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What is Excessive Phlegm?
Having excessive phlegm can be a very bothersome problem and may lead to hours of unrelenting, constant throat clearing and coughing. For some people, this is a temporary problem that lasts as long as the infection that causes it. For others however, excessive phlegm becomes an ongoing problem for which there is often little relief for how to best get rid of it.
What Causes Excessive Phlegm?
- Food Allergies
- Viral or Bacterial Infections (e.g. Candida, Influenza, Bronchitis, Pneumonia, etc.)
- Seasonal Allergies
- Acid Reflux
- Lung Cancer
- Lyme Disease
- Stress (Can cause a condition known as "Vasomotor Rhinitis")
- Strep Throat
- Post Nasal Drip
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Excessive, thick phlegm or chest mucus is often caused by viral or bacterial infections such as influenza, bronchitis and pneumonia, as well as irritants such as those inhaled during smoking. Other possible causes also include pregnancy, allergies, Candida infection and COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caused by smoking. Seasonal allergies stimulate the release of high levels of histamine into the body which can also cause excessive phlegm.
Chemotherapy also causes the immune system to overreact and excessive phlegm is often the result. Food allergies are known to cause excessive phlegm and certain types of food such as dairy products cause a thickening of mucous. Postnasal drip also commonly causes excess mucus at the back of your nose and throat many times after eating.
The color, consistency and amount of phlegm produced can be a useful diagnostic tool to help your physician determine the cause. If you have excessive phlegm for an ongoing period or you have other symptoms such as a fever, then it is always advisable to make an appointment with your doctor where a diagnosis can be made and any underlying conditions can be ruled out.
Help for Excessive Phlegm
Hacking coughs and endless throat clearing are problems that can be greatly helped by improving general lung health.
Tips for managing excessive phlegm
- If you smoke then now is a great time to kick the habit. Smoking can cause serious lung problems and can aggravate respiratory infections. It also irritates the mucus membranes and causes the lungs to produce excessive phlegm.
- Treat nasal and sinus infections as soon as they occur as these often lead to chest infections and can cause excessive phlegm.
- Do not take pharmaceutical cough suppressants as these cause phlegm to build up in the lungs and can lead to prolonged infection.
- Drink plenty of water to loosen the phlegm and help wash down any phlegm that gets deposited in the throat.
- Go to a physiotherapist. There are a number of breathing techniques and stretching exercises that they can teach you that will help loosen and expel excessive phlegm.