Is Constant Throat Clearing a Sign of Something Else?

If you find yourself constantly clearing your throat, it could be an indicator of acid reflux or postnasal drip, or even medication side effects like those caused by ACE inhibitors used to treat high blood pressure. Seek professional medical advice as soon as possible as well as consulting a speech-language pathologist who specializes in voice and swallowing disorders for an evaluation.

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Throat clearing may be an involuntary response to irritation or the feeling that something is lodged in your throat, but it may also indicate an underlying health problem. Acid reflux, postnasal drip, allergies or throat or vocal cord growths could all be causes; involuntary throat clearing could even be due to nervous habits or side effects from medications prescribed for other reasons.

Acid Reflux (Laryngopharyngeal Reflux, or LPR) is one of the primary causes of throat clearing. This condition occurs when stomach contents irritate the larynx and pharynx by coming back up through the esophagus to irritate both. Many with LPR don’t experience typical reflux symptoms like heartburn or indigestion; post-nasal drip may also contribute to throat clearing as it’s often caused by excess mucus produced from allergies or environmental irritants like tobacco smoke or air pollution; those suffering from nasal allergies or sinusitis produce more mucus which causes itching or feeling as something is stuck – worsened by eating or drinking something acidic such as nicotine or air pollution.

Chronic throat clearing could be caused by throat or vocal cord growths such as granulomas or polyps. While these growths are usually benign and non-painful, they may interfere with voice production or swallowing and need to be managed accordingly. Although medications cannot always treat them effectively, surgery may be another viable solution.

Remember, throat clearing may be a habit or an unconscious response to anxiety or stress, and its frequency varies from person to person and even vanishes on its own. Seek medical help immediately if this habit becomes bothersome or interferes with daily activities like work or sleep.

Step one in eliminating throat clearing is to pinpoint its source. This can be accomplished by closely monitoring symptoms and keeping an eye out for clues that point towards it – for instance if throat clearing increases during spring, this could indicate allergy irritation; additionally it’s essential to rule out other potential causes like blood pressure medication side effects.


Most people clear their throat to loosen secretions or phlegm that have become stuck in their throat, and when this occurs on an ongoing basis it could indicate an underlying health problem; fortunately there are treatments available if throat clearing becomes a significant problem.

If throat clearing is accompanied by other symptoms such as hoarseness or feeling of heaviness in the throat, nasal congestion, coughing, bad breath and runny nose it could be an indicator that one or more sinuses are affected. Postnasal drip caused by allergies or acid reflux can irritate throat tissue making swallowing harder while spicy food, fried foods or anything that contains garlic could also exacerbate irritation to cause further difficulties swallowing difficulties.

Throat clearing may also be a telltale sign of vocal cord growths such as nodules and cysts, or it could indicate the presence of tic disorder – sudden, repetitive twitches in sounds or movement that you cannot control – thus necessitating medical examination to ascertain their source. For those experiencing throat clearing as part of their condition’s symptoms it would be prudent to consult their physician in order to establish its cause.

Anxiety may also contribute to throat clearing. When exposed to anxiety, our bodies activate a stress response that causes our heart rate to increase and muscles to tighten – this may result in feelings of chest tightening as well as throat irritation and the sensation that something lodged there.

Treatment options exist for those experiencing frequent throat clearing. Evaluation by a physician could involve full head and neck exams, laryngoscopy or stroboscopy as well as allergies/acid reflux medication/mucus thinning medicines/voice therapy as treatments to consider. A speech-language pathologist who specializes in voice disorders evaluation and swallowing disorders could also identify sources of throat irritation while providing treatment plans – many patients report improvement after following treatment plans tailored specifically for each condition that led to throat clearing issues.


Good news is that throat clearing typically does not signal serious health concerns and can often be treated or reduced. The first step in treating throat clearing should be identifying its source; keeping an eye on symptoms and noting patterns may provide clues to a likely culprit such as allergies or acid reflux, for instance.

ENT doctors can assess if acid reflux may be the source of your problems by performing an exam to see if its lining has become damaged or irritated; an endoscope is an ideal tool to use without causing discomfort during this procedure. If acid is indeed the source, medication may be prescribed to stop or decrease its flow from the stomach.

Postnasal drip or conditions that lead to mucus buildup in the throat could also be contributing factors, as can conditions like cricopharyngeal dysfunction or Zenker diverticulum that prevent food from moving smoothly through your esophagus and cause irritation and an uncomfortable sensation that something is stuck there. These issues typically require lifestyle modifications as well as medications like decongestants or antihistamines for effective management.

Throat clearing may also be caused by vocal cord growths or disorders, including granulomas or laryngeal sensory neuropathy – more serious conditions that should be assessed and managed by medical professionals. Tic disorders – including nervous habits or repetitive twitches that cannot be controlled – can also contribute to throat clearing; such issues typically require both medications and behavioral therapy as treatment options.

Chronic throat clearing may be a symptom of anxiety. To effectively address it, the first step should be identifying its source; relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditation may be useful in lowering anxiety levels; however if these methods don’t work a psychiatrist or psychologist may provide more assistance. If the anxiety is related to specific situations like work stressors or relationships that stress us out more directly then making changes may help ease its effects.


Throat clearing can be an instinctive response to irritation or the sensation that something is lodged in the throat, but it could also be an indicator of an underlying medical condition like acid reflux, nasal allergies or vocal cord growths. When throat clearing becomes an ongoing habit that’s hard to break. If throat clearing persists for more than several weeks it might be worthwhile getting medical advice as to its cause.

Treatment may depend on the cause of throat clearing. Allergic reactions, acid reflux and other physical growths may respond well to medication; in other cases it could be psychological or an anxiety symptom; therefore a psychologist or mental health professional may need to treat the underlying condition that leads to throat clearing.

Physical examination of the throat may be required in order to make an accurate diagnosis, including throat examination, laryngoscopy or stroboscopy. The results from such tests will enable your physician to pinpoint what may be causing throat clearing symptoms and suggest treatments accordingly.

Although throat clearing episodes usually start out as reactions to irritation, they can quickly turn into a habit when occurring regularly and without apparent cause. Irritations could come from spicy food to postnasal drip, and over time your body may produce extra mucus in response. As it produces excess mucus to flush away these irritants from your system, throat clearing becomes necessary in order to clear out this buildup of mucus and prevent further irritation resulting in repeated episodes of throat clearing episodes.

Simple strategies can help alleviate a throat clearing habit. Keep water at hand to soothe any need to clear the throat by moistening it, and take regular sips throughout the day to alleviate postnasal drip, one of the primary sources of throat irritation. If irritation continues after trying these techniques, visit an ear, nose and throat specialist for full evaluation by both physicians and speech-language pathologists specializing in voice disorders.