9 Causes for Throat Clearing and How to Make It Stop:
1. A cold or other viral infection in your sinuses.
2. An allergic reaction to something you have inhaled (like pollen) 3.
Chronic sinusitis 4. Infection of the middle ear 5.
Sinus cancer 6. Coughing 7. Ear infections 8. Headaches 9. Strep throat
1. A cold or other viral infection in your sinuses:
If you are experiencing symptoms like fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat and congestion then it is likely that you have a virus or bacteria in your sinuses. These viruses may cause a milder version of the flu but they will still make you feel very sick.
You may even experience some difficulty breathing if left untreated. If you think you might have this type of virus, get yourself checked out by your doctor immediately.
2. An allergic reaction to something you have inhaled (like pollen):
Sometimes when we breathe in certain types of dusts and pollen particles, these allergens react with our body’s immune system causing us to become extremely ill. These reactions can cause our blood vessels to expand and contract which may lead to a build up of pressure within our sinuses.
If this pressure gets bad enough, our body may try to release this pressure through the mucous membranes inside the nose and throat. This may cause a person to start clearing their throat as a means of relieving this pressure. If you start noticing this type of behavior, it is likely that you or someone you know is having an allergic reaction to something in the environment. If you think this may be the case, make sure that you or the person experiencing the symptoms stays indoors and away from any potential allergens.
3. Chronic sinusitis:
Sinusitis is basically inflammation of the sinuses. It can be caused by a virus or bacteria but it can also be caused by allergies, a deviated septum (narrowing of the nose), or a foreign object in the nose (like a splinter).
The symptoms of sinusitis may include facial pain around the cheeks, eyes and forehead, tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones, a low grade fever, congestion or the sensation that something is blocking your nose. If this condition is left untreated, it can cause the person to start clearing their throat on a regular basis.
4. Infection of the middle ear:
Sometimes people may develop an infection in their middle ear. This is a fairly common occurrence in people who use artificial teeth (dentures).
If you have noticed that you are having a difficult time with your hearing, especially in noisy or crowded areas, then it might be due to an infection in your middle ear. You may also notice a decrease in your sense of smell.
5. Sinus cancer:
In extremely rare cases, a person may experience severe pain near the eyes and cheeks due to cancerous tumors located within the sinuses. If you or someone you know is experiencing these types of symptoms, make sure you see a doctor immediately.
6. Other conditions:
There are a host of other medical issues that may cause a person to start clearing their throat on a regular basis. The most common one being asthma.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a persistent cough that does not seem to get better, it might be time to see a doctor. Other medical conditions that may be causing the throat clearing are COPD, GERD, and esophageal cancer.
Taking Care of Yourself
Although many causes of throat clearing are relatively harmless, it’s still best to see a physician if you are experiencing this condition on a regular basis. Most cases of persistent throat clearing are caused by either allergies or sinusitis.
Asthma is another common cause of throat clearing as well.
If you start experiencing this condition on a regular basis, make sure that you take the following steps:
1. Avoid possible allergens:
If you think that your throat clearing is being caused by an allergy, then it might be helpful to make lifestyle changes in order to reduce your exposure to the allergen. If you live in a house filled with pets, consider renting a hotel room for a few nights and see if this helps clear up your condition.
If you are around pollen, grasses and ragweed a lot, it might be best to steer clear of these for a while as well.
2. Consider taking an antihistamine:
If you think that your throat clearing is being caused by an allergic reaction, you may want to ask your doctor about taking an antihistamine. This comes in the form of an over-the-counter pill that can help alleviate your allergy symptoms and stop the throat clearing.
3. Take an asthma medication:
If you have been diagnosed with asthma and are experiencing a persistent cough, make sure to take your asthma medication as directed. If you have a hard time breathing or experience tightness in your chest, use your rescue inhaler as needed.
4. Use a humidifier:
One of the best ways to alleviate a sore throat is by using a humidifier. This will help keep the air moist and will make it easier for you to breathe.
5. See a doctor:
Although throat-clearing itself is typically harmless, it can sometimes be a sign of something more serious. If your throat clearing has been going on for more than two weeks or you experience other troubling symptoms along with your throat clearing (such as pain or difficulty swallowing), make an appointment to see your doctor.
How Does the Doctor Diagnose This Condition?
Your doctor will ask you a series of questions about your medical history and may also perform a physical exam. He or she will be trying to rule out any medical problems that may be causing your throat clearing (such as asthma or GERD). Your doctor may do blood tests or refer you to see an allergist.
What are the Potential Complications of This Condition?
If you experience throat clearing for an extended period of time, it could lead to several complications. Possible complications include:
Injury of the vocal cords
Frequent throat clearing can lead to a sore throat or vocal cord damage.
Oftentimes, people who suffer from sleep apnea experience throat clearing during the day and sleep apnea episodes at night (while they’re asleep). This is because when the throat muscles relax, the soft palate collapses and closes off the airway.
Your throat can also become dry and irritated due to poor air flow.
If your throat clearing persists for an extended period of time, it could be a sign of throat cancer.
Other complications are possible as well.
How is This Condition Treated?
The best way to treat a persistent throat clearing is to determine what is causing it and treat that underlying condition. For example, if you’re experiencing throat clearing because of allergies, you can treat your allergies with over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines. If you’re experiencing throat clearing due to asthma, you can take your asthma medication as directed.
You may also find that performing the following actions alleviates your throat clearing:
Humidifying your bedroom
Avoiding cigarette smoke
Staying hydrated and treating dry mouth by drinking water or non-alcoholic beverages
If you experience a sore throat or hoarseness, take steps to soothe your symptoms. You can gargle with salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water).
If your throat clearing is caused by acid reflux, you can take steps to alleviate the problem by eating smaller meals, not eating within three hours of bedtime, losing weight if you are overweight, and not lying down for three hours after a meal. You should also not sleep directly after a big meal.
If your throat clearing is the result of an allergic reaction, you can take antihistamines to alleviate your symptoms.
Most of the time, persistent throat clearing resolves itself within two weeks. If your throat clearing persists for more than two weeks, see your doctor for a checkup and further evaluation.
The thyroid is a small but important gland located in the front of your neck. It produces hormones that control your body’s energy level and other important biological processes.
When the thyroid isn’t working properly, it causes a condition known as hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
There are several causes of hypothyroidism, including autoimmune disease, radiation treatment to the head and surgical removal of the thyroid. A common cause of hypothyroidism in the U.S.
and other developed countries is the consumption of iodized salt, since the body only requires small amounts of iodine for the thyroid to function properly.
In the earliest stages of hypothyroidism, you may not experience any symptoms, although you may have mild and vague symptoms that are often ignored or attributed to something else. As the disease becomes more severe, you may develop more noticeable symptoms.
In time, untreated hypothyroidism can cause serious complications. If the disease progresses to myxedema, you may experience complete loss of movement, mental confusion and memory problems.
Hypothyroidism is a disorder of the thyroid gland that, in its most severe form, can cause a person’s body to become immobilized and take on a “stiff” appearance known as myxedema.
Of course, it is rare for hypothyroidism to advance this far today thanks to the widespread use of iodized salt. The thyroid uses iodine to manufacture the hormones that control your body’s metabolism and growth.
Most cases of hypothyroidism today result from an autoimmune disorder in which a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys his or her own thyroid gland. Other possible causes of hypothyroidism include removal of all or part of the thyroid for medical reasons, radiation treatment to the head and neck, and certain medications.
Mild hypothyroidism causes few or no symptoms. In fact, many people are unaware they even have the condition.
The only way to detect it is through a blood test that measures the level of thyroid hormones in your blood.
As hypothyroidism becomes more severe, you may notice symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, constipation, dry skin and hair, low body temperature, slowed heartbeat, sensitivity to cold, difficulty thinking, depression and infertility.
Sources & references used in this article:
Head and neck manifestations of gastroesophageal reflux disease by V Ahuja, MW Yencha, LF Lassen – American Family Physician, 1999 – aafp.org
Is chronic gastroesophageal reflux a causative factor in glottic carcinoma? by MD Morrison – Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, 1988 – journals.sagepub.com
Mixed‐methods content and sentiment analysis of adolescents’ voice diaries describing daily experiences with asthma and self‐management decision‐making by JR Mammen, JJ Java, H Rhee, AM Butz… – Clinical & …, 2019 – Wiley Online Library
Laryngopharyngeal reflux: more questions than answers by DW Barry, MF Vaezi – Cleve Clin J Med, 2010 – gastrofoundation.co.za