Medical Q&As

Coughing up blood - will not see GP?

My husband has given up smoking since January and has smoked for the past 18 years. He has recently coughed up blood and has a lot of stains on his pillow. He is also feeling constantly tired and is refusing to go and see a doctor. Can you advise what may be wrong or what he should do?

I suspect that your husband is frightened because coughing up blood can be very alarming. The fact that his pillowcase is stained suggests that the problem is a recurring one. There is no way of resolving the uncertainty of what is happening to him without medical assessment. It may be that the blood is coming from the back of his nose and he is simply coughing back material that has dripped down his throat during his sleep. Alternatively he may have burst a tiny blood vessel in his throat as a result of a severe bout of coughing. Both of these situations are not serious and can be dealt with by your GP. I understand your husbandís fear but he is undoubtedly putting himself through more fear and worry by deferring a visit to his doctor. Doctors do understand how frightened people can be with such symptoms. Your husband needs to be medically assessed.