How to Get Rid of Excessive Phlegm in the Throat?

Q: Hello, I’m a 17 years old male. I feel that a sticky phlegm sticks to my throat. I always clear and spit it. I can’t also breathe because sometime nose feels blocked- sometimes the left, sometimes the right nostril. If I speak too much, my voice changes. I also have a lump on the right side of my neck. It is smooth to feel and it doesn’t cause any pain. Please help me. I want to know how to cure this kind of illness. Thank you.
-By: Greg


This problem looks like having an allergic basis.

Mucus is a normal secretion produced by the body. In fact, it is very essential and is produced everywhere in the body, that is- in the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, reproductive tract etc.

Whenever a foreign body, say a virus or some allergen enters our nose, the body reacts back by producing leukocytes (antibodies). The mucoid secretion, which we see is a mixture of this allergen plus the antibody produced, contained in a thick sticky substance.

As the allergic or infective process gets alright, the mucoid snot also gradually go away. This is a normal process.

However, in some individual, excess of mucus is produced. Also, drainage may not be adequate. This leads to blocked sinuses and sticky throats.

Steps to Clear Away Thick Mucus

You need to clear this sticky phlegm. Following steps and a little change in diet may help you do so-

  • Salt water gargling, at least thrice a day would help clearing the phlegm. You need to do them regularly for 15 days to get results.
  • Drink a lot of water. A thick sticky mucous may imply that you are not sufficiently hydrated. Taking water would help in thinning of this flem.
  • To open up your nostrils and sinuses, take steam inhalation. You may use vicks vaporub along with it. Do this before bedtime and when you get up. If required, repeat it in the daytime too. Try to breathe through the nose, if possible.
  • Make a habit of gently blowing off your nose in the morning.
  • Some food stuff aid in mucous formation. You may avoid them for some time. They are- fried stuff, refined foods, dairy food and heavy meals.
  • Fresh fruits would be beneficial for you. Add prune or apple juice.

Some people try neti pots to drain their mucous. These are available in the market.

Take Care,

Buddy M.D.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “How To Clear Excess Thick Sticky Mucus From the Throat?

  1. Peggy

    I have continued thick saliva for 2 years and it keeps getting worse. My mouth and tongue are dry. I have had no other symptoms until recently.

    I’m bagging on this thick saliva and now starting to have indigestion. I also have runny nose especially in the AM. I have seen every kind of doctor and just no results at all. Just a lot of medical bills. My debris suggested some lozenges and gum which I do all day and it makes me more comfortable. Also this week I felt heavy in chest. I can’t deal with this anymore.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Do you have any problem with your sinuses?

      Allergic problems of the upper respiratory tract are often linked with thick saliva. You may first try treatment for your running nose. Some anti-allergics may be taken. This may solve your problem.

      Read here about other reasons of having a thick saliva.

    2. lin morgan

      Hi there….For 6 months now iv had the mucus problem in my lower throat….im freaking out and need help asap and need it gone…
      i have a phobia of not been able to breath through a choking experience over 20 years ago ….any thing that connects to not been able to breath i get into a panic attack…Through the choking i ended up with a food phobia and still have it…Then ended up with Thyroid glan disease ….and now this….i live by myself so its really hard to get support and help when i freak out…
      cold ,rainy days it gets worse….every time i think its gone its back….
      i cant get it up or down it just sits there in a lump which of course freaks me out because of my phobia…
      im to scared to try and get it up in case i choke…
      i dont need this iv got enough medical problems as it is….
      please help….

  2. Rajesh

    Sir, towards the end of 2010, I seemed to have a throat infection, which was diagnosed as a viral infection and I took medicine. The pain went down, but I kept coughing and the doctor said it was secondary bacterial infection. Well, I met more than a couple of doctors, but the cough (dry) continued. Finally one doctor asked me to take Kaypen for 10 days and I was fine. However I had the same symptoms in the next 10/11 months and it would go only after taking Kaypen again. In 2012 end, it occurred again and by this time Kaypen was not available in market and an alternative, Pentids was needed for me to get rid of this sickness.

    Now, I had some similar symptoms, however it went down even (cefchamps for 5 days) without having to go for the penicillin. I still can feel some phlegm, no color, just look like saliva, in my throat and on the sinus. But I don’t have any cough.

    I am afraid, is the bacteria still inside me, dormant may be. This coming back to me every year, is worrying me. I am 40, male, very healthy, exercise regularly, BMI around 22-22.5. Would much appreciate your thoughts.
    Thank you

  3. Alfred

    Greetings. I’m Alfred turning 17, I feel that a phlegm is stuck in my throat, sometimes I clear or swallow it, I can’t also breath from my nose sometimes because its blocked. I always trying to blow my nose there is a mucous but it is not sticky it’s just like a cream. I have also two lumps in my neck, (1 is in the right-back portion, and the other is beside of my impulse. When I also speak too much my voice changes. Can someone pls help me, I want to know what is the problem and how it can be solved. Thank you.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Sounds like you have a chronically inflamed (irritated) nasal and throat mucosa. The cause may be allergic or infective.

      The lumps you mentioned in your throat are likely to be swollen lymph nodes. These glands swell up as a reaction to allergies and infections in the ENT region.

      Try taking care of your throat by salt water gargling. Avoid smoking, and drink a lot of water. Read more about caring for your throat.

      You may use a nasal spray (OMNARIS or any other brand), twice a day for 10 to 15 days. This will reduce the secretions produced and give relieve.

      If things don’t get better, antibiotics may be prescribed.

  4. Lee Goldman

    I get this dry tickle on left side of my throat that causes me to cough and sometimes I sneeze. I feel like I have to clear my throat so I drink something to get rid of the thick mucous and break it up. Could this be related to my sinus or
    an allergy?

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Yes, your symptoms are very likely to be linked with allergic sinusitis. The mucoid secretions produced inside the sinuses, in response to some allergic trigger, have a tendency to drip behind into the throat. These secretions are thick and mucoid in nature.

      The secretions irritate the throat and may cause cough. Are you taking any treatment for sinusitis?

      Treating the underlying cause would heal this throat problem. However, you may read above about measures to manage the thick mucous.

  5. ed vail

    I cannot digest fat and I get chills after eating or even in a warm house. I have been to all the doctors seeking help. None know what is really wrong. A lot of ideas but nothing that helps. I have heard of different diets, but I have lost a lot of weight and cannot get it back. It is really worrying me.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Chills may be due to either of the two reasons.

      The first reason could be that you are taking big sized meals. After the meal, your body requires blood to go to the stomach and intestines to aid digestion. So there is less of blood in the periphery, that is skin. So, you may have a temporary chill feel. Try taking frequent but small sized meals.

      Second, you may be having some infection in your blood that’s giving you the chill. For that, you need to go to the ER and get yourself evaluated. Blood work would be needed.

      Do you have any pain in your stomach or in the middle of your chest? Let us know for a better insight into your problem.

  6. lan

    Hi, I been having front forehead headache, worst in aircon environments. Block nose, my ears mostly the right feels like I am under water. Now I have a lot of discomfort in my throat, feels like phlegm slowly pressing on my windpipe. This causes much concern. I cough sometimes a small amount of sticky white phlegm comes out and when I talk to much my throat ache. I steam my face, take Flixonase, antihistamines. I have seen ENT consultant. Finding I should see allergies specialist. Got rid of my cat change diet without dairy.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Sounds like a chronic allergic problems. Look for reasons around you against which you may be allergic. Try removing them from your residing place.

      You may continue with your medications to manage the situation. Also, read above about other home methods to manage the situation.

  7. Virat

    Hello sir,
    My tongue is regularly white coated and I get sour saliva in my mouth. Also, phlegm sticks in my throat. Above all, the major problem is bad breath. My breath get worsen in the morning. Doctor here could not fix the problem as he said there is no problem in my digestion system and my throat is also not infected. Also, I have no problem in breathing in and out. Please suggest how to get rid of this kind of halitosis problem?

  8. Oscar

    Hi, I’m a 29 years old male with problem of dry and sticky mucus throat, thick saliva, bloody mucus and saliva sometimes, runny mucus towards my throat and old mucus substance like from my esophagus that makes me vomit. I’ve had only dry sticky throat previously during seasonal changes, but started to change this year, but I’ve never consulted a doctor before. I also gain wait and I’m snoring. I would appreciate your help.

  9. Dara

    For a few years now, I have a problem with a thick clear gel like drip in my back throat. It is constantly there and bothers me. I try to spit it out forcefully, especially night and morning time and I have trouble sleeping because if I touch my chin towards my chest, I feel like choking and feel more drip in back of throat, so I have to sleep with one pillow only. I have to clear my throat often after drinking or eating, just as in clearing one’s throat before speaking.

    Is this caused by black mold? Is this a symptom of a future cardiac problem? Is it dust mites?

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      It may be due to some allergen like black mold, dust mite or something else, against which your respiratory mucosa is allergic.

      It is likely that the mucosa in your nose, and more prominently in your sinuses, is activated due to some allergen and is continuously secreting mucoid secretions.

      There are two ways to manage this. Either you may try taking some anti allergic pill for some time.

      Or, make a practice to wash your nose and sinuses on a daily basis with clean water. This would wash away the daily load of allergens accumulated in the nasal mucosa.

      The procedure has a special technique. Neti pots are used for the purpose.

  10. Noel St. Jules

    Most of my life, I’ve had bronchiectasis and the reason for this is when I was born, the holes in my nose to drain the sinuses. I had no holes so everything went to my lungs. I had the operation done when I was 22. So I coughed phlegm-mucus all my life and still do. In 2011 they found a growth in my right lung. They got rid of the growth but now I spit phlegm-mucus since 2011 I also have thick spit. I’ll never get rid of the phlegm=mucus. I’d like to get rid of the thick spit.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      What operation was done for your sinuses?

      This is a difficult situation. You can minimize phlegm production by your diet and lifestyle. Reduce the intake of all refined food stuff, junk food. Eat more of fruits and vegetables. Take whole grains for most of your diet.

      Read in the article above in detail about managing thick sputum.

  11. Tufail

    I’m 35 years old male. I have lot of cough and phlegm in my throat. Sometimes it starts as runny nose, less in day time and more in evening time. This illness is since one year. Many times, I took exam from doctors. They suggest cough syrup and antibiotics. I feel relief for some days, then the same condition starts. Please give me proper remedy. I will be thankful to you.

  12. Tufail

    No problem in breathing. I have much phlegm in the throat which is blocking the veins. All this causes dryness in the throat. At coughing it exits like a thick water like pus. Since one year, I am much disturbed by this disease. Is there any treatment of this disease? All the doctors treat me like a common patient and give me syrup of cough and antibiotic which does not affect properly. As a result of this disease I am losing my weight and my hairs are rapidly falling. I hope you will give me better suggestion.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Firstly, do not take any medicine. The antibiotics and tons of cough syrup that you have taken are giving you symptoms now. They may be the cause of hair fall or weight loss.

      Clear up your sinuses by steam inhalation. Do not add anything in steam, just pure steam is required. Take it twice daily, once after you get up from bed and once before bedtime. You need to clean up your sinuses. You may try neti pots for cleaning.

      Drink plenty of water (lukewarm), vegetable soups etc. These would liquefy and wash away the phlegm deposited in your throat.

      Avoid too cold, too sour or too spicy food stuff. Limit your intake of junk food. This promotes mucous production.

  13. Mary Howland

    I have COPD acid reflux and for the summer and into winter sinus problems. For three weeks I feel like everything is settling around sternum area and into my throat. Having hard time breathing. My throat feels like it is clogged with mucous. I’m clearing my throat all the time. Burp all the time. Sometimes food comes up. My abdomen seems to push toward my sternum making me feel like I’m choking. Heavy feeling in sternum. Sometimes pain. left side of outer breast hurts until I burp several times. Have palpitations. Breathing gets faster. Is it COPD or what or sinus or reflux?

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      The major cause of your symptoms could be COPD. Are you taking medicines for this problem?

      If you are overweight, loosing weight would help. Read above about measures to be taken to liquefy mucous. These would help you breath easier.

  14. Sanjay

    1. Lump like feeling in my throat (On the left side).
    2. Uncomfortable while swallowing, no pain though.
    3. Mild pain sometimes.
    4. Clicking noise while swallowing saliva.
    5. No problem while eating or drinking.
    6. No trouble breathing.
    7. Nostrils are blocked. A little sometimes and sometimes, completely.
    8. Voice change.
    9. Irregular dry mouth.

    Please help, I’m worried sick.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Likely to be phlegm or mucous sticking in your throat. Try out the steps written above to liquefy it.

      Any symptoms of sinusitis?

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Ear pain is secondary to some infective focus in your throat/ pharynx. Any fever? If yes, you may need antibiotics.

      If not, just gargle your throat twice daily with slightly salted warm water. Do this daily for a week to get results.

      1. Sanjay

        No fever.
        And thank you very much. I’ve started using neti pots and I gargle twice a day, and already feeling better. Thank you again. 🙂

  15. Alanna

    My throat always feels clogged with mucus. Every now and then I can spit it out and it is light green. I can’t hardly eat because the moment I swallow, it feels like it may come up. I am 17 and I’m scared to death. My nose stays dry and I don’t have a sore throat. I have had mucus in my throat for the past year and a half but it’s just now becoming a huge problem. Please help me. I have lost a lot of weight and haven’t been eating.

  16. Sanjay

    Hi again, I went to the doctor. He said it was laryngitis and gave me antibiotics and allergy medication. I’ve completed the course, but it still doesn’t seem to go away. What do I do?
    Sorry for bothering you so much, but my exams are close and It’s just too much stress.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Laryngitis is usually caused by a virus, so antibiotics are unlikely to help.

      You may continue taking the decongestant and pain medicines for 2 or 3 days more.

      Consider using a humidifier in your bedroom. Humidifiers/ mystifier are easily available in the market.

      Cold dry air is a constant irritant for your larynx. If you humidify the air around you, the scratchy feel associated with laryngitis would get relieved.

      Voice rest is recommended. This would help reducing inflammation of the vocal cords.

  17. Jayden Borg

    Hey guys, I have blocked euthasion tubes and are taking nasal sprays to cure that. But lately, I feel like I’m going to vomit but I never do, yesterday while playing soccer, I had to take a rest because I felt a lump at the back of my throat, but I now have this feeling of somthing at the back of my throat that feels like a mucous lump. How do I fix this pls help URGENTLY!!!!!

  18. Connie Hall

    I keep choking on thick saliva and or mucus in throat that now seems to get in bronical tubes been going on for years, was vomiting phel for two years till change PPI. Pevicid, , don’t vomit anymore, have herd, after years diagnosed with asthma, use steroid inhaler and nubulizer albutual once a day, sinusitis,rhinitis, even though had sinuses surgery.this thick saliva and mucus seems its all the way down to my lungs and stomach?am afraid am going to choke.i besides having breathing issues, how can I get rid of this, am x smoker. Am very depressed. It even gets feels like the texture is hard at times.Is it inhalers oral medicine, caffeine, ?

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Are you taking the right dosage of inhalational steroids and albutamol? These two medicines should be enough to control for breathing problems.

      To reduce mucous production, you need the inhalational medicines plus and mild anti histaminic. Apart from this, you need to change your diet. Eat less of fried and fatty food stuff. This would make a difference.

      Consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Drink lots of water.

  19. G

    I feel like there’s mucus stuck on my throat I keep like forcefully pulling it up and it’s been like that for almost 4 days. Last Tuesday I had my wisdom teeth surgery and that day I was really sick and was having a really runny nose yet after that I wasn’t anymore. I stopped taking the medications but now I feel that nasty mucus in my throat all day and it makes me gag. I also haven’t been eating too well because I can’t eat much stuff. I can’t breathe tho and I do have asthma my nose isn’t stuffed I just feel lots of pressure on my chest. What’s going on?

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      You need to liquefy that mucous, so that it drains out. Try inhaling steam. Drink warm water, whenever you feel thirsty. Avoid cold beverages, fatty food stuff. Your problem is likely to subside in a week.