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

Mucus can result from allergies or tonsil pain, but there are numerous reasons for mucus that reveals what is happening inside your body.

Even when healthy, your body constantly produces mucus, up to 1.5 liters per day. Most of the time, this mucus drips down your throat without noticing. However, 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.

Many factors can change the consistency of mucus, such as allergies or milk consumption in 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:

The mucus travels from the back of the nose to the throat. If a postnasal drip occurs after a meal, it could result from allergies, 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 and other morning sickness symptoms. Estrogen is responsible for mucus in the throat during pregnancy.

Seasonal allergies:

Something you are allergic to can change your mucus levels, but using antihistamines or eliminating the allergen will make it disappear.

Acute bronchitis:

This type of bronchitis causes bronchi inflammation 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 due to a virus.


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


A virus causes inflammation of the larynx.

Pharyngitis :

A bacterial infection causes inflammation of the pharynx.

Pneumonia :

A bacterial or viral infection causes pulmonary inflammation.


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

Tonsillitis :

The infection causes inflammation of the tonsils.


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. The mucus in the throat often results from a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection.

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

The mucus symptoms in the throat are phlegm, throat congestion, 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 others can help relieve it.

Although each person is different and has unique triggers, some common foods 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 allergies.
  • 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

There are several reasons if you wake up daily with mucus in your throat, which you think should be expelled.

To begin with, the mucus in your throat in the morning could result from 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, mainly when someone 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, and a heavy smoking, 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 or herbs after the meal, 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 are the safest, and other colors may indicate a particular infection. Here are some guidelines to know when mucus in the throat is a severe problem:

Thin and clear: a sign of cold or allergies; it could also be a sign of side effects 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 heating systems can cause. If the mucus appears green, yellow, or brown, it could indicate a bacterial infection.

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

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

Paying attention to your mucus can help provide information about your general health and guide 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 to 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.
  • Ensure 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 carefully: blow one nostril at a time, do not blow too much, and use only clean materials.

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

Drink plenty of water, hot 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.