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  • Writer's pictureRoger

The Hidden Triggers of Throat Clearing and How to Stop It

A question I found myself asking quite often was - is throat clearing just a harmless habit, or is there more to it?

Throat clearing is a natural reflex that helps remove irritants or mucus, but persistent or frequent throat clearing may indicate an underlying health issue.

From allergies to acid reflux, various factors can trigger throat irritation, leading to the need for chronic throat clearing.

Let’s explore the role of natural reflexes and health-related causes in throat clearing and how they can impact your vocal cords and overall throat health.

Natural reflex

While throat clearing is a natural reflex in response to irritation or a sensation of something lodged in the back of the throat, excessive throat clearing can be an indication of an underlying issue. To effectively clear your throat, practical remedies like nasal irrigation, drinking more fluids, and gargling warm salt water can be beneficial.

Remember, occasional throat clearing is a normal bodily function, but if it becomes persistent or frequent, it’s essential to identify and address the root cause.

So, next time you find yourself frequently clearing your throat, consider exploring some practical remedies to help alleviate the issue.

Health-related causes

Persistent throat-clearing can be attributed to a range of factors, such as:

  • Allergies

  • Acid reflux

  • Postnasal drip

  • Certain medications, which may also cause a runny nose

  • Allergens like pollen, dust, and animal dander can induce nasal allergies, leading to upper respiratory symptoms such as reflux symptoms and persistent throat clearing.

Symptoms of acid reflux disease, such as a painful burning sensation in the chest and throat, can also contribute to the need for constant throat clearing. In cases like these, it’s essential to consult a medical professional, as treatment for chronic throat clearing depends on the underlying cause, which may include a chronic cough.



Drinking water throughout the day can help with:

  • Thinning mucus

  • Reducing the need for throat clearing

  • Softening mucus, making it easier to expel from the body

  • Preventing throat irritation

So next time you find yourself constantly clearing your throat, try increasing your water intake to keep your throat moist and mucus at bay. Not only will this help reduce throat clearing, but it will also contribute to your overall health and well-being by preventing excess mucus production.

Warm drinks with honey or lemon

Consuming warm beverages like tea with honey or lemon can soothe the throat and reduce irritation. Honey, in particular, has been known to act as a natural cough suppressant, providing relief to a sore throat and diminishing inflammation and irritation.

Don’t underestimate the power of a warm cup of tea! Next time you’re plagued by persistent throat clearing, consider sipping on a soothing beverage infused with honey or lemon to ease your throat and alleviate discomfort.

Gargling with saltwater

Gargling with warm saltwater can be an effective means of:

  • Removing mucus

  • Providing relief to the throat

  • Clearing mucus accumulation in the respiratory tract and nasal cavity

  • Decreasing inflammation

  • Alleviating pain in the throat

  • Eliminating bacteria and viruses

Next time you’re struggling with throat clearing, try gargling with saltwater for a natural and cost-effective remedy. Not only will it help remove mucus and soothe your throat, but it can also contribute to improved overall respiratory health.


Depending on the underlying cause, medical treatments like allergy medications, acid reflux medications, and nasal sprays can help reduce throat clearing.

Allergy medications, including some blood pressure medications, can help reduce throat clearing caused by allergies. These medications can be taken orally.

Allergy medications

Antihistamines, nasal sprays, and decongestants are common medications used to treat allergies. These medications can be beneficial in alleviating allergy symptoms that are associated with throat clearing, such as inflammation, mucus production, and congestion.

If you suspect your persistent throat clearing is a result of allergies, consult with a healthcare professional to discuss appropriate allergy medications. By addressing the root cause, you can minimize throat clearing and improve your overall quality of life.

Acid reflux medications

Over-the-counter and prescription medications can help manage acid reflux and reduce throat irritation. These medications, known as acid reflux medications, may not directly decrease throat clearing caused by acid reflux, but they can help manage the underlying condition and improve overall digestive health.

If you’re experiencing frequent throat clearing and suspect it’s due to acid reflux, talking to your healthcare provider about appropriate medications can help you find relief and prevent further damage to your throat.

Nasal sprays

Saline nasal sprays can help with the following:

  • Clearing post nasal drip

  • Reducing the need for throat clearing

  • Loosening and thinning mucus

  • Decreasing post-nasal drip and throat irritation

  • Restoring moisture to dry nasal passages and sinuses.

When dealing with throat clearing caused by postnasal drip, consider trying a saline nasal spray to address the issue effectively. By targeting the root cause, you can minimize throat clearing and breathe easier.


Dietary modifications

Avoiding trigger foods and eating smaller, more frequent meals can help manage acid reflux and reduce throat irritation. Implementing dietary modifications, such as avoiding acidic foods, sticking to a bland diet with low acid levels, low fat, and non-spicy foods, can alleviate silent reflux, a potential cause of excessive throat-clearing.

By being mindful of your diet and making necessary adjustments, you can tackle the root cause of throat clearing and improve your overall digestive health.

Smoking cessation

Quitting smoking can help improve overall respiratory health and reduce throat clearing. Smoking cessation can also decrease laryngeal inflammation and irritation caused by smoking, leading to a reduction in throat clearing.

If you’re a smoker struggling with persistent throat clearing, consider quitting as a crucial step towards improved respiratory health and a more comfortable throat.

Stress reduction techniques

Practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help manage stress and reduce throat clearing caused by anxiety. Stress reduction techniques, such as mindfulness exercises, proper breathing techniques, and physical activity, can help reduce muscle tension and restore muscle balance in the throat, potentially alleviating throat clearing caused by stress.

So, next time you feel stressed and notice an increase in throat clearing, try incorporating stress reduction techniques into your daily routine to help alleviate this pesky habit and improve your overall well-being.

A deeper insight into the causes, combined with an exploration of medical options and lifestyle adaptations, can help you successfully tackle this frequently encountered issue.


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