Everyone has cleared their throat at one time or another. The reasons differ from person to person; frequent throat clearing can be a sign of an underlying health condition related to allergies. Apart from allergy-related conditions, frequent throat clearing can show other health-related problems or a habit.
Sometimes you may clear your throat to get another person’s attention or because you felt a tickle in your throat. Frequent throat clearing may not only indicate a health condition, but it can also damage your vocal cords depending on how much you do it.
Other Throat Conditions
Conditions such as Zenker’s Diverticulum, a person has an unusual pouch that stops food from passing from the esophagus to the stomach. When this happens, it may cause excess mucus in the throat. Chronic Motor Tic Disorder starts in children and has other associated symptoms from spasms such as facial grimacing, rapid eye blinking, groans, and grunts. Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder that also creates habits where grunting or throat clearing is a part of a habit or behavioral issue.
If you are not experiencing any conditions relating to neurological disorders, you may have acid reflux. This can cause a person to clear their throat from a buildup of stomach acid coming up from the esophagus.
Medications can cause you to feel a tickle in your throat or as though something is stuck. Coughing or trying to clear your throat will not help. Allergy medications such as Sudafed, for example, will dry your mouth out and will cause your throat to feel dry and scratchy.
- Smoking or being around second-hand smoke can irritate your throat.
- Environmental allergies like pollen and dust.
- Food allergies can trigger your throat to tighten or tickle.
- The side effect of medications can cause a dry mouth and throat.
Most often, if allergies are something that you deal with, the frequent throat clearing causes excess drainage, at night while you have been laying down and mucus drains when you are sleeping. If you suspect that your frequent throat clearing is because of any neurological related symptoms, please contact your doctor so you can receive proper testing. However, if food or environmental allergies are your concern, it may be time to call your allergy or ear nose and throat doctor.
While you are waiting to get into your doctor for an appointment, there are things you can do to ease some symptoms. Drink plenty of water if you are taking a medication that dries out your mouth. Avoid smoking or being around anyone who is smoking. Keep a journal of times when you eat when your throat restricts or you feel a tickle in your throat during or after you eat. You can use this if you suspect food allergies for notes to provide to your doctor. Avoid areas where your allergies flare or wear a mask when cleaning or mowing.