Once in a while, a little mucus in throat usually doesn’t ruin your day. If you have a chronic problem you may be wondering what the problem is. You may have been told everything from allergies to reflux. While many people suffer from mucus buildup in throat from allergies, sometimes not even antihistamines clear up the problem.
Your upper respiratory system is very close to the opening to your digestive system. Mucus in the throat can either come up from your stomach, or down from your nose and sinuses. Even your throat tissues secret mucus to keep it moist. But what about persistently excessive mucus? This article will take an in-depth look at this condition and a few helpful tips to help you deal with it.
Mucus Buildup in Throat Overview
If you have a lot of Phlegm in your throat on a constant basis, this is known as mucus buildup and can make you miserable. It may clog your breathing passages and feel like it is there all the time. It is interesting to know that your body makes between 1 and 2 liters of mucus every single day. Picture a two-liter bottle of soda, that is a lot!
Mucus is very important to our mucus membranes for breathing and digestion. It helps keep us clear of harmful germs, foreign bodies that shouldn’t be in our airways, and keeps the air we breathe moist. It is always there; just some people have more than others.
Causes of Excessive Mucus in Throat
Too much mucus buildup in throat is most often due to excessive post nasal drip. This can be caused by allergies, flu, and the common cold. Other causes include:
- Strep throat
- Air pollution
- Chemical Inhalants
The phlegm that accompanies an infection can hang around long-term. It usually clears up within 4 to 6 weeks, but for some people the problem can drag on for months. This can lead to a buildup of bacteria and often a bacterial infection can follow a viral infection.
There are also some foods that can cause mucus including:
- Ice cream
- Soy products
If you are suffering from seasonal allergies or an infection in your upper respiratory tract, it is a good idea to stay away from milk and soy products until you feel better.
When Is Excessive Throat Mucus a Problem?
A mucus buildup in throat could mean something serious. You may want to check with your doctor if the mucus in your throat has the following characteristics:
- Thin and clear – While most thin clear secretions just mean allergies or a cold, sometimes it could signal a medication reaction, or a reaction to a certain food. It can also be a sign of a deviated septum or an irregularity in the nasal passage.
- Thick and colored – If mucus is very thick, it could be that you are very dry. Heating systems and dry air can thicken mucus and make you more uncomfortable. If your mucus becomes yellow, green, or even tan in color it could be a sign of a bacterial infection.
- Rattling sound in chest – If you have an issue with swallowing, some of the mucus could be dripping down into your chest. This sometimes causes a “chest rattle” and could turn into a condition called, aspiration pneumonia.
- Burning sensation – You may have GERD or reflux of acid coming up from your stomach. This will cause a feeling like heartburn or even burning in your throat.
Tips to Remove Excess Mucus
There are some things you can do at home for issues with mucus buildup in throat. You most likely have everything you need already in your home. Try these helpful tips:
- Cough out the mucus or phlegm
- Blow your nose
- Increase fluid intake
- Salt water gargle
- Eucalyptus oil in steamy water (Hold your head over a bowl of steamy water and cover with a towel and inhale the vapor)
- Avoid dairy
- Drink hot tea with honey
- Use a humidifier in your room
- Avoid chemical cleaners and stay away from irritants like paint fumes or molds
- Quit smoking
- Eat spicier things like wasabi, hot chili, and garlic
- Medicines like decongestants to prevent build-up, use of OTC expectorants, antihistamines for allergies
The following video shows how to use salt water gargle, lemon and honey and ginger remedy. Check out:
How Others Dealt with Excessive Mucus Buildup
“I have a bad mucus buildup in throat and can’t seem to get rid of it. It is always bad when I wake up and I cough for over an hour every morning. There is mucus there, but it doesn’t clear when I cough. Sometimes I get a rattle in my chest, but the doctor said not to worry about it. He said it is most likely GERD and put me on a stomach medication. They also gave me an inhaler that didn’t really help. Actually, I had the best luck with cutting out chocolate, milk, and coffee from my diet.”-- James
“When I wake up in the morning, I always have mucus in my throat. I went to the doctor about a month ago and they thought I had bronchitis. They gave me antibiotics and it cleared up a little, but is still there. The mucus is clear. I’m not allergic to anything and I don’t smoke. There are other people in my family with this problem. I find that drinking lots and lots of water really helps.” --Suzie
It's been about 2 years since I started feeling excessive mucus in my throat. I have been to several doctors and tried just about everything to make it go away. They told me it was because I used to smoke. I quit almost a year before it started up. I did some research and found out that it is quite normal to have mucus in your throat for up to a year or two after quitting smoking. I tried a cough syrup that loosens mucus, but that made me feel to dry. I even started getting bloody noses from the medication so I stopped. Now, I only use the cough syrup once in a while and take a half dose with a ton of water so I don’t dry out.” --Mark