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Ewww…I’m Coughing up Mucus! Why Is There So Much in My Throat?

You’ll know it when you feel it — that strange sensation of a tickle in the back of your throat. It may feel sore or make you constantly want to clear your throat of mucus. Perhaps you’re coughing up mucus now. If this is the case, you might be dealing with postnasal drip.

Postnasal drip is a common diagnosis among individuals of all ages at all times of the year. There are many different causes but we can all agree on one thing: it can very annoying! The good thing is that this happens everyday to individuals across the globe and thus it has been studied fervently. It is safe to say you’re not in this alone.

To begin our journey in figuring out what is causing your postnasal drip, check the list of symptoms below to highlight the key issues.

Possible Symptoms of Postnasal Drip

Judging by the title of this article and your reason for reading it, you probably know what some of the most common symptoms already are. Most of it has to do with the upper body, so here’s a compiled list of common issues:

  • A cough that may worsen at night
  • Scratchy or sore throat
  • Feeling the constant need to clear your throat
  • Bad breath
  • Feelings of nausea from the excess mucus in stomach
  • Spitting up or swallowing of excess mucus
  • Sinus or ear infection (under certain circumstances)

Now that we have the more notable symptoms out of the way, let’s look into what the potential reasons are for why postnasal drip is occurring.

Possible Causes of Excess Mucus

By now, you’ve probably noticed a pattern in when you begin to develop postnasal drip. Perhaps it is in response to weather or you’ve always struggled with it. Here’s a list of the possible causes:

  • Allergies (whether seasonal or unique to a person)
  • Changes in the weather or atmosphere
  • Dry air / poor air quality
  • Colder weather
  • Certain medications (most notably birth control and blood pressure)
  • Viral infections
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic respiratory conditions
  • Spicy foods
  • Smoke or irritating chemicals
  • Deviated septum (one nostril is bigger than the other / “uneven” nostrils)

You might be thinking “wow, that’s a lot of causes!” And you would be right. Considering how common postnasal drip can be, it would be logical to assume there are multiple causes. Since it is the result of a condition or ailment — finding the exact reason may prove difficult. The above list consists of the most well-known causes of this excess mucus. Internet advice (including this article, we hate to say) can only go so far and sometimes it’s best to seek medical help to determine the best course of action.

What Should I Do Now?

Postnasal drip generally isn’t serious and may go away on its own depending on the symptoms and severity. Sometimes it may take days, weeks, or even months until it ends. The good news, however, is that we can identify the causes faster and thus take action. In addition, there are a multitude of remedies available at home or the doctor’s office. In fact, there are so many that we won’t even bother listing them here. Instead, take a look at an article on treatment from Harvard Health Publishing. Hot liquids, decongestants, Mucinex, etc., there are different methods of success for different individuals.

Of course, home remedies are easiest (mostly) but are not guaranteed success; and they should never be used in place of direct medical advice! If symptoms continue to persist or impede daily activities, please consider seeing a professional. At Advanced Internal Medicine, we have three locations throughout Georgia:

Whether you need a second opinion, medical advice, an examination or just a friendly internist, we’re here for you! Give us a phone call or a visit and get started today.