Patient Comments: Pneumothorax - Symptoms

What were the symptoms of your pneumothorax?

Comment from: DaeWonder, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 06

I experienced my first pneumothorax about 13 years ago. For three years I experienced a pneumothorax almost monthly – always on the right side. I was diagnosed with catamenial pneumothorax, meaning my lung collapses are the result of endometrial tissue on my lung. I had pleurodesis surgery 10 years ago to "stick" my lung to my chest wall through an abrasion technique. Since the surgery, I've had smaller lung collapses in the 10-15% range. This month I had another pneumothorax of 40%, requiring a chest tube and hospital stay.

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Comment from: dgweh, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: April 08

I've had two pneumothorax episodes in my earlier life. My right lung collapsed when I was 14; my left lung collapsed six years later. The symptoms were the same for both – extreme lower back pain and difficulty breathing. Instead of having a chest tube and worrying about whether my lungs would collapse again, I chose to have surgery both times to fix it for good. It's been 30 years since the last surgery, and I have had no problems at all (knock on wood).

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Comment from: champ, Female (Patient) Published: March 01

When I was 5 months pregnant I had my first pneumothorax. Coughing and pains in back were so severe I went to emergency. They inserted a chest tube, but 2 days later was told I required surgery to correct the pneumothorax. I was told 50% chance of losing the baby during surgery. I refused surgery due to chance of baby surviving, but 3days later had no choice. I woke up 4 days later still pregnant with 80-100 stitches and very painful. Stayed in hospital for nearly a month, and then had to be careful for remainder of pregnancy. Delivered a 7lb 4oz baby girl 4 months later. 2 years nearly to the date, I had my 2nd pneumothorax, this time breathing was difficult. Surgery again and 100 staples inside and out, was a very painful surgery and recovery process. Pains in chest or back, breathing and/or coughing go seek medical attention immediately, because depending on the pneumothorax it could mean life or death.

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Comment from: Lucky, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 15

I had my first of nine pneumothoracies when I was 24. I had a pain in my left shoulder and ignored it till the coughing started, still left it for another 6 week, finally collapsed and went to the doctor, after x-rays confirmed 35% collapse had chest tube inserted - very painful. 4 months later I had a 15% of the left again and 3 days later a 45% collapse on the right and ended up having a bilateral pleurodesis, OMG what pain!! Had 6 more collapses after that, endless ops but haven't had one for 15 years now - touch wood. If you haven't had a collapse or had the surgery you cannot understand the pain.

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Comment from: cfeldman23, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 20

I was 27 years old when my lung collapsed. I was cleaning my kitchen floor, and when I stood up I could not catch my breath at all. I had sharp pains in my right side. It felt as if someone kicked me in the side, and I had the wind knocked out of me. I tried to take slow breaths and thought it might go away in a little bit. I even tried to sleep that night but around 4 a.m. I woke up in extreme pain and I couldn't even stand up straight. I went to the hospital and they took an X-ray and told me I had a collapsed lung. I was admitted to the hospital for six days with a tube stuck in my chest and hooked up to the wall. I could not get out of bed for anything. It was the most painful thing I have ever endured!

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Comment from: Earl, 13-18 Male (Patient) Published: April 13

I'm 18 and I experienced spontaneous pneumothorax a few months ago; at that time, I was 17. I was just walking along a building in school when I felt slight pains in my upper right chest, just above the nipple area. After a few more meters of walking, the pain worsened and it started to spread to the right side of my upper back. I also had difficulty breathing just a few minutes after I experienced the first slight pains. By the time I got to the school clinic just 5 minutes after I felt it, I turned pale and I had difficulty explaining to the nurses what I felt because it was very hard to speak. I rested in bed for about an hour, and the pain subsided. I still felt pain whenever I moved any part of my torso and when I tried to breathe deeply though. Went to the ER and saw that my lung was 60% collapsed. Got the tube inserted in the ER only with local anesthesia. The pain was excruciating. Stayed in the hospital for a week until the tube was pulled out. I used to be in the soccer team and I did a lot of swimming before the pneumothorax occurred.

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Pneumothorax - Describe Your Experience Question: Please describe your experience with pneumothorax.
Pneumothorax - Treatment Question: Were you hospitalized for your pneumothorax? What types of treatment did you receive, including medication?

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