Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Have to clear throat a lot

  1. Apr 16, 2013 #1
    A lot of the time I feel like I have some mucous or something in my throat and have to clear my throat to speak. Sometimes I don't really need to, but I just feel it there.
    I heard dairy can cause mucous in the throat, but I don't know. Anyone know if a change in diet or possibly lifestyle could decrease this, or should I see a doctor?

    And can clearing your throat too much damage your vocal cords? I heard it can.
    Anyone else have a problem with this mucous in throat thing? It's not serious or anything like that, just kinda annoying.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2013 #2
    This study dated 1990 concluded that dairy was not responsible for an increase in mucus production

    I will say the obligatory response of, go see a doctor. :)

    However I remember not too long ago my father had surgery to fix some post nasal drip and the doc found one of his sinuses was infected causing the drip. He used to clear his throat every 15 minutes. Now that the sinus is cleared, he hacks no more :)
  4. Apr 17, 2013 #3

    If I may be a simpleton here for a moment. There is always mucous in the back of the throat. The fact that you feel it is due to viscosity of said mucous. The mucous can become thick due to many reasons including nervousness, allergies, infections, cancer, and many other things. If you do not believe you are seriously ill, try some Mucinex or nasal irrigstions (nettie pot) or steam or drinking more water etc.

    Just a thought.
  5. Apr 18, 2013 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Ear-nose-throat doctors recommend not eating dairy products after a tonsillectomy, because it thickens saliva. Are they wrong in that recommendation?
  6. Apr 18, 2013 #5
    Thanks for the responses. I have some additional information. Sometimes when I eat certain foods, like apples, a tiny piece of the apple will get stuck in the back of my throat. Not a threat to choking, I just can't swallow it down completely, like there's a little pocket in there where food can get stuck. I don't know if that's related to having to clear my throat, but it also just became obvious that I would have to get examined by a doctor for some information to be gathered about what's going on. It's nothing serious, and I could deal with it. In fact, I sort of rationalized dealing with it by convincing myself that it causes me to drink more water, since a piece of food will get stuck and drinking a lot of water will wash it down.

    But regardless, anyone else have this problem of not being able to swallow something completely? The rest of the apple will go down, just a piece of it will linger and it won't follow the rest of the apple.
  7. Apr 18, 2013 #6
    I have no idea. Is saliva closely connected to mucus?
  8. Apr 19, 2013 #7


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    You still have your tonsils? Best thing is to see a doctor since they can do an examination. Do drink enough fluids.

    Greg, saliva is watery mucus with some additives (digestive enzymes).
  9. Apr 19, 2013 #8
    Yes, I do still have my tonsils. I'm 29, so I thought maybe I was past the point of when doctors normally take them out. Do you think those could be responsible?
  10. Apr 19, 2013 #9


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    People who experience problems with their tonsils do complain that it feels like something is stuck in their throat. Tonsils can be enlarged, they can have large crypts with debris stuck inside. A recurrent history of throat inflammation/infection would fit that picture. Something you can discuss with your doctor.
  11. Apr 20, 2013 #10
    The answer...

    So for me it started where I spoke and have phlegm in the back of my throat, that went on for a year, and progressively worse. Then it affected my swallowing, like my throat no longer wanted to flush it down like a toilet.

    So I had a barium swallow, and I was told that I had a hiatal hernia and that was the cause of it. Which means your stomach has moved past your diaphragm because either of an injury or your too fat. Secondary finding of a nodule on my thyroid.

    Fast forward a year later, Ive lost 30 pounds, still have the problem. The thyroid isnt cancerous.

    Hope that helps narrows things down for you.
  12. Apr 20, 2013 #11
    I also had a problem swallowing. Long story short, the problem was a cyst on the back of my tongue.
  13. Apr 20, 2013 #12


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    LJ, is it much worse in the morning? If so, you you have to look at human physiology. If you are suffering from a cold or flu or allergies, and your eyes are watering, those tears will drain into your nose and perhaps from there into your chest. You'll have to see a doctor (perhaps two) to run that down, but it's worth the effort. Good luck.

    BTW, VOE here.
  14. Apr 21, 2013 #13
    Often that is illusory. The piece isn't really there, it just feels like it is. Almost everyone gets that when swallowing pills dry.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook