Does it seem like you need to clear your throat all the time? This is a common complaint by patients to ENT doctors. Although there are no other symptoms but mucus in your throat, it can really be very annoying to you as well as to others. Some are also bothered by phlegm in throat after eating, which causes them to constantly clear their throats.

What Causes Mucus in Throat After Eating?



Although rare, food allergy or sensitivity can cause irritation to the throat, leading to excessive mucus production. The most common cause is eating eggs and dairy products, as well as rice, wheat or soy. Other foods to avoid to prevent mucus in throat after eating include fried foods, oily foods, alcohol and caffeinated drinks, which can irritate your throat or dry up the mucus and prevent its drainage.


Postnasal Drip

Postnasal drip occurs when mucus travels down the nose to the back of the throat. Examination of the throat will reveal drainage, which causes you to clear your throat all the time. Postnasal drip after eating may be caused by sinusitis, allergies, or vasomotor rhinitis. Treatment depends on the cause, which may consist of antibiotics, allergy treatment, or nasal sprays such as patanase, atrovent,and astelin, respectively. Turbinate reduction is a surgical procedure that may be done to reduce postnasal drip after eating.


Medication Side Effects

Certain medications have side effects that cause you to clear your throat all the time. To avoid mucus in throat after eating, avoid ACE-inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers. These drugs are used for treating high blood pressure. Ask your doctor about changing your medication such as beta-blockers or calcium channel blockers instead.


Chronic Rhinitis

Most cases of chronic rhinitis are due to allergies and the only symptom is mucus in the throat. Chronic rhinitis usually occurs all year long when you are exposed to allergens such as house dust mites, but not due to seasonal allergens like pollen.

Most people with phlegm in throat after eating improve with anti-allergy medications, which consist of an anti-histamine nasal spray (azelastine) or a steroid spray (fluticasone).

If your symptoms do not improve, your rhinitis may not be allergic in nature. However, it may be more difficult to identify the cause, which may be due to air irritants, changes in temperature, or others.


Laryngopharyngeal Reflux

Laryngopharyngeal reflux is a condition where acid or non-acidic material from the stomach travels backward (reflux) to the esophagus. When the stomach acid reaches your throat, you feel some irritation which triggers mucus in throat after eating.

Note that most patients with laryngopharyngeal reflux don’t complain of nausea, heartburn, indigestion or other symptoms usually associated with reflux. Since the swallowing tube (esophagus) has a protective layer that prevents damage from acid reflux, it is able to tolerate several episodes of reflux without problems. However, in the throat region, symptoms may be triggered by a single episode of reflux. If reflux is non-acidic, burning type of symptoms may not be experienced.

To combat this problem, avoid spicy and fatty foods as well irritants such as alcohol. Keep your head elevated especially when sleeping.


Other Causes

Mucus in the throat is common among heavy smokers, who frequently feel they need to spit out. Excessive mucus production also occurs due to viral or bacterial infection of the upper respiratory tract. This can cause sinusitis, bronchitis, and asthma, which are characterized by mucus production in the throat.

How to Deal with Mucus in Throat After Eating

It is important to find out what is really causing your symptoms to be able to determine the best way to treat your condition. Consult your doctor who will evaluate you and determine the underlying condition and its corresponding treatment.
  • Adequate hydration by drinking lots of fluids helps thin out and loosen mucus in the throat.

  • One of the best home remedies to get rid of mucus in your throat is steam inhalation. Try adding essential oils like eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, or lavender oil to some boiling water then inhale the steam.

  • Gargle with lukewarm water and a pinch of salt to loosen congealed mucus.

  • If you experience mucus in throat after eating, drink hot herbal tea such as ginger tea, chamomile tea, or lemon tea for greater relief.

  • Stop smoking. This is an important step to improve mucus production and other symptoms.


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  • WallyJan.15 14:55
    I have had this problem worsen withing the last two years and I am 36yrs of age, I have notice two things that actually relieve the symtomps but are by no means a cure. Shortly after eating I feel the phlegm rising to my throat but if I constantly move around, walking, carrying, lifting which are all things I have to do for hours (10hrs a day to be exact) in my line of work, the phlegm goes away in about an hour or two on its own. If I am home or at a social gathering the only thing that stops the clearing of the throat and the stomach bloating is an asthma pump. I have also gone to specialist and they have yet to determine the root of the problem. I will be having a cat scan of my stomach by the end of this month to see if something shows up to explain what might be triggering it. Other common issues and results stemming from this problem for me have been; bloating of the stomach, trouble breathing, and weight loss.
  • K BNov.15 06:28
    My problem with excessive phlegm began about 2 years ago. I used to have to clear my throat about 20 mins after eating. But it has worsened in the past 3 months to the point where, five minutes into my meal, I cannot swallow my food without leaving the table & clearing the thick phlegm! And the aftermath can be as long as 20 minutes of coughing up phlegm! (I was tested for food allergies & none were detected!) I recently learned that phlegm is a big deal in Chinese mediciine. So I found a Chinese herbal "doctor" in Chinatown who examine my tongue & throat & swallowing & gave me 5 days' worth of 10 different herbs to boil up & take 2x/day. I JUST BEGAN taking it today. It's worth a try to check it out. There's a lot on the web re: Chinese medicine & phlegm, but only my Chinese acupuncturist HIGHLY recommended herbal treatment. She said herbs work a lot faster! So here's hoping it works. I have run out of other Western medical alternatives. And they just want to throw medicine at it, & not get to the root of the problem. In addition, you have to eat the right food & avoid the wrong kind (ie: dairy, which produces phlegm, & others, which you will read about on the web). I hope this is helpful!
  • brad remillardNov.17 15:44
    @ : KB I would be very interested to know the outcome of this treatment. Will you post the results? BR
  • wleSep.20 16:31
    how do you know if it is ''mucus''? i think sometimes actual food just hangs around partially stuck and has to be cleared out of the way
  • NancyOct.25 21:14
    @ : I have experienced this for at least 3 years and there is no explanation by any physician that really helps. No food, no particular allergen, and now it is happening without food or water! The only thing that seems to stop it's onslaught is salt or salty food?? It is the most irritating thing with the exception of faulty digestion that I have to deal with every day of my life. I wish there was something that could help this situation but everyone has told me that there is nothing. Also - any medication that might be helpful will just irritate and make worse my faulty digestion!! It's pretty much a no win situation. I can't go around eating chips and salt all the time as I have high blood pressure.... And you will know if it is mucous - you can feel it come from the back of your nose - it you were to expel it into a Kleenex - it would also be apparently thick like an amoeba - you could pull on it and it would hang together how gross is that?
  • mattNov.3 09:50
    @ : You obviously don't have the problem or you wouldn't ask such a dumb question. You know it's mucus because you can hack and swallow or spit it out. I wish it was just food stuck in my throat.
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