PREVIOUS QUESTION:

 

NEXT QUESTION:

 

What causes brown phlegm?

ANSWER

Phlegm, also called mucus, is the slimy stuff that you cough or sneeze out. Brown phlegm isn't very common. Different conditions may cause it, including:

  • COPD
  • Acute bronchitis
  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Lung abscess
  • Fungus allergy
  • Quitting smoking

SOURCES:

Harvard University: “All About That Mucus: How It Keeps Us Healthy.”

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center: “What Does the Color of Phlegm Mean?”

Western Australia Department of Health: “Facts About Giving Up Smoking.”

Mayo Clinic: “COPD.”

Breathe: The Lung Association (Canada): “Recognize the Early Warning Signs of a Flare-up.”

American Lung Association: “Treating COPD,” “The Basics of Pulmonary Rehabilitation.”

Harvard Medical School: “Acute Bronchitis.”

Medscape: “Bacterial Pneumonia.”

National Health Service (UK): “Pneumonia.”

John Muir Health: “Chronic Lung Disease.”

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation: “About Cystic Fibrosis.”

Breathe: “Bronchiectasis.”

Mount Nittany Health: “Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis.”

MedlinePlus: “Abscess.”

Merck Manuals: “Abscess in the Lungs.”

BMJ Case Reports : “Unusual case of a lung abscess.”

Mayo Clinic: “Quit Smoking FAQ.”

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on April 18, 2020

SOURCES:

Harvard University: “All About That Mucus: How It Keeps Us Healthy.”

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center: “What Does the Color of Phlegm Mean?”

Western Australia Department of Health: “Facts About Giving Up Smoking.”

Mayo Clinic: “COPD.”

Breathe: The Lung Association (Canada): “Recognize the Early Warning Signs of a Flare-up.”

American Lung Association: “Treating COPD,” “The Basics of Pulmonary Rehabilitation.”

Harvard Medical School: “Acute Bronchitis.”

Medscape: “Bacterial Pneumonia.”

National Health Service (UK): “Pneumonia.”

John Muir Health: “Chronic Lung Disease.”

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation: “About Cystic Fibrosis.”

Breathe: “Bronchiectasis.”

Mount Nittany Health: “Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis.”

MedlinePlus: “Abscess.”

Merck Manuals: “Abscess in the Lungs.”

BMJ Case Reports : “Unusual case of a lung abscess.”

Mayo Clinic: “Quit Smoking FAQ.”

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on April 18, 2020

NEXT QUESTION:

What is a productive cough?

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

"ALEXA, ASK WEBMD"

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.