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How To Get Rid Of Phlegm In Your Throat

Understanding Causes Of Excess Phlegm

Sylvia Zakusilov, NP Profile Photo

Written by Sylvia Zakusilov, NP on August 12, 2021

Medically reviewed by Camille Freking, MS Pharmacology

When phlegm hangs out in your throat it can make you pretty uncomfortable, especially because of the constant coughing and throat-clearing that might come along with it. If you or your kids are dealing with excess phlegm, the good news is that it is fairly easy to treat and you should be back to normal in no time.

Understanding what causes phlegm in the first place as well as why phlegm is an important part of your system can help you figure out what is causing your problem, and then treat it accordingly.

Phlegm and Excess Mucus: What Causes It?

Believe it or not, mucus is a very important part of your body’s defenses. It helps keep things protected and moisturized while also working to trap things like bacteria and viruses. That said, when your body produces too much mucus, it can lead to pesky symptoms like phlegm, congestion, or a runny nose.

Your body will likely start producing too much mucus because of the following:

  • A cold
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Irritated sinuses, like a sinus infection
  • Exposure to smoke or pollution, especially if the exposure is prolonged

If the phlegm is associated with an illness, taking elderberry and extra vitamin C can help your immune system fight off the virus. Fortunately, excess mucus and phlegm is usually not a sign of anything serious, so do not worry too much! There are, however, certain symptoms that may indicate a more serious problem if they are accompanied by excess phlegm. These include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Intermittent nosebleeds

If these symptoms arise alongside your phlegm troubles, you should consult a doctor to get things checked out. It is always best to play it safe rather than assuming that the symptoms you are experiencing are nothing to worry about, and your doctor will be able to answer any questions you may have!

Even if medicine helps short-term, long-term treatment plans need to be discussed with a doctor if the cause of your discomfort is something chronic or more serious.

Chest Congestion

If your body is producing too much mucus, chest congestion is another common symptom that you or your children may experience. Symptoms can include chest tightness, coughing, shortness of breath, or runny nose, and though these symptoms can be concerning, there are plenty of home remedies you can use to help soothe the symptoms caused by excess mucus.

That said, if chest congestion persists and does not ease up with the use of home remedies, you should consult your doctor because a prolonged problem can result in your body receiving insufficient oxygen.

Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LR) and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Constant phlegm in your throat may be a sign of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LR), or of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). People dealing with LR may have symptoms of GERD, but they also might not, which makes laryngopharyngeal reflux a bit harder to diagnose.

Symptoms of GERD include:

  • Change in voice, such as weak or cracking voice
  • Wheezing
  • Excessive amounts of phlegm
  • Constant throat clearing
  • Cough
  • Postnasal drip
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Heartburn
  • Food coming back up after you have swallowed it

If you suspect that this may be the problem, you should consult your doctor for guidance when it comes to treatment and easing the symptoms. LR is usually easily treated with a few small lifestyle changes, like avoiding eating chocolate or caffeine, losing weight, and elevating your head when you sleep.

Certain medicines, like antacids, can help ease symptoms like heartburn, but you should talk to your doctor in order to come up with a long term treatment plan. Though it is not life threatening, LR (and GERD) can be highly uncomfortable, and there is no shame in seeking relief from the symptoms.

Getting Rid of Excess Mucus: Home Remedies

Home remedies can be an easy and effective way to soothe your symptoms until you have the chance to speak with a doctor.

Some of the best home remedies for excess mucus and phlegm in the throat include:

  • Tea with lemon and honey: Drinking hot tea with lemon and honey in it can be a great way to ease the symptoms caused by mucus. This method works by thinning and loosening the mucus in your throat, which can reduce coughing and discomfort. Additionally, lemon is a great source of vitamin C, so it doubles as an immunity boost!
  • Gargling with salt water: Using warm salt water to gargle can help loosen mucus in your throat and respiratory tract, thus soothing your symptoms.
  • Steam: Inhaling steam can help loosen the phlegm in your throat, and there are a couple ways you can use this method. One way is to run a hot shower and keep the door closed, and then sit in the steamy bathroom for a short while to let the steam do its job. You can also run hot water into the sink and bend over the sink with a towel covering your head and face to keep the steam concentrated around your face. Similarly, you can boil water and then transfer it into a bowl, then leave over it with a towel over your head.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids can work to thin out any mucus that is causing problems for you, and it can prevent future mucus from getting too thick. You should also try to cut back on beverages containing caffeine, as these can lead to dehydration and are counterproductive!
  • Use a humidifier: Similar to the steam method, using a humidifier can help soothe your airways. A humidifier works to moisturize your nasal passages and throat, thus helping reduce the production of phlegm.
  • Check heating and cooling filters: Checking the filters for your heating and cooling systems can help you eliminate dust and other indoor allergens. Keeping these filters clean and dust-free will help reduce the irritants circulating in your household.

Aside from home remedies, the safest bet is always to consult your doctor and get a professional opinion. Especially in cases where home remedies do not seem to help at all, you should call your doctor in order to ensure that nothing serious is going on!

When phlegm in the throat is caused by a cold, you can pretty confidently rely on some OTC cold and cough medicine to do the trick… but it never hurts to consult your doctor just to make sure the culprit really is just the common cold.

Genexa’s Kids’ Cough and Chest Congestion oral suspension medication works to ease a cough, help relieve chest congestion, and thin and loosen mucus… which means that your kiddo’s pesky phlegm won’t stand a chance!

Plus, Genexa is the first clean medicine brand, meaning they make medicine that contains the active ingredients you need, but not the artificial inactive ingredients you don’t need. Because why should you compromise when it comes to your health or the health of your kids?

Any inactive ingredients in Genexa’s products are non-GMO, gluten-free, and certified vegan so you can rest assured that you are getting real, clean medicine that you can trust.

Before giving any kind of new medicine to your kids, you should call your pediatrician for a professional opinion. It never hurts to play it safe when it comes to your little ones!

Keep in mind that phlegm can be caused by one of many different things with varying severities so if you have no idea what is causing your symptoms, you should get a professional opinion to stop the problem in its tracks. Most often, phlegm and excess mucus are extremely treatable, sometimes even just with home remedies, so you likely have nothing to worry about.

The Bottom Line

When your body produces too much mucus, it can lead to phlegm in your throat along with a cough, chest congestion, nasal congestion, and a runny nose. The good news is that these symptoms usually are not caused by anything too serious, and you most likely do not need to worry. That said, you should still consult your doctor if you are not sure what is causing your symptoms, and especially if other symptoms present themselves, including a fever, chills, night sweats, or nasal obstruction.

There are plenty of home remedies that may be able to offer some relief in the meantime. Lemon and honey tea, for example, is one tried and true method of soothing an irritated throat and working to thin and loosen mucus. Steam, humidity, and drinking lots of water can also be great ways of getting rid of mucus.

If your symptoms are chronic or if your symptoms are not eased by home remedies, you should consult your doctor in order to come up with a more long term treatment plan. Phlegm can be a nuisance, but it probably won’t be forever.