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Mucus is one of the secretions that are constantly produced in various metabolic processes. The lining of the sinuses produces mucus every day which is very important for the respiratory system.

Mucus has several roles. It makes the nasal passages moisturized, it hydrates the air breathed in, and it prevents the allergens from entering the respiratory system. However, excessive mucus in the throat can be very annoying condition. While the mucus in the nasal passages can be ejected out easily, mucus in the throat is very difficult to expel.

Causes of Mucus in Throat

Mucus in the throat may be caused by several reasons. In the majority of cases, it is the result of various allergies, especially those associated with smoke, noxious gases, and fumes. Mucus production may be present after eating certain foods, such as dairy products, eggs, whole grains, and wheat in cases when the person already suffers from the common cold, fever, or seasonal flu.

Infections are also responsible for the occurrence of excessive mucus in the throat. When the pathogens penetrate the body through the mouth or nose, excess mucus is produced to fight these foreign bodies. Excess mucus tends to build up in the throat, which is why bacterial, viral, or fungal infections are considered to be the causes of this condition.

Measles, whooping cough, and chickenpox are viral infections that have excess mucus in the throat as a symptom. Furthermore, excessive smoking and consummation of alcohol, caffeinated foods, and drinks can trigger the production of mucus as well.

Treatment of Mucus in Throat

Mucus in throat is not a serious condition, and it is usually cured without any treatment. However, sometimes it is quite embarrassing and annoying and people who have a problem with it want to expel it as soon as possible. Moreover, if it is not treated, it can cause various infections and bad breath. People who have excess mucus in their throat should drink plenty of water and other healthy liquids. Furthermore, the mouth and the throat should be gargled with hot salty water no less than twice a day.

Steam inhalations, as well as blowing the nose regularly, are also very effective in ejecting the mucus from the throat. The paste of ginger powder and honey is also very beneficial when excess mucus in the throat is in question.

A thin layer of laryngeal mucus is considered necessary to maintain healthy vocal fold tissue. This thin, clear mucus is in contrast to mucus aggregation commonly seen in patients with voice disorders, which is typically opaque, thicker, and more abundant. Mucus aggregation can occur as a protective reaction and is believed to be part of the healing process. This increased laryngeal mucus can cause patients to cough and/or clear their throat to clear the mucus. It is believed that this can progress into a harmful cycle of habitual coughing and throat clearing that can cause vocal fold edema through tissue shearing, friction, and contact forces, and perpetuate or cause a voice disorder.
  • Clinicians commonly teach patients alternative clearing behaviors to reduce coughing and hard throat clearing with the assumption that these behaviors clear mucus from the vocal folds. Yet there is limited evidence of the effectiveness of these alternative behaviors at clearing mucus. This study’s purpose was to evaluate the efficacy of reducing laryngeal mucus aggregation using alternative approaches in comparison with hard coughing and hard throat clearing in people with and without voice disorders.
  • Mucus aggregation of 46 participants, 22 with and 24 without voice disorders, was evaluated from stroboscopy recordings taken before and after each of six clearing behaviors: hard coughing, hard throat clearing, silent coughing, soft throat clearing, dry swallowing, and swallowing with a fluid bolus. Each participant performed each clearing behavior twice. Two trained raters evaluated mucus aggregation for type, thickness, and pooling.
  • Of the six clearing behaviors studied, only hard throat clearing changed vocal fold mucus aggregation. The features of mucus aggregation that were changed by hard throat clearing were the severity of mucus thickness and the presence of type 3 mucus.
✓ Fact confirmed: Efficacy of Six Tasks to Clear Laryngeal Mucus Aggregation Heather Shaw Bonilha, Terri Treman Gerlach, Lori Ellen Sutton, Amy Elizabeth Dawson, Katlyn McGrattan, Paul J. Nietert, and Dimitar D. Deliyski; 2016 Jul 26.

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