration for which one may cough up mucus would vary depending on one's smoking habits. The cilia usually start growing back within two to three months, but it may take about eight to nine months for the lungs to regain their function. Habitual smokers with poor lung function may however, take longer to recover.
Remedies for Expelling Mucus
As mentioned earlier, spitting out mucus is actually a good sign. Once the body is able to handle mucus, the risk of lung infections is greatly diminished. Your body is adjusting to the new lifestyle and the body's defenses, which were curbed due to smoking, are now being strengthened. Spitting up mucus shouldn't worry you, but it can surely be annoying. One must therefore, try certain remedies to expel the tar-stained mucus. First of all, there is a need to drink plenty of fluids. This will not only help in loosening up the mucus, but also help in soothing the irritated throat. Practicing deep breathing exercises may also prove beneficial. One must also refrain from consuming foods that may cause excessive production of mucus. Inhaling steam or drinking herbal tea may also help in loosening up mucus.
In case of habitual smokers, with considerable lung damage, the wise thing to do would be to enroll in a lung detoxification program. As the accumulated toxins are being removed or coughed out, the color of mucus would start changing. Once the remnants of tar have been removed, the mucus you may cough or spit out would be bereft of black or brown specks. If, however, violent coughing persists or you see blood in mucus after quitting smoking, the wise thing to do would be to consult a doctor at the earliest. Sputum analysis, blood tests, chest X-ray and other imaging procedures would help the doctors assess the extent of damage caused due to smoking. Doctors may also provide you with some tips on tackling the smoking withdrawal symptoms.
Those who have recently quit smoking often feel apprehensive at the sight of brown or black mucus, it is normal for one to be coughing up mucus. It is just a mechanism employed by one's body to expel tar and other toxins. So, put your worries away. You just need to stay firm on your decision to refrain from smoking. If you do experience other bothersome symptoms, consult a doctor at the earliest.