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Is constantly clearing your throat just a bad habit, or a symptom of something more serious?

by , 06 December 2016
Is constantly clearing your throat just a bad habit, or a symptom of something more serious?
A-HEM!

Do you find that you're constantly clearing your throat throughout the day? To some degree, it's totally normal. I mean, a lot happens in your throat - you breathe, drink and eat through it.

But constantly clearing your throat for months on end can be the sign of something more serious. When things go wrong in your throat, they can have deadly consequences!

According to the National Health System, this is why your throat is sensitive to anything that's potentially blocking it, and it quickly sets a reflex of throat clearing into motion.

Here's how to tell if constant throat clearing is just a bad habit or something more serious...

The most common causes of constant throat clearing

There are a number of things that can irritate your throat and cause you to constantly feel the need to clear it. While a build-up of mucus is a leading cause because it can tickle your throat and cause non-stop irritation, the Clarity Allergy Center in Chicago outlines these other common causes:
 
  • You suffer from asthma;
  • You’re prone to seasonal allergies like hay fever;
  • Your tonsils are inflamed or infected;
  • You’ve got chronic sinusitis;
  • You’ve got a bad cough;
  • You’ve got post-nasal drip;
  • You suffer from acid reflux; or
  • You’re on blood pressure medication, which can pose the side effect of an irritated throat.
 
In addition to these common causes, things like anxiety, stress, smoking cigarettes, poor air quality, a dry throat, voice strain and viral infections can also cause non-stop throat clearing.
 
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So how can you tell when throat clearing is dangerous?
 

How to tell when constant throat clearing is dangerous

“Some slight damage can be done by the friction between the left and right vocal cords, which can lead to the formation of nodules on the vocal cords, and this can lead to a change in way the voice sounds,” Professor James Loock from the Division of Otorhinolaryngology at the University of Stellenbosch told Health24.com.
 
Dr Loock adds that it’s important that you determine what’s causing you to constantly clear your throat, and address it accordingly. The chances that your throat is badly damaged are slim, so it’s unlikely that any serious medical problems will come of it. However, the constant irritation can irritate not only you, but also those around you!
 
Also, according to the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio in the US, once you start clearing your throat, it can quickly become a habit. And one that’s hard to break, at that!
 

How to treat underlying mucus in your throat

Considering underlying mucus in the throat is the leading cause of throat clearing, let’s discuss how you can treat this problem. Firstly, a visit to your GP is necessary. He or she will be able to prescribe treatment for asthma, allergies or sinusitis, or make diet recommendations if you’re suffering from acid reflux.
 
Secondly, you should stay well-hydrated at all times to prevent dry throat. When you’re dehydrated, you’re very likely to have to clear your throat constantly, so have a water bottle at your desk and on your bedside table at all times.

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