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Why is exhaling more difficult than inhaling?

I find exhaling harder than inhaling. When I exhale its like I’ve hit a brick wall and I make awful tight wheezy whistle sound then have coughing fit. Why? I have COPD stage 2 and asthma too.


Community Answers
  • Barbara Moore moderator
    6 months ago

    Hi AmyD, You have been given great advice here. Pursed Lip breathing and abdominal breathing techniques along with Resp Rehab will be your biggest asset. Stick around we have lots of information for you here.
    Barbara Moore (Site Moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    6 months ago

    Hi AmyD and thanks for your post. You may be aware that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma are both considered to be diseases of ‘obstruction’. What that means is it is difficult for patients to exhale as the lungs may have lost a certain degree of elasticity (COPD), or are narrowing during exhalation because of wheezing (asthma). As Allyson has mentioned (above), you may find it helpful to use breathing strategies to help you to manage your breathing more efficiently. I thought you might also find it helpful to look over this article as well: https://copd.net/living-with-copd/pulmonary-rehab/breathing-strategies/. Wishing you well, Leon (site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    6 months ago

    Hi again, Amy. I was thinking about your concerns when it comes to exhaling with COPD and asthma. I thought you might find this article provides you with some additional insight which I hope you find helpful to read: https://copd.net/symptoms/wheezing/. Warm regards, Leon (site moderator)

  • Allyson.Ellis moderator
    6 months ago

    Hi AmyD and thank you for reaching out! You are not alone feeling the challenge of exhaling with COPD. Exhaling can often be more painful due to “air trapping” – the inability of the lungs to expel enough old air and having stale air remain trapped in the lungs. Many find learning the practice of pursed-lip breathing to be helpful in alleviating this trapped air and the accompanying pain. I thought you might find this article to be of interest:
    https://copd.net/guest-expert/pursed-lips-are-not-just-for-kissing/
    I hope this is helpful for you! Please keep us updated on how you are feeling. Know we are always here to listen and assist. ~Allyson (COPD.net team)

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