ZocdocAnswersWhy can't I stop clearing my throat?

Question

Why can't I stop clearing my throat?

For the past month i have been clearing my throat about 10 times per 30 seconds, with about a minute break in between - if I'm lucky. I have tried lozenges, allergy medications, decongestants, every cold medicine under the sun, steaming, antacids and every homemade recipe on the internet for such things that I could find. I have seen a general doctor and they suggested antacids. They haven't helped though, and they have been in my system for long enough at a high enough dosage. The doctor also said it is not post-nasal drip. I'm actually not been congested or hacking up lots of phlegm, and have not had any sort of illness recently. It is really annoying to those around me, but especially me, because I am always doing it. I have also not noted any relation to what i eat or when I eat that affects my throat clearing. It's not a cough, and it's more towards the top of my throat. My tonsils and uvula are normal sized.

Answer

Thank you for your question. At this point, an ear nose and throat surgeon (AKA ENT AKA otolaryngology-head and neck surgeon) would likely be best able to help you with your symptoms. The sensation of having something in your throat is often described as globus by doctors, and can come from many different things. Most often, this sensation is caused by irritation, which can come from many sources. One of the most common sources is acid reflux, which many people have even in the absence of the classic heartburn symptoms that are described. This irritation can create phlegm as the body tries to protect itself, and that phlegm can add to the sensation of globus. Once the body starts to sense the feeling and tries to clear the throat so frequently, some feel that the nerves in that part of the body can get sensitized. This can result in a cycle of throat clearing when there is no stimulus, which then generates the need to clear the throat again. One of the first things is usually to examine the larynx, and ensure that there is nothing causing your symptoms. After that, management of reflux can be helpful for some people as a first step. Please speak with your doctor.

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