Excess Phlegm in Throat: Causes and Treatments
Published November 21, 2022
When your immune system detects a sickness-causing agent entering the body, it increases mucus production. It does this so that when it pumps out the mucus, it’ll pick up the germs along the way.
The body produces different types of mucus, their main differences lie in where they come from.
Phlegm is one such type, and it comes from the lower airways or the lungs. The throat can normally drain mucus without issue, but it’s not uncommon for a person to have a bit of phlegm stuck in the throat.
What might not seem normal, however, is when you have excess phlegm in throat when you’re not even sick. If that’s what you’re dealing with, an excellent way to solve the issue is by learning a thing or two about excess phlegm in throat. Let’s start by looking at the symptoms that come with this problem.
Symptoms That Come With Excess Phlegm In Throat
Usually, you don’t immediately notice that you have excess phlegm in your throat. Instead, you’ll notice several other signs or symptoms first before you come to that conclusion. These symptoms include:
- Coughing up phlegm (which experts call sputum)
- Itchy eyes
- Runny nose
- Shortness of breath
You may or may not experience some of these symptoms even if you have excess phlegm in throat. The symptoms may vary according to the cause of the problem, and that is yet another thing you must know.
What Causes Phlegm In The Throat?
Aside from having a cold or fever, other causes of excess phlegm in throat include:
- Acid reflux
- Food allergies
- Viral or bacterial infection (acute bronchitis, sinusitis, pneumonia)
- Lung diseases (cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
If you have excess phlegm in your throat, it’s either because of a minor issue that should normally go away after a few days, or you have a long-term disease. To find out the cause, it’s best to call a doctor.
They should be able to diagnose your condition more accurately by looking at your other symptoms.
Apart from your condition, there are other factors that may lead to excess phlegm. Your environment or lifestyle, for example, can lead to the issue. To be precise, you may have excess phlegm because:
- You don’t drink as much water or other fluids
- You take certain medications that increase the likelihood of excess phlegm in throat
- Your house is too dry, which is often due to poor insulation or heating
- You smoke frequently or regularly
- You drink certain beverages that cause fluid loss (e.g., tea, alcohol, coffee)
So, while it may not be what you consider natural or normal, there’s a reason why you have excess phlegm on throat. And often, the solution depends on that reason.
How To Get Rid Of Excess Phlegm In Throat
You can get rid of excess phlegm in throat in two main ways. Here’s a closer look at these methods.
Refill Your Body With Fluids
It may seem like generic advice, but drinking water and other fluids are genuinely one of the best ways to get rid of excess phlegm in your throat. For one, as stated earlier, this issue might be due to you not drinking enough fluids. And two, when you drink more water, you are basically diluting the mucus.
Once the mucus is more watery, it becomes easier to pump out of your body, and it’s no longer likely to get stuck midway. Of course, not all fluids would work, so here’s a look at what should work:
- Black tea
- Green tea
- Chicken soup
- Warm apple juice
Yes, it doesn’t necessarily eliminate the issue of your body overproducing phlegm. Still, it’s an excellent way to relieve the symptoms while you wait for the problem to solve itself.
Speaking of which, another remedy that should provide relief is over-the-counter medication.
Take Over-The-Counter Medication
Decongestants, as the name implies, are drugs that help relieve symptoms concerning congestion.
It might be known for getting rid of mucus in one’s nasal regions, but it’s not as helpful when it comes to excess phlegm in the throat. It won’t do anything to reduce the production of mucus in your airways.
For that job, expectorants would be better.
Expectorant works like a decongestant, except rather than targeting the mucus in the nasal regions, it focuses on the mucus in your airways. Hence, it’s the best medication for excess phlegm in throat.
Unfortunately, those are the only two immediate remedies for excess phlegm in your throat. The good news is though there are only a few ‘cures’ to this problem, there are a bunch of prevention methods.
What To Do To Prevent Excess Phlegm In Throat
As they say, prevention is better than cure, and nothing can describe excess phlegm better than that phrase. Rather than waiting for your throat to accumulate phlegm, here’s what you can do:
One of the main causes of excess phlegm is a house that’s too dry.
Since that’s the case, using a humidifier to make your house a lot less dry should do the trick. It may not have an immediate effect on your condition, but over time, you’ll notice less phlegm in your airways.
Gargle Using Warm Salt Water Regularly
You don’t have to do it every time you need to gargle, but once a day should help prevent excess phlegm.
That’s because salt is quite effective when it comes to getting rid of germs, while the warmness of the water can help clear phlegm from the back of your throat. It’s basically hitting two birds with one stone.
While it’s one of the immediate remedies to excess phlegm, it’s also an excellent way to prevent it from happening to you again. Besides, it’s an excellent way to prevent many other short-term illnesses.
Avoid Beverages That Lead To Fluid Loss
Since your goal is to hydrate yourself as much as possible, it would be counterproductive if you drank diuretic beverages. Diuretics are any medication or liquid that helps get rid of water in the body.
Examples of beverages that one can consider a diuretic include:
Stop Or Minimize Your Smoking
Studies show that smoking is linked to an overproduction of mucus.
If you smoke, then your smoking habit is likely the reason why you have excess phlegm in your throat. Stopping that habit, or at least minimizing it, should reduce the likelihood of having too much mucus.
Steer Away From Pollution
The body takes its mucus production up a notch when it detects irritants or germs entering the body.
When you’re often exposed to air pollution, like smoke from vehicles or burning objects, it’s likely going to lead to excess phlegm. In that regard, make sure you steer away from sources of air pollution.
When Should You Call A Doctor
There are instances where the aforementioned treatment and prevention options don’t work as effectively as they should. If that’s the case, your condition might be much more severe than you initially thought.
Below are signs that you may have to call a doctor:
- The excess phlegm in your throat has been present for over four weeks.
- The phlegm is only getting thicker despite your efforts.
- The phlegm is changing in color.
- You have a fever on top of the excess phlegm and other symptoms.
- You’re experiencing chest pain.
- You’re coughing up not only phlegm but also blood.
If you notice even one of these signs, call a doctor immediately.
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This Content Has Been Reviewed For Factual Accuracy
About The Author
Lenard Arceo is an experienced writer who enjoys learning to code in his spare time. He has a fascination with health and nutrition and enjoys sharing his knowledge and research. He is proud of his commitment to communicating factual content that has helped his readers with life changing choices over the years.