Discussions By Condition: Medical Stories

Throat Clearing

Posted In: Medical Stories 0 Replies
  • Posted By: kennyaperkins
  • January 17, 2007
  • 10:25 PM

I’m a 53 year old male and developed chronic throat clearing about 2 years ago. It started off being a minor annoyance, but for the past 12 months I have all the symptoms described on this website – thick mucus in the back of the throat that will not clear no matter how hard I cough and clear the throat. It starts in the morning and usually gets a little better the afternoon. Then sometimes it gets bad at night, occasionally waking me up to attempt clearing the throat. Went to several doctors, with no success (nasal wash, antibiotics, steroids, etc).

However, I read that the increase production of mucus could be caused by certain foods – milk, spicy foods, sodas, chocolate and sugar. So I totally cut these out of my diet. Anything to solve this problem. Immediately I notice a slight reduction in the amount of mucus produced and a noticeable reduction in throat clearing. If fact, it seems that the mucus was a bit thinner and easier to clear. In combination with this, I began to chew gum whenever I had the urge to clear my throat, especially during business meetings where I began to notice that other employees noticed my throat clearing. Both of these changes, over a 2 month period of time, have reduced my throat clearing by 70-90 percent, depending on other factors such as hydration, stress, dry weather and so on.

Regardless of whether cutting back on sugar, spices, sodas and chocolate helps you, try chewing gum. When I chew gum, it also completely eliminates the urge to clear my throat. I theorize that as you chew gum, it does two things: it produces saliva which is usually very watery and helps move the thicker mucus down into the lower throat where it’s easier to clear. Secondly, I have read that there might be a nerve at the back of the throat that gets stimulated by the pressure mucus causes. Chewing gum may act to suppress the stimulation of this nerve, which then allows the mucus to naturally gravitate down into the lower throat were it can be more easily cleared. So far, I’m extremely pleased with this strategy, which has greatly improved the quality of my life. Although some days I have to chew gum, on and off, for a total of 4-5 hours, it’s a small price to pay not having to clear my throat the those 4-5 hours, especially if I’m at the movies, with friends or at work.

Give it a try. Good luck.

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