Uncover the Surprising Triggers of Your Persistent Phlegmy Throat

Vickie Glosson

Possible Causes of Persistent Phlegmy Throat

  • Esophageal causes

    • Reflux
    • Eosinophilic esophagitis
    • Other forms of esophageal dysmotility
    • Workup: upper endoscopy with biopsies, barium swallow, 24 hour multichannel impedance testing, manometry, spit tests
  • Sino-nasal conditions

    • Allergies
    • Chronic sinusitis
    • Vasomotor rhinitis
    • Workup: trans-nasal endoscopy, allergy testing, CT sinus scan, trial of two different nasal sprays (anti-histamine and ipratropium)
  • Food sensitivities

    • Wheat, dairy, egg
  • Autoimmune disorders

(e.g. Sjogren’s Syndrome)

  • Laryngeal sensory neuropathy

(nerve damage of the throat causing an illusory sensation of constant mucus)

Treatment of Persistent Phlegmy Throat

  • Full workup may require multiple specialists (ENT, gastroenterologist, allergist, rheumatologist, neurologist)
  • Multiple causes may be present, requiring multiple treatments
  • Successful resolution is possible with proper diagnosis and treatment


What is a phlegmy throat?

A phlegmy throat refers to the presence of mucus or phlegm in the throat that can cause symptoms such as constant throat-clearing and coughing.

What are the possible causes of a persistent phlegmy throat?

Possible causes of a persistent phlegmy throat include esophageal disorders, sino-nasal conditions (e.g. allergies, sinusitis), food sensitivities, autoimmune disorders, and laryngeal sensory neuropathy.

How is a persistent phlegmy throat diagnosed and treated?

A persistent phlegmy throat requires a comprehensive evaluation and numerous tests in order to properly diagnose and treat the issue. This may include workups such as upper endoscopy, allergy testing, CT sinus scans, and more. Once the cause(s) have been determined, treatment can be initiated with the goal of resolving the issue. It is possible that multiple specialists may be needed and that multiple treatments may be required if multiple causes are present.

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Is it normal to have a phlegmy throat occasionally?

It is normal to produce some mucus in the throat, and it is not uncommon to experience a phlegmy throat occasionally, especially when sick or experiencing allergies. However, a persistent phlegmy throat that lasts for months or years is not normal and may indicate an underlying issue that requires medical attention.

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