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.

Frequent Throat Clearing



The spring is something many people look forward to while it sends others running away because of allergic reactions to the pollen in the air during allergy season.  When an allergy sufferer braves the pollen-filled landscape, they may sneeze, have a runny nose, itchy eyes and feel exhausted if they are not prepared.  Some may struggle more in the fall and some all year long.  What are some simple things to remedy allergies?

Aside from following your doctor’s recommendations which may already include this list, try these remedies out and experiment.

  1. Use neti pots for sinuses
  2. Keep your windows closed on windy days.
  3. Use a prescription nose spray or saline rinse.
  4. Wash your face after you come in from being outside.
  5. Eat foods high in vitamin C.
  6. Change your air filter frequently.
  7. Use a pillow casing for allergies.
  8. Wash your clothes in hot water that have been exposed to potential allergens (hats, coats, jackets, etc.)
  9. Try to avoid going outside in the morning when pollen is higher.
  10. Vacuum regularly and use a HEPA filter.

As simple as these steps seem, it is amazing how simple lifestyle changes can alter your state of living.  You can order or shop for neti pots and saline.  In addition, there are other retailers to purchase pillowcase covers and air filters.

Allergy Maintenance Is Ongoing

  • Eating a healthy diet that includes a lot of Vitamin C is important in combating the body’s reactions to allergens in your body.
  • How many times have felt tired on days where your allergies are flared?  Your body is responding to those allergens and your adrenal glands need all the help they can get.  On those days where your allergies are getting you down, remember to take your multivitamin that includes vitamin C.
  • When you lay down at night to go to sleep, do you give your pillow any consideration it may harbor tons of allergens? Dust mites, pollen from the outside you carried in with your hair.  Dust itself?  If your pillow is damp from sweat or anything else.  There could be mold.  Even washing your pillow may not be enough.  Having a case that zips closed around your pillow will help keep those pesky allergens at bay.

Breeze Through Allergy Season

There are ways your doctor can help you. If you have tried several methods and have not talked to your doctor, there are things they can do to help.

  • Prescription nose sprays
  • Decongestants
  • Oral antihistamines
  • Allergy testing

If you are suffering from allergies and you feel you could use additional help, talk to your doctor.  Each person is unique and there may be other ways your doctor can help you feel better.  Don’t suffer, breeze through allergy season!


Cape Fear Otolaryngology is a state of the art practice specializing in ear, nose, and throat treatments for children, teens, and adults. Our practice was designed with patients in mind and our team of highly skilled physicians and staff look forward to serving you and your family.

© 2019 Cape Fear Otolaryngology