Bronchiectasis is a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is characterized by thickening and widening of your bronchi. Mucus builds up in your widened airways, allowing bacteria to grow. This leads to repeated lung infections. 

Bronchiectasis can arise from any lung injury. Some conditions leading to bronchiectasis include repeated lung infections, abnormal immune function, allergic reaction to fungus-like allergic aspergillosis, alpha 1–antitrypsin deficiency, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, autoimmune diseases, HIV, primary ciliary dysplasia, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s disease.

Bronchiectasis manifests in symptoms like constant coughing, foul-smelling sputum, and frequent respiratory infections. You may often feel breathlessness, chest pain, and wheezing.

Hemoptysis, or coughing up blood, can occur in some cases. It can affect your general well-being with symptoms like easy fatigue and weight loss. 

Early detection and treatment are important in controlling symptoms and improving your quality of life. Bronchiectasis cannot be cured completely, but your symptoms can be managed. The treatment for bronchiectasis involves clearing mucus and managing infections. Depending on the severity of bronchiectasis, doctors prescribe medication or advice therapy.

Homeopathic medicines chosen based on symptoms can provide long-term relief from bronchiectasis symptoms. Homeopathy can help prevent further progress bronchiectasis. However, the condition cannot be reversed.

Role of homeopathy in bronchiectasis

Homeopathic treatments work on the underlying problem of bronchiectasis and help you heal from within. These medicines help you manage your bronchiectasis symptoms like cough, chest pain, expectoration, breathlessness, and wheezing. It prevents further damage to your lungs. Homeopathy plays a supportive role in managing bronchiectasis along with conventional medications.

Top five homeopathic medicines for bronchiectasis

Antimonium tartaricum (Ant-t.)

Common name: Tartar emetic

Ant. tart. Helps manage bronchiectasis with excessive rattling cough that worsens on lying down.

It is prescribed for the accumulation of excess mucus in the bronchial tubes. There is white and frothy phlegm that is expectorated with great difficulty. Sometimes, the cough is yellow, thick, tough, and mixed with blood. Ant. tart. is helpful in expectoration that has a sour or salty taste. 

It works well in people with chest pain, fullness, suffocation, and constriction due to bronchiectasis. Cough is often relieved after expectoration, spitting, lying on the right side, burping, or sitting upright.

Pulsatilla nigricans (Puls.)

Common name: Windflower

Bronchiectasis with a feeling of weight in the chest indicates Pulsatilla. There is thick yellowish-green colored mucus. A sensation of choking and gagging responds well to this remedy. 

Pulsatilla is indicated for the cough that is dry or tight at night and becomes loose or lumpy in the morning. The cough worsens in the warm, stuffy room and is relieved in the open air. The patient complains of a cough that has a salty, slimy, sweet, or bitter taste. Pulsatilla is often helpful in bronchiectasis with fever in the evening towards night with low thirst.

Natrium muriaticum (Nat-m.)

Common name: Chloride of sodium

Nat. mur. is helpful for cases of bronchiectasis with white expectoration especially in the morning. The phlegm is coughed up with difficulty. There is wheezing and breathing difficulty with transparent mucus. 

Nat. mur. yields good results in bronchiectasis with a sensation of oppression in the chest or sore, bruised pain in the chest. There is a sensation of stitches in the chest upon deep inspiration. Nat. mur. helps in cases of expectoration having a salty taste.

Arsenic album (Ars. alb.)

Common name: Arsenious acid

Ars. alb. is a well-indicated medicine for bronchiectasis with marked wheezing in the chest and cough. There is a feeling of constriction in the chest with anxiety and restlessness. 

Bronchiectasis with a burning sensation in the chest can be relieved by Ars. alb. Cough and expectoration are frothy. Ars. alb. is suited for shortness of breath with bronchiectasis.

Cough and chest complaints worsen at night and upon lying down, compelling the person to sit up at night. Expectoration is often scanty, and white, with tenacious mucus or lumps. Ars. alb. helps in case of expectoration that has a bitter or salty taste. 

Hepar sulphuris calcareum 

Common name: Hahnemann’s calcium sulfide

Hepar sulph. offers help in cases of bronchiectasis with loose, deep, violent, rattling cough with wheezing. Rattling cough is relieved by copious expectoration of tenacious mucus. There is a feeling of tightness in the chest that leads to upper body pains. The chest complaints are relieved by wrapping up in warm clothes. Cough often worsens from cold drinks or in the cold air. Hepar sulph. helps in cases where phlegm has a foul smell and a sour/sweet taste.

Causes for bronchiectasis

The cause of bronchiectasis is airway damage. This occurs in two phases. The initial damage is caused by an inflammatory disorder, an infection, or other conditions affecting your lungs.

The first damage phase makes you more prone to inflammation and repeated infections. This, in turn, causes further damage to your lungs. This is the second phase of the vicious cycle. Some of the specific causes of the first damage that starts the cycle of bronchiectasis include:

Cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder impacting your airways and causing bronchiectasis.

Mycobacterial infections

Bacteria like Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infections or tuberculosis infections can affect your lungs, leading to bronchiectasis.

Autoimmune or inflammatory disorders

Autoimmune disorders are conditions where your immune system attacks your body tissues, and can lead to bronchiectasis. It includes rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus (SLE), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and Sjögren’s syndrome.

Organ transplant and transplant medications 

Immunosuppressive meds post-transplant decrease immunity and can increase the risk of infection, leading to bronchiectasis.

Obstruction 

Foreign bodies, tumors, or lymph nodes can block your airways and prevent mucus clearance. Blockage of your airways can cause bronchiectasis.

Conditions that decrease immunity 

Conditions lowering your immune response, like HIV and hypogammaglobulinemia, can increase the risk of infections.

Primary ciliary dyskinesia

This is a genetic disorder that affects the cilia movement.

Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA)

ABPA is a type of fungal allergy affecting your airways and can cause bronchiectasis.

Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency 

This is a genetic condition affecting lung protection. 

Symptoms of bronchiectasis

Bronchiectasis symptoms vary in intensity. Sometimes, you may feel your symptoms aren’t as bad. Then, suddenly, there is a flare-up where your symptoms can worsen. Some common symptoms of bronchiectasis include:

  • Persistent cough producing thick mucus
  • Repeated episodes of cold infection
  • Bad smelling mucus 
  • High-pitched sound while breathing due to narrowed airways (wheezing)
  • Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)
  • Swollen fingertips and curved nails (clubbing nails) indicate oxygen deprivation

Exacerbated bronchiectasis symptoms include:

  • Extreme tiredness 
  • Fever with chills
  • Night sweats
  • Breathing difficulty or feeling shortness of breath

Treatment for bronchiectasis

Bronchiectasis cannot be cured but managed. Often, the treatment for bronchiectasis depends on the severity and its underlying cause. Treating the underlying cause of bronchiectasis can help relieve your symptoms. Surgery is a rare option in the case of bronchiectasis.

Doctors advise surgery in bronchiectasis when only some part of your lung is involved. Some treatments that help kill bacteria, get rid of infection, and decrease inflammation include:

Antibiotics

Antibiotics treat infections caused by bacteria. They are available in pill form, as inhalers and intravenous medications. 

Macrolides

Macrolides are medications that treat infections and inflammation at the same time.

Expectorant and mucolytics

Expectorants and mucolytics are medications that are available over-the-counter. These treat bronchiectasis by thinning mucus and helping you cough it out. 

Physical therapy

Physical therapies like chest percussion therapy and postural drainage can help you loosen and remove mucus. 

Medical devices

Certain medical devices like oscillating positive expiratory pressure (PEP) devices and percussive vests are used in bronchiectasis. Oscillating positive expiratory pressure (PEP) devices help pull mucus from your lungs.

Diet and lifestyle modifications for bronchiectasis

What you eat doesn’t directly impact bronchiectasis. However, it is important to maintain good nutrition. Other factors to consider include:

  • Drink sufficient water to keep yourself hydrated. This keeps the mucus loose so you can easily clear it from your lungs.
  • To keep your lungs healthy, follow a regular exercise routine. Breathing exercises benefit you by enhancing your lung capacity and clearing mucus from the airways. These exercises increase oxygenation and reduce symptoms like shortness of breath. It can improve overall lung function.
  • Quit smoking. It can damage your lungs and put you at higher risk of developing bronchiectasis. 
  • Get vaccines like yearly flu shots and the pneumonia vaccine, as per your doctor’s suggestion.
  • Practice good hygiene. Regularly wash your hands and follow other steps to avoid getting infections.

Conclusion 

Bronchiectasis is a serious medical condition that can affect your quality of life. It can occur due to different factors. 

Homeopathy, with its gentle and holistic approach, can be an effective mode of treatment for bronchiectasis. Consult a qualified homeopath for individualized homeopathic treatment for your respiratory health issues.

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