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Years of Phlegm- worsening
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Years of Phlegm- worsening

Since I was a child I have had a post nasal drip and I've never known a period when I haven't had some interior dried nasal discharge.  I'm now approaching 50 and every morning I have heavy phlegm and as I begin to be active each day I need to cough heavily-occasionally bringing about a mild vomiting reaction.  The worst sensations go away but for the remainder of the day I feel a great deal of phlegm in my sinuses (no pain or complete blockage) and I'm stuffed up or constantly clearing my throat. Everyone at work knows my throat-clearing cough.  Through the day the symptoms diminish but never go completely away.

I've tried over-the-counter sinus allergy and/or cold medications and there is a mild diminishing of symptoms but the morning heaviness and coughing remains. I can 'dry up' in my nose earlier in the day though.

My Questions?  What is it?  What can I do?  Thanks
Related Discussions
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Postnasal drip is drainage from the nose and sinuses dripping down the back of the throat.  There could be several reasons for this drainage.  One is an allergic reaction to inhaling something.  A second reason is a non-allergic, non-infectious inflammation in the sinuses that can linger after a cold.  A third reason is chronic sinusitis.  Postnasal drip can cause coughing to the point of vomiting as a result of irritation of the throat and lungs.  You may experience the postnasal drip as a great deal of phlegm in your sinuses.  This may cause you to feel stuffed up and you may constantly clear your throat.  As long as you are not on a fluid restriction you should be drinking 6 to 8 8-ounce glasses of non-caffeine non-alcoholic fluid daily.  This will thin the phlegm so that it moves more easily.  A nasal wash helps remove phlegm from the nose and sinuses.  This can temporarily reduce the postnasal drip and lessen your throat-clearing cough.  A prescription nasal steroid spray decreases swelling of the nose and phlegm production.  This may prevent the postnasal drip and throat-clearing cough.  To get the most help from a nasal steroid spray use it after doing a nasal wash.  A nasal steroid spray does not provide immediate relief of symptoms.  It may require several weeks of routine use to become effective.  Please read our Nasal Wash MedFact at http://www.nationaljewish.org/medfacts/nasal.html for more information about this technique.  Share this information with your doctor to see if you would benefit from this daily treatment.
9 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Do you smoke?
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Avatar_n_tn
Do you drink or intake lots of dairy products? I found that my allergy/sinus problems are greatly diminished when I abstain from drinking milk, eating ice cream, yogurt, and cream cheese. Also I have found recently that if I have an over production of yeast in my system that eating wheat, corn, sugar (natural or not) and other carbohydrates that feed the yeast inflame and cause sinus and mucus problems. I was told to get rid of the yeast I needed to "fast" for a time - like 3 weeks or so - the foods that feed the yeast. I know the milk thing to be an absolute link for me as well as to skin breakouts and vertigo-like symptoms. I have not rooted out the yeast theories yet but I think it would be worth a try.
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No smoking. Never knew I was allergic to anything- allergies don't run in the family either.
Is this an allergy or something else?  I guess because I've had it for years nothing has been done.
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I have had a phlegm problem since I can remember.  I have to clear my throat every single morning.  Some mornings are better than others but I have to clear each and every morning.  I just drank a glass of milk an hour and a half ago and a glass of egg nog (non alcoholic) about a half an hour ago and I have such a large amount of phlegm in my throat.  I can't stand this, but the only way to really clear it is to hack it up, but within 5 min. it will be phlegmed up again.  I am now drinking a lot of water to try and clear it up.  I guess I am going to try and stay away from dairy products and will take vitamins to get my calcium and vitamin D.  It is such a stressor to have phlegm and I've had it since I can remember.  Anyone interested in starting an email chain to discuss things that work?  My email is ***@****.  I just want to figure this thing out.
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I also get this recurring/ongoing sensation. Up until very recently I went by what my doc said and took medication to combat post nasal drip brought on by sinusitus. I took this prescription nasal spray (Nasonex) for three weeks (eventhough I thought my nose wasn't all that plugged). According to the medicine, symptoms should begin to go away after about 2 weeks. I didn't really notice anything change except my nostrils clearing up. I stopped the sprays for fear of doing more harm than good to myself after the 3. That was a couple of months ago.

Today I still have that sensation about midway down my throat. However, my nasal passageways still feel clear right now. Also whenever I try to clear my throat (by hoarking, coughing, swallowing, even massaging my throat externally) I have no success what-so-ever. I drink a lot of coffee (suger, cream or milk, 3 or 4 a day) and I'm wondering if thats causing irritation in the throat bringing on the mucus.

I also heard it could be a sign of GERD (reflux disease) but I'm not aware I have that (but it could be the case considering all the coffee and other junk food I have). I heard from GERD its a sensation only (from stomach acids rising up your throat) rather than actual phlegm in your throat. Not sure if this is true though.

One other thing I am wondering about is my neck size (no joke). I am under the impression it has gotten larger as my throat seems pretty tense (swollen but not sore) from the outside. Am I just imagining things here or have others also experienced this before?
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I have had this phlegm problem now for about a year. It is mostly clear mucus, and is caused by chronic post nasal drip.  I did see an ENT and he diagnosed GERD, however, now I've been on Nexium for a year and STILL have the phlegm problem.  So, I've had to look for other, more wholistic answers.

I have a diet that is largely balanced, but I do love sugar, and my very sweetened coffee in the morning.  I have noticed that my phlegm problems are aggravated by intake of sugar products, and also dairy.  I have had a lactose intolerance for at least 15 years, so dairy intake is minimal anyway.  I have also smoked lightly (only about 4-5 cigarettes a day) for many years, and recently the smoking seems to irritate my throat because I am constantly clearing it.  The phlegm issue is worse at night, so limiting sugar, alcohol, coffee and cigarettes after 8 pm helps with sleeping.  I have been using Rhinocort (also one of those nasal steroids) and it seems to help keep nasal passages clear.  I read on another site that a week's fast of all the suspect foods (sugar, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, etc) should definitively determine the culprits of this problem.  Hard to do, but I'm going to try it.  Will report back soon.
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Avatar_n_tn
>I am under the impression it has gotten
> larger as my throat seems pretty tense
I have the phlegm problem also (i call it the hem-hems). And I also have tension in my throat frequently. Also have problems inhaling sometimes. I wonder if these things are related?
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I too have had this problem for years.  Tried various nasal sprays, had x rays of the sinus cavity and an esophogram.  No response.  One week ago I decided to test caffine.  I slowly switched from caffinated coffee to decafe.  Immediately about an 80% reduction in frequency and intensity.  For the last three days I have abstained from all coffee (and soft drinks with caffine and now I am about 95% free of the problem.  Occassional mild throat clearing is all that remains.  It sounds too easy but for me, is the real deal.  Hope this helps.
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