Having excessive throat mucus is a frustrating condition that can make you want to constantly clear your throat. This buildup of throat mucus can give you the feeling like there is always something stuck in your throat. Although an infection in the upper respiratory tract can be one cause, conditions like allergies, asthma, and heartburn can leave you feeling that there is too much phlegm in your throat.
Sometimes, just coughing isn’t enough to get rid of throat mucus. If you constantly have a lot of mucus in your throat, you may have to find and treat the underlying reason for the buildup. If the excessive mucus is caused by irritants or allergies, then avoiding those triggers can help to reduce the amount of mucus in your throat. If a digestive disorder or infection causes the accumulation of mucus, then home remedies like baking soda, honey, ginger, or steam inhalation can help to loosen phlegm and clear your throat.
Read on to learn about the different causes for constantly having mucus in your throat. At the end of the article, you can read about the many effective home treatments for getting rid of a phlegmy throat.
Causes of Excessive Mucus in Throat
Your body produces mucus to prevent bacteria and viruses from causing infections, and it is completely normal to have mucus in the throat. According to Dr. Melinda Ratini on WebMD, our noses alone produce around 2 pints of mucus a day. This usually drips down the back of the throat unnoticed by us. Problems occur when the mucus become thicker and more noticeable or too much mucus gets produced.
Post nasal drip
A buildup of mucus in the throat is often called a post nasal drip or post nasal discharge. The American Academy of Otolaryngology explains that excessive thin mucus secretions caused by irritation, colds, allergies, or hormonal changes can cause more mucus to flow down the throat. Or sinus infections and dryness in the throat can cause a thick mucus buildup in the throat.
This constant drip of excess mucus in the throat can cause irritation, swelling, and discomfort. It can also give a sensation of constantly having something stuck in your throat.
Heartburn / acid reflux
A common reason for constant phlegm in the throat is heartburn. The excess phlegm is caused because stomach acid comes back up the esophagus and irritates the lining of the upper respiratory system. This is also referred to as acid reflux (or Refluxgate). You may also experience a bitter taste in your mouth or a burning sensation in your chest.
According to Dr. Jennifer Robinson on WebMD, you could experience reflux without the other symptoms of heartburn. This condition is called laryngopharyngeal reflux, or silent reflux. The mucus forms when the stomach acid irritates the back or your throat and nasal airways and causes irritation and inflammation. This causes excessive throat clearing, a persistent cough, and a feeling of a lump in your throat.
Allergies can cause irritation at the back of the throat which can cause more mucus to be produced. Allergies are the body’s immune response to allergens and are most commonly caused by pollen in the air (seasonal allergies) or dust mites, animal dander, or mold (perennial allergies).
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports that one of the symptoms of an allergic reaction is mucus in the throat. This will usually be accompanied with sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose.
It’s important to try and remove the source of the allergy by vacuuming your home regularly and keeping bedding clean. Also, try to avoid touching your nose or eyes to prevent allergic reactions in your upper respiratory system.
Constant mucus in the throat is often experienced by people who suffer from asthma. Asthma causes inflammation in the bronchial tube and stimulates more production of mucus.
Although asthma is usually associated with wheezing and frequent coughing, the Food and Drug Association (FDA) says that mild and severe asthma results in an “excessive production of mucus.” This can build up in the throat and cause allergy-like symptoms.
A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that chronic throat clearing could be an indication of asthma in children.
Various infections of the upper airways and throat can lead to excessive throat mucus that is hard to get rid of. When bacteria or viruses cause infection, the body produces more mucus to trap and destroy the germs. This can cause chronic coughing, clearing of the throat, and sneezing.
Sinusitis is an infection that causes the sinuses to become inflamed, swollen and filled with mucus. Among other symptoms, sinusitis can cause postnasal drip with thick, dark-colored discharge.
The American Academy of Otolaryngology says that a strep throat caused by a bacterial infection can cause excess mucus in the throat which drains down the throat.8
Laryngitis is an infection of your voice box which causes inflammation, irritation, and swelling. This cause excess mucus to form in the throat and give a constant urge to clear your throat.
Smoking causes irritation in a person’s lungs which results in mucus in the throat and airways that won’t go away. This causes smokers to constantly cough, often referred to as a “smoker’s cough.”
The University of Pittsburg Medical Center says that in addition to excess mucus, smoking causes the mucus to become thicker. Smoking also damages the lungs’ clearing system and it can become more difficult to get rid of the thick mucus in the airways.
Smoking also puts you at risk for developing a number of other health problems like cancer, infections, pneumonia, and emphysema.
Some foods can cause mucus to become thicker and make you want to clear your throat more frequently.
According to researchers in the United States, it is a myth that dairy products generally cause excess mucus to form in the body. However, the Mayo Clinic says that dairy products do make mucus much thicker and harder to get rid of.
Also, some people who are lactose intolerant may find that consuming dairy products cause them to have too much phlegm in their throat.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase mucus production and cause excess thin secretions to drip down the back of the throat.
Breathing in toxins
Certain chemicals can irritate your nasal passages and throat and increase mucus buildup in your throat. They can also cause various respiratory problems, including burning sensation in the mouth, coughing, headaches and yellow or green mucus.
Dr. William Blahd on WebMD says that breathing in toxic chemicals can cause serious damage to your body and internal organs and can even be life-threatening. He advises calling a doctor as soon as possible if you have been exposed to toxic fumes or chemicals.
Home Remedies To Get Rid of Throat Mucus
There are many effective home remedies to help clear mucus from the throat. These natural treatments can provide symptomatic relief and in some cases, treat the underlying reason for excess throat mucus.
Salt water gargle
Gargling with salt water is a simple home remedy which can help to kill mucus-causing infections in your throat and upper airways.
Researchers have discovered that even just gargling with water was enough to prevent upper respiratory tract infection.
Adding the antibacterial properties of salt to a water gargle will help to effectively loosen phlegm and clear it from your throat quicker. All you have to do is dissolve 1/2 to 1 tsp. salt in an 8 oz. glass of warm water. Gargle several times a day with the salt remedy to get rid of throat mucus.
Gargling with salt water is just one of my natural treatment to cure tonsillitis.
An excellent home remedy to loosen throat mucus and clear your nasal passage is steam inhalation. The benefits of using steam to get rid of too much mucus in the throat can be boosted by adding essential oils that reduce inflammation, kill germs, and relieve congestion.
For example, tea tree oil has antimicrobial compounds that can help treat throat and upper respiratory tract infections. Also menthol oil is well-known for its ability to relieve congestion and treat the symptoms of sinus infections and asthma.
All you need to do is add a few drops of tea tree oil or menthol oil to a large bowl of boiling water. Place you head over the bowl and cover your head with a towel. Breathe deeply for 10 minutes to allow the steam and essential oils clear your airways and get rid of mucus. Repeat the steam inhalation 2-3 times a day until your symptoms clear and you no longer have any infection in your airways.
Ginger is another home remedy to help clear excessive mucus from your throat and suppress chronic coughing. Ginger contains antiviral properties that can get rid of infections in the respiratory tract and therefore clear thick, hard to get rid of phlegm.
A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology showed that hot ginger tea is effective in treating viral respiratory infections. The antiviral effect of ginger is due to enzymes which attack viruses and inhibit their spread.
It’s very easy to make ginger tea to get rid of mucus in your throat. Chop 1-inch piece of raw fresh ginger and put it in a cup of boiling water. Cover the cup and let the ginger infuse for a few minutes. Drink the ginger tea 2-3 times a day to help reduce the buildup of mucus and speed up the healing process of upper chest infections.
Horseradish is another therapeutic root that you can use to clear up symptoms of sinus infections and colds.
Eating chilies or spicy food is a surprising way to naturally relieve inflammation in the nose that causes too much mucus to form. Chilies contain a spicy compound called capsaicin which has antioxidant and decongestant properties. Capsaicin can also help to thin mucus and make it easier to get rid of.
Studies into the medicinal properties of capsaicin as a decongestant found that it helps to reduce symptoms of nasal discharge and inflammation.
If you have a problem of constant mucus at the back of your throat, try adding more chilies to your cooking or sprinkling chili powder on your meals to help get rid of a mucus buildup in your throat.
Taking raw, unprocessed honey can help to clear a phlegmy throat and treat upper respiratory tract infections. In addition to honey being a natural antibacterial agent, it also has a soothing effect on the throat and can reduce constant coughing.
A study by Canadian researchers found that even a single dose of raw honey can help to reduce mucus secretion and bouts of coughing. It was also better than many over-the-counter cough medicines at reducing the frequency of a cough.
To help remove excessive throat phlegm, you can take a spoonful of raw honey 2-3 times a day. Consume the honey daily until you stop feeling the constant need to clear your throat.
You can also add honey to warm ginger tea to boost its antimicrobial and decongestant properties. Drink the ginger tea with honey 2-3 times a day until your symptoms improve and you no longer have a feeling of excess phlegm in your throat.
Drink plenty of water
It’s essential to drink plenty of fluid like water and herbal teas to help thin mucus secretions and prevent them building up in your throat.
You can make delicious herbal teas like chamomile tea or ginger tea that can help calm inflammation and increase your daily fluid intake. Drinking plenty of water also helps you in loosing weight and you can find tips for burning fat.
Avoid irritants and allergens
One way to prevent the buildup of throat mucus is to avoid irritants or allergens that could cause irritation in your airways. This also includes stopping smoking and avoid inhaling second-hand smoke.
If your symptoms continue and you can’t get rid of the accumulation of throat mucus, you should see a doctor for an examination.