Clearing your throat occasionally, whilst talking or eating is totally normal. However, constant clearing of the throat or clearing the throat many times during the day can be noted in some people. This excessive throat clearing is no longer normal, and can in fact be a warning of a health concern or problem. Constantly clearing the throat is a way to rid the throat of mucous (a substance that is white of slightly yellow in color) that is present.
Chronic or constant throat clearing is not a life threatening problem, but there are several reasons why one might constantly be seen to be coughing or clearing the throat. So, let’s check out common reasons behind chronic clearing of the throat.
Causes of chronic throat clearing
Post nasal Drip – This is a condition where the sufferer has an excess of mucous that is secreted by the sinuses and accumulated in the nose and back of the throat. The condition may be caused by seasonal allergies, or it may be present during the whole course of the year. Post nasal drip symptoms also include difficulty breathing, irritated throat, a running nose, and a tickling in the throat.
GERD – Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as gastric reflux disease or gastro-oesophageal reflux diseases is a chronic disease of the digestive system that occurs when bile or stomach acid flow back into the food pipe ( reflux into the esophagus). This back-flow of acid causes irritation to the lining of the esophagus, and as a result the sufferer will have trouble swallowing and will also be constantly clearing the throat. This constant clearing of the throat after the backwash of stomach acid can be commonly seen in people who eat a lot of dairy and high fat food or those who will lie down straight after eating.
Asthma – Asthma is a common disease characterized by the inflammation of the airways, causing the airways to swell and narrow. Symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest, and breathlessness, the symptoms being recurrent. Asthma is most commonly seen in children, and is a probable cause for chronic and constant clearing of the throat.
Sinusitis – Sinusitis is an inflammation and infection of the para-nasal sinuses that is caused by a viral infection, auto immune disease or allergy. Under normal conditions the problem will resolve itself over the course of one or more weeks. Common symptoms present in those suffering from sinusitis are bad breath, nasal congestion, fever, and chronic cough with thick nasal secretions and a chronic and constant clearing of the throat.
The most effective way to break the habit of constant throat clearing is to sip water whenever you need to clear the throat to clear away the mucous. By ensuring that you drink a minimum of six glasses of water every day, you will help thin the mucous, allowing it to move more easily. Instead of constantly clearing your throat, try swallowing instead, and wait until the mucous rises to cough it out, this puts less strain on your vocal cords and throat. Nasal washes are also available that are effective in clearing mucous from the sinuses and nose. After clearing the nose with a nasal wash, also try a steroid nasal spray that will reduce inflammation of the sinuses and nose.