Having chronic mucus sounds terrible and feels worst. A runny nose, fever, cough, mild headache, and sneezing are common symptoms of chronic mucus.
Mucus is present throughout the body. Lungs and airways mucus traps dust, virus, bacteria, and other airborne particles. While the respiratory tract depends on mucus to protect the airways, but excessive mucus release is not normal.
Mucus can be present in your lungs, chest, throat. and nose. All of them show same symptoms but the cause of occurrence may be different. Often we refer too much mucus as Phelgm.
Various factors can cause it or can be a symptom of some chronic health condition. If you feel the same contact your doctor.
To give a better understanding of the condition read the below article.
Table of Contents
What Causes Excessive Chronic Mucus In The Lungs?
Excessive mucus in the lungs can be caused due to a combination of factors. Moreoff, this does not happen all of a sudden. It is caused by a series of factors affecting the respiratory tract for a prolonged time or may also be a sign of developing a chronic health condition.
Down below is a list of causes of excessive mucus in the lungs.
1) Allergens And Pollutants
Presence of mucus in the respiratory tract is a normal but too wet cough or chest congestion is a sign of too much mucus. When the respiratory tract has thick overloaded mucus lining than it causes cough reflex to release the excess mucus.
The overaccumulation of mucus or phlegm may be caused by an allergen, infectious agents, and pollutants present in the environment. A few of them are pollens, dust mites, smoke, car exhaust, chemical, and molds.
Even the normal body’s response to combat these microorganism results in more mucus production. Thus, the body’ response and allergens together develop an overload of mucus in the respiratory tract.
Cigarette smoking is linked to the overproduction of mucus as per studies. The lungs of a smoker are exposed to twice the level of airborne particles compared to a non-smoker. So, more mucus is produced even by the body of the chain smoker to fight these pollutants or allergens.
In addition, regular smoking can even damage the cilia. Cilia are meant to clean the lungs with a reduction in the number of cilia the lungs will accumulate more mucus and may even disrupt the cleaning of mucus too.
Overall, this excessive mucus in the lungs clogs the airways causing excessive cough. There are even chances of this mucus to get infected.
3) Lung Disease
A progressing lung diseases can also be a sign of abundant and thick mucus production. Many short and long-term diseases can increase the mucus.
A group of lung disease that impairs the flow of air in and out of the lungs are called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
COPD causes an increase in the production of mucus due to an excessive amount of mucus producing cells called the goblet cells and increase in size of the mucus glands in the airways.
In all these diseases excessive mucus production is a common cause which is triggered by airway inflammation, bacteria’s, pollutants, viruses, and body’s own immune response. COPD occurs by a combination of factors like chain smoking, acute and chronic viral infections, and bacterial infections.
The disease linked with COPD takes a prolonged time to show its symptoms. Another serious illness related to excessive mucus production in the chest is cystic fibrosis. It is an inherited condition that is characterized by abnormal thick and sticky mucus building up in the lungs.
Symptoms Of Excessive Chronic Mucus Production In The Lungs
Excessive mucus production in the lungs shows up a series of symptoms. Some people may don’t even realize they have it until diagnosed by an expert.
A few primes symptoms of excessive mucus production in the lungs are as follows:
- Constant extreme wet cough
- Difficulty in breathing due to overloaded mucus
- Chest Pain
- Chest wheezing
- Increased breathlessness when you are active
- Bad breath
- Sinus discomfort
What Causes Excessive Chronic Mucus In The Throat?
Throat mucus is also called phlegm. It is uncomfortable when the mucus blocks your throat or drips from the back of your nose. Generally, the glands of the throat and nose produce 1-2 liters of mucus daily.
This mucus line the nasal passages and plays a variety of role. The mucus in the throat and nose helps to moisten and clean the passage; trap foreign particulates, and fights inflammation.
An increase in production of mucus in the throat and nose can occur due to a variety of reasons. It’s no life-threatening issue but should be treated before it progresses more.
A few of the reasons for it are as follows:
1) Post-Nasal Drip
Post nasal drip is a common condition, affecting most of us at some point in our lives. In this condition, the glands in the nose and throat continuously produce mucus to fight the infection, moisten the nasal passage, and remove out the foreign matter. You will end up swallowing the mucus without even realizing it.
When the body starts producing more mucus it gets accumulated in the back of the throat and you may even feel it dripping from your nose to the throat. This dripping is called post-nasal drip and is often a reason behind excessive mucus secretion in the throat.
It creates phlegm and causes a cough. In this condition, congestion and coughing occur mostly in the morning as overnight the phlegm builds up in the throat.
2) Cold Or Flu
When you suffer from cold or flu, there is an increased production of mucus in the nose and back of the throat. The mucus production is the body’s defense mechanism to fight with the foreign microorganism.
When the body starts reacting to the virus, the thin mucus produced by the body turns yellow or green. Thus, the body’s mucus production to fight flu can also be a reason behind excessive mucus production in the throat.
A few of the individual can’t adapt to the changing season well and end up suffering from seasonal allergies every year. The seasonal allergies are often misunderstood as cold and flu because the symptoms for both of them are almost same.
In seasonal allergy, you will develop symptoms like a runny nose, cough, sneezing, itchy eyes, throat congestion, etc. The environment has many different allergens like pollen occurring from season to season.
When the body cannot bear these pollen or seasonal allergens it tries to fight with it by increasing the mucus secretion. Increase in mucus secretion helps to expel out the allergen from the body.
Tea and flower pollens cause most of the seasonal allergies. The condition persists with the season, as the season changes the symptoms usually subsides on their own.
There are some foods that may increase the mucus secretion in the throat. If you already have a bad throat, by eating mucus-secreting foods, you will end up accumulating more mucus.
Food items like milk, dairy products, caffeine, non-herbal tea, cottage cheese, butter, etc are the popular mucus-secreting food item. They have a protein called casein that increases the secretion of mucus. Soy is one of the most mucus making plant food. So, with these foods sometimes you end up developing excessive mucus in the throat.
Pregnant women may suffer from nasal congestion, coughing, sneezing, and blocked throat. These symptoms are often seen in the morning in pregnant women and are often termed as morning sickness. All these symptoms are linked to increased mucus production in the throat. The reason behind these symptoms is an estrogen hormone.
6) Thorat Diseases
Many of the Throat disorders like tonsillitis, strep throat, laryngitis, and catarrh can cause increased mucus secretion in the throat. In addition to it, a few viral infections like chicken pox, whooping cough, etc, can also lead to throat mucus.
Symptoms Of Excessive Chronic Mucus In The Throat
Excessive chronic mucus in the throat can bring up a few discomforting symptoms. These symptoms last for a few days and often goes up off on their own within a week’s time.
Some of the prime symptoms of it are as follows:
- Throat itching and irritation
- Dripping of saliva from the back of the nose
- Slight temperature
- A runny nose
- A cough especially during the night
- Feeling that you need to constantly clear your throat or swallow
- Bad breath
- A sore throat
- Nausea due to excessive saliva in the throat
What Causes Chronic Excessive Mucus In The Chest?
Excessive mucus in the chest is often referred to as chest congestion. It causes difficulty in breathing and the inflammation of the lower respiratory tract. The conditions occur due to the accumulation of mucus and fluids in the chest.
When the mucus membrane that lines the airways becomes superactive it results in chest congestion. The reason behind chest congestion can be a combination of factors.
A few of the prime reasons are explained below:
1) Chronic Bronchitis
Chronic bronchitis develops when the lining of the bronchial tubes repeatedly becomes irritated and inflamed. The prolonged irritation and swelling of the airways lead to a buildup of a sticky thick mucus in the chest.
The mucus makes it difficult for the air to move via the lungs. Moreoff, the inflammation can also damage the cilia the hair-like structures that keeps the airway passage clean and moist. Moreoff, improper functioning of cilia can also be a ground to secondary bacterial and viral infections,
Chronic bronchitis causes coughing spells accompanied by breathlessness and phlegm. However, repeated episodes of coughing can turn into chronic bronchitis.
Pneumonia is a lung infection that occurs by a fungus, bacteria, or a parasite in the lungs. The most common symptoms of pneumonia is excessive congestion in the chest due to excessive mucus. The degree of diseases depends on the immune system. So, even the degree of mucus production depends upon the degree of the diseases.
Tuberculosis is caused by Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. The disease causes severe coughing, chest, and lung congestion. If not treated can prove fatal.
4) Common Cold
The common cold is the most common reason behind chest congestion. It can occur by flu, asthma, allergy, and environmental pollutants. Its occurrence causes severe chest congestion as the body produces more mucus to fight with the foreign particulate matter.
In addition to this, a genetic disorder Cystic fibrosis can also make the lungs produce more mucus and slowly clogs the chest and the lungs.
Symptoms Of Excessive Chronic Mucus In The Chest
The symptoms are same for every individual. However, the degree may vary depending upon the cause.
A few commonly occurring symptoms of it are as follows:
- Hindrance in the daily activities as you feel tired and fatigued
- A headache
- Chest heaviness due to congestion
- Stuffed nose
- The tightness of chest and pain.
- Difficulty in breathing
- Difficulty in sleeping
- A cough
- Coughing blood
How Does Excessive Chronic Mucus Affect One’s Health?
Excessive mucus production can impact one’s health adversely. Excessive mucus production in throat, chest or lungs is not good and should be treated in time to avoid fatal risks. It can manifest itself in various ways causing more serious illness.
A few ways in which it can disrupt the health are as follows:
1) It can impair the functioning of lungs. Chronic mucus production over time can decrease the lung functioning. With decreased lung functioning, you might develop respiratory issues like difficulty breathing.
2) A decreased quality of life is often a result of excessive mucus production. People suffering from this may find difficult to carry day-to-day activities, feel tired, find difficult to breathe when performing activities, etc. All this together lowers down the quality of life the affected person was living before.
3) The chronic mucus secretion may increase the number of exacerbations and consequently, hospitalizations. People with chronic mucus have a constant fear of rehospitalization and eventually difficulty in managing their finances.
What Foods Increase Mucus Production?
There are certain foods that when consumed cause the body to secrete more mucus than the ordinary mucus level. These foods can cause a havoc in many ways.
You might not even realize all these foods are responsible for your health issues. So, to ease down your problem here is a list of food item that increases mucus production. If you suffer from excessive mucus try avoiding these food items.
- Milk and milk products like cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, icecreams, etc.
- Red Meat
- White flour products like pasta, white bread, and noodles
- Fruits like bananas
- Sweet candies
- Vegetables like potatoes, cabbage, broccoli
- Corn and corn products
- Soy products
- Sweet desserts like pastries
- Caffeinated drinks like tea, soda, and soft drinks
- Alcoholic beverages
What Foods Help Reduce Excessive Chronic Mucus?
Foods that have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties are best to be used to reduce the mucus or phlegm from the chest, throat, and the lungs.
A few of the superfoods are jotted down below:
1) Fruits And Vegetables
Fruits and vegetable are top sources of antioxidants. They have nutrient to promote the body’s ability to fight infections and diseases.
Some of the vegetables that aids in reduced mucus secretion are onion, lemon, parsley, pumpkin, leafy green vegetables, sprouts, bell pepper, and pickles.
Fruits particularly rich in antioxidants are berries, citrus fruits like oranges, sweet lime, etc. These fruits and vegetables slowly and gradually decrease the mucus production in the body.
A few of the super foods that significantly reduce mucus are mentioned below.
Pumpkin is a wonder food, with lots of Vitamins A, C and E, calcium, copper, potassium, and phosphorus. It is a super food for the respiratory disorder, chronic pulmonary disease, and a decongestant. Their seeds have loads of omega-3 and the flesh has high amounts of antioxidants like carotene, xanthin, and leutin.
Adding pumpkin to your diet can reduce the excess mucus formation as they work to eliminate the cause of it. You can make a main course meal out of pumpkin or you can simply stir-fry them. In addition to it, try consuming pumpkin seeds too for good health.
Onion is an excellent vegetable to clear out sinuses and throat infections caused by excessive mucus secretion. Raw onion works best to remove the phlegm and mucus from the throat and the chest. However, if you don’t want to eat it raw due to its pungent smell you can add them to your main course meal.
Onions are a rich in Vitamins C, B6, B1, K biotin, chromium, calcium and folic acid. They have all the vital nutrient required by our body. The most important component of onion is quercetin.
This particular substance prevents blood clots, fight bacterial and viral infections, cure chronic bronchitis and hay fever. Overall, its best to eliminate out the condition that causes the overload of mucus or phlegm in the nose, throat, and the lungs.
You can consume it raw, along with salads, cook it with the main course, or in any other way as per your choice.
Grapefruit has iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folic acid, and Vitamin B. They enhance the immune system, reduce bacterial and viral infections, and provide immediate relief from seasonal allergies, cold, flu, and excess mucus.
The active ingredient of grapefruits that reduces mucus is salicylic acid. This acid has antiseptic properties. You can consume it raw for maximum benefits. Try to include it in your daily diet until your mucus levels are impaired.
Pineapple is a superfood having loads of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. It has bromelain that works efficiently to reduce mucus and phlegm production.
You can easily consume this fruit raw. But, if you have pineapple allergy refrain its use.
e) Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is a wonderful spice. Its known to make the meals delicious and spicy. Not only this, it has loads of health benefits too.
The active ingredient in cayenne pepper is called capsaicin that gives heat to the pepper. It has anti-inflammatory properties, detoxifying, and antibacterial properties.
Cayenne pepper can degrade down mucus build-up in the throat and chest and also help it clear it out from the entire body system.
2) Warm Fluids
Warm fluids provide a soothing effect on the throat. It is because it promotes hydration and flushes out toxins from the body via urine which ultimately helps to heal faster. Sipping on warm fluids is one of the good remedies to soothe, loosen, and decrease mucus production.
Foods like chicken soup, vegetable broth, herbal tea, can reduce the mucus by loosening it off. However, choose non-caffeinated fluids as they are more hydrating.
Drinks like coffee, tea, and soft drinks are less hydrating and might disrupt your ability to rest. So, go for lukewarm light fluids to decrease mucus accumulation in the throat and the chest.
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Excessive Chronic Mucus
Excessive Mucus can cause a lot of irritation and might disturb your sleep too. The mucus or phlegm may remain in your throat and lungs for a few days even after the infection goes off.
However, if you see blood in mucus consult your doctor immediately. While for excessive mucus you can carry out natural treatments prepared at home.
Some of the most effective natural home remedies to clear away the excessive mucus are discussed below:
1. Salt Water Gargle
Gargling with salt water is the easiest way to clear off the excess mucus. The warm water will soothe the irritated throat and the salt will help to destroy the bacteria’s that are causing the infection. Furthermore, reduction in bacteria would ultimately reduce the mucus production.
For the remedy, mix 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Before gargling put your finger and check the temperature of the solution to prevent burning your mouth. Gargle with the solution for 5 minutes. Repeat the remedy thrice a day to get permanent relief.
2. Steam Inhalation
Inhaling the steam helps to lose the phlegm in the nose, chest, and throat. Loose phlegm can come out from the nose by blowing and from the throat too by coughing.
For the remedy, boil water in a tub. Once the water is boiled. Keep the tub on a flat surface, cover your head and the tub too with a towel and inhale the steam.
Covering would prevent the steam from going out. You can even add eucalyptus oil to the water as it is a great oil for the congested throat with antiseptic properties. Alternatively, you can even use a vaporizer machine for inhaling the steam.
3. Raise The Humidity
Adding extra moisture to the air in your room will help to lose out the mucus in the nose and the chest. You can achieve the same by using a warm mist or a cool mist humidifier.
The humidifier adds moisture to the air which will prevent dryness. They are helpful to treat dryness of the skin, nose, and throat. This will further reduce the itchiness in the throat.
However, it is crucial to keep the mist humidifiers clean as the growth of the bacteria can serve to exacerbate the condition and cause more mucus formation.
4. Turmeric Milk
Turmeric has antiseptic, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. It can fight infections and the anti-inflammatory properties in it help to relieve the symptoms of cold and cough. In addition to it, it can also build immunity.
For the remedy, add one teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of hot milk. You can even add little honey if you don’t like the taste. Drink the milk before going to bed for effective results. For people with milk allergy, an alternative is there.
For it, take one teaspoon of turmeric, a pinch of salt, and a glass of hot water. Mix the ingredients and gargle with the solution thrice a day.
Ginger helps to clear out the toxins from your body. It is extremely helpful to sooth the throat and is also a natural cough suppressant. It has anti-inflammatory gingerols and shaogals that helps to relieve a sore throat quickly.
For the remedy, use fresh ginger. Cut a half inch piece and chop it finely or you can even grate it. Put the chopped ginger in the tea strainer and put the tea strainer in a cup. Next, pour boiling water in a cup. Let it steep for good 5 minutes. Remove the strainer.
If you want to add a little flavor add half spoon of honey. Sip it slowly. Alternatively, you can even buy ready-made ginger tea. However, prefer buying organic ginger tea as they are pure and give good results. Carry out the remedy three to four times a day for best results.
6. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus oil is the best nature’s decongestant. It has an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, decongestant, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties.
For the remedy boil a tub of water. To it, add few drops of pure eucalyptus oil. Next, breathe the vapors. Do this for good five minutes. As you breathe the vapors, your sinuses open up and you feel better. Perform this as many times as you want.
The vapors of the oil go deep into the chest and open up the congestion. Alternatively, you can purchase the medicated eucalyptus cough drop too. The remedy works wonders and gives effective results in few days.
7. Olive Oil
Studies say Olive oil is a valuable source of fat. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy agents to reduce the mucus production and heal the body faster.
If you are someone who is prone to excessive mucus secretion, try switching of your regular oil with olive oil. Add this oil to your daily main course to enjoy its benefits.
8. Decongestant Tea
Natural herbs have many medicinal properties like anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. You can prepare a powerful tea using these powerful herbs to relieve your mucus.
Take equal amounts of Eucalyptus, Hyssop, and sage herbs. You can take half a teaspoon each for one cup of tea. Put the mixture in the tea strainer. Next, in a hot cup of water, put the strainer. Let it steep for 3-5 minutes.
Remove the strainer and drink off the tea. Consume three to four cups of decongestant tea daily. It will surely give your relief from excessive mucus. Nevertheless, discontinue the use once the mucus dries up.
Raw, unprocessed honey can help to clear a phlegm in the throat and chest. Honey is a natural anti-bacterial agent and has a soothing effect on the throat.
It effectively reduces constant coughing caused due to excess mucus in the throat and chest. Studies suggest it is better than over the counter medication used for treating cough and cold.
For the remedy, consume a spoonful of raw honey daily twice a day. Alternatively, you can even add a tablespoon of honey to a glass of warm water. Drink the water for optimum relief.
You can also add honey to ginger tea to boost the antimicrobial and decongestant properties. Drink the honey ginger tea with honey two-three times a day till you get relief from the symptoms of excess phlegm.
10. Black Elderberry
Black Elderberry is a flower with huge medicinal properties. They have antiviral properties and work well to enhance the immunity. The herb is frequently used to soothe the mucous membrane and provide relief against congestion caused by excess mucus.
For the remedy, boil black elderberry in a cup of boiling water. Boil it for good 10 minutes. Next, strain the water and drink it. Do the remedy twice a day for optimum results. never consume raw elderberry flowers as they may cause toxicity.
11. Apple Cider Vinegar
Studies say apple cider vinegar (ACV) is efficient in degrading the mucus in the body and relieving chronic sinusitis and allergy symptoms. It contains a high amount of potassium that helps to relieve the symptoms
For the remedy, add a tablespoon of the raw, unfiltered Apple cider vinegar to a glass of water. Drink it as it is. Perform the remedy three to four times a day for best results. However, prefer buying the pure form of apple cider vinegar from the store.
12. Change Your Pillow
People who have difficulty sleeping because of the signs of congested nasal passages for them it’s a useful remedy. Try sleeping with an elevated head.
For this, you can keep two pillows under your head. This helps as it prevents the congestion from going into the lungs which leads to a painful cough.
However, if you feel uncomfortable in sleeping with two pillows, you can buy head elevation pillows available in the market.
13. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is a proven remedy for nasal congestion. It readily reduces the inflammation int he mucosal linings. It has flavonoids and apigenin that help to clear the mucosal inflammation. Clearing of inflammation automatically decreases its production.
For the remedy, take few chamomile flowers. Wash them thoroughly with cold water. Boil some water and to this boiling water add the chamomile flowers.
Cover the water and let it steep for good 5-10 minutes. Starin the water and drink it as it is. If you don’t like the taste try adding a few drops of honey to it. Carry out the remedy daily for best results.
What Is The Difference Between Mucus And Phlegm?
The prime difference between mucus and phlegm relates to the place from where it comes. Mucous normally comes from the person’s mucous membrane like from the nose, whereas the phlegm comes from the back of the throat or the lungs.
Furthermore, phlegm is never produced in the nasal cavity of the respiratory system, rather it is produced majorly in the tracheal tube. Both the substances have a slippery texture and phlegm is typically thicker than mucus.
An interesting difference between them is people with cold blow mucus from the nose and they may cough phlegm from the throat and the lungs.
Mucus is an essential body secretion that protects and moisturize the critical organs from drying out and also acts as a barrier when foreign particulate attack the body.
It has antibodies and bacteria-killing properties to fight against common infections. On the other hand, Phlegm does not carry out such protective functions of the body rather it is mostly present as a result of cold or allergens attacking the body.
Phlegm is more of a water-based gel having glycoproteins, immunoglobulins, lipids and other substances. The composition may vary depending on the climate, genetic makeup, and the immune system.
Mucus is produced in various types of animals including some invertebrates as well, while phlegm is produced only in mammals. Moreoff, mucus is colorless and thin but there are times when it has an altered texture during some respiratory medical condition.
On the other hand, the color of phlegm can be colorless to pale or dark yellow with green. In some cases, it may also have a brown color.
Both of these substances are present at all times inside the human body. However, when a person suffers from cold, seasonal allergy, or any respiratory and lung disorder mucus and phlegm start acting up.
The excessive production of both these substances makes the individual uncomfortable as they have increased runny nose and cough along with it.
Yet another peculiar difference between mucus and phlegm is that phlegm has dead bacteria, virus, and white blood cells. It might look more of a semi-solid fluid, unlike mucus. Mostly you end swallowing both of them.
However, health experts advise people not to swallow any of these substances when they arise in the throat. It is because if you spit them off you are decreasing the viral and bacterial infection already present in your body.
Expelling them out at night is difficult as they both interfere with normal sleeping patterns. People with excess mucus and phlegm secretion are recommended to have cough suppressants especially before going to bed.
If you cough at night, you will end up swallowing the infection again so having cough suppressants at night is a way of preventing the infection to be swallowed again. Coughing during the day is good as the individual can spit it out easily.
Overall, studies suggest both phlegm and mucus are body secretions to fight infection and are produced in larger amounts when the body is infected with some microorganisms.
When To See A Doctor?
Mucus or phlegm is produced due to the body’s defense mechanism against infections. Excess and thick mucus is normal form time to time. It is not at all a reason for concern.
You will have excess mucus in the morning as it gets accumulated during the night due to post nasal dripping mostly. It also gets dried overnight so you end up with a thick phlegm in mornings.
Generally, during the daytime, the mucus has a flowy consistency. You will also notice it if you have any seasonal allergy, exposure to allergens or pollutants, or if you are dehydrated.
In all the above-mentioned condition there is absolutely no need to consult a doctor. These signs are normal and subside on its own within in a weeks time. You can even carry out the above-mentioned remedies foto get immediate relief.
However, if the uncomfortable phlegm has a regular occurrence, you should consult a doctor. Consult a doctor if you have signs of blood when coughing, blood in mucus, extreme chest pain, difficulty breathing, wheezing, and difficulty sleeping.
You should go to the doctor if these symptoms occur constantly and are persisting for more than a week. Inform your doctor about all the signs and get yourself medically treated.
Excess mucus production is common and absolutely normal. It is nothing to worry about. The body’s defense mechanism is capable enough to eliminate it within few days time.
However, if your symptoms are unbearable and prompt to a chronic illness, you should get it checked. Excess mucus or phlegm can be treated With a wealth of natural products and major lifestyle changes.