Phlegm in the Throat: Causes, Symptoms, Foods Involved, Complications and Treatment

Mucus can be the result of allergies or tonsil pain, but there are numerous reasons for mucus, which reveals what is happening inside your body.

Even when healthy, your body constantly produces mucus, in fact, up to 1.5 liters per day. Most of the time, this mucus drips down the back of your throat without you noticing. But during times of illness, that mucus can clog the throat.

Your body does not necessarily produce more mucus when you are sick, but the consistency of the mucus changes and you begin to notice it.

There are many factors that can change the consistency of mucus, such as allergies or milk consumption for some people. Here, we will delineate some of the many causes of mucus in the throat, so you can identify what is happening in your body.

Causes of mucus in the throat

If you wonder what causes mucus in the throat, well, here are 19 causes:

Goteo postnasal:

This is when the mucus travels from the back of the nose to the throat. If postnasal drip occurs after a meal, it could be the result of an allergy, sinusitis, or vasomotor rhinitis .

Cold or Flu:

The mucus thickens when there is an infection in the body, such as a cold or flu. Changes in mucus color can also indicate a cold or flu.

The pregnancy:

Congestion, coughing and sneezing are common during pregnancy along with other symptoms of morning sickness. Estrogen is responsible for mucus in the throat during pregnancy.

Seasonal allergies:

Something that you are allergic to can change your mucus levels, but the use of antihistamines or the elimination of the allergen will make it disappear.

Acute bronchitis:

This is the type of bronchitis that causes inflammation of the bronchi and is usually caused by a viral infection or, sometimes, by a bacterial infection. Acute bronchitis can be contagious.


This occurs when the voice box and trachea widen as a result of a virus.


This is a rare and life-threatening condition caused by a viral infection.


Inflammation of the larynx caused by a virus.

Pharyngitis :

Inflammation of the pharynx caused by a bacterial infection.

Pneumonia :

Pulmonary inflammation caused by a bacterial or viral infection.


Inflammation of the sinuses due to a viral, bacterial or fungal infection.

Tonsillitis :

Inflammation of the tonsils caused by an infection.


Severe infection of the lungs and other organs

Other causes:

Streptococcal pharyngitis, mononucleosis, smoking, air pollution, chemical inhalants and anxiety.

Symptoms that may occur with mucus in the throat

You may also experience other accompanying symptoms depending on the cause of the mucus in your throat. Often, the mucus in the throat is the result of a bacterial, viral or fungal infection.

Symptoms may include fever, chills, congestion, cough, runny nose, itchy eyes, headache, and shortness of breath.

The symptoms of mucus in the throat are phlegm, congestion of the throat, difficulty breathing and coughing with phlegm.

Involved Foods

Milk nutrition can also play a role in the mucus of the throat. Some foods can contribute to mucus in the throat and other foods can help relieve it.

Although each person is different and can have their own unique triggers, these are some of the common foods that should be avoided with mucus in the throat and foods to enjoy, as they can help reduce mucus.

Foods that cause excessive mucus production:

  • Dairy products such as milk, ice cream, yogurt and cheese.
  • Red meat with high fat content and processed meat.
  • Gluten products, especially in people with gluten allergy.
  • Alcohol.
  • Caffeine, particularly the variety found in soft drinks.
  • Fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, cabbage and potatoes.

Foods that relieve mucus:

Fruits and vegetables such as garlic, celery, onion, parsley, winter squash, berries, oranges, greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and peppers

  • Chicken Soup.
  • Fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, lake trout and herring.
  • Olive oil.

Phlegm in the throat every morning

If you wake up every day with mucus in your throat, which you think should be expelled, there are several different reasons for that.

To begin with, the mucus in your throat in the morning could be the result of an infection or allergy, asthma , chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or it could be a sign of congestive heart failure.

Congestive heart failure, in particular, can cause daily mucus in the throat every morning, because the heart has difficulty moving large amounts of blood throughout the body, causing the accumulation of fluid.

This fluid builds up in the lungs, especially when a person lies around all night. The result is a wet cough in the morning or throughout the night.

Phlegm in the throat after eating

There are many reasons why a person may experience mucus in the throat after eating, such as food allergies, subsequent nasal drip, medication side effects, chronic rhinitis, laryngopharyngeal reflux, being a heavy smoker, and viral or bacterial infections.

To reduce mucus in the throat after a meal, increase fluid intake to help loosen mucus, inhale steam after a meal, avoid foods you are allergic to, gargle with warm salt water, drink tea of herbs after the meal and stop smoking or start reducing.


The color of the mucus in the throat is a strong indicator of the seriousness of the health problem.

In general, thin and transparent is the safest, and other colors may indicate a particular infection. Here are some guidelines to know when mucus in the throat is a serious problem:

Thin and clear: sign of cold or allergies, it could also be a sign of side effect of the medication or a reaction to certain foods.

Thick and colored: if the mucus is very thick, it could be a sign of dryness, which can be caused by heating systems. If the mucus appears green, yellow or brown, it could indicate a bacterial infection.

Rattle sound in the chest: if the mucus falls to the chest, it can be difficult to swallow and can cause a “rattle”, which may indicate pneumonia .

Burning sensation: if the mucus is burning, it could be the result of heartburn or GERD.

Paying attention to your mucus can help provide information about your general health and give you directions on how to treat mucus.


Here are some changes in lifestyle and natural home remedies to eliminate mucus in the throat.

Use a Neti pot, which can help eliminate mucus. Saline or distilled water is generally used to help rinse the nasal passages.

Insert the Neti pot through a nostril and tilt your head over the sink to allow the solution to flow outward and outward. Essentially, you are irrigating the nasal passages to eliminate germs and irritants.

  • Apply warm compresses on your face to relieve the pain of sinus pressure.
  • Sleep with your head elevated to prevent mucus buildup.
  • Use a humidifier in your home to prevent dryness.
  • Boil water and cover your head with a towel to inhale the steam.

Avoid irritants: stop smoking, stay indoors during periods of high allergen risk , make sure your home and workplace are in order and wear a mask if you need to clean it.

Protect your sinuses from temperature changes by covering your face during colder temperatures.

Blow your nose with care: just blow one nostril at a time, do not blow too much, use only clean materials.

Use over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines , decongestants, medicated nasal sprays, and saline nasal sprays.

Drink plenty of water, especially warm water and tea.

Try a hot punch: mix hot water, an injection of whiskey, fresh lemon and honey. Some research suggests that this drink may help relieve congestion.

Drink herbal tea: not only can it help dissolve mucus, but it can also inhale the vapor.

These changes in lifestyle and natural remedies can help eliminate mucus in the throat and make you feel better almost instantly.