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benign throat clearing tic

My daughter is 31/2 years old.  About a month ago, she developed what her pediatrician calls a benign tic.  He checked her out and decided it wasn't an allergy or a breathing problem.  Sometimes it sounds like she's clearing her throat loudly, other times it sounds like a loud hiccup - which is what lead me to believe she might be having a breathing problem.  I do believe she does this involuntarily because she is not interrupted when she is talking and when she sleeps at night, she is silent the entire night - I know this because I slept in the same room with her for two weeks.  Also, she didn't make the sound when the pediatrician was checking her, which he said convinced him more that it was a tic.  Her pediatrician says it could last a few weeks to 6 months.  He also said that it could be form of terets syndrome but that can't be diagnosed until she's at least six.  I'm starting to get use to the sound she makes, but it definitely attracts attention when we are in public, which reminds me how "unusual" the sound she makes is.

I want to make sure I'm not overlooking anything.  Should I have her looked at by a pediatric neurologist?  Or should I just let it run it's course, although I'm getting quite tired of strangers and friends "suggestions" as to what it is and what I should do.

Please advise!

This discussion is related to neurological ticks.
59 Responses
603946 tn?1333941839
You are right- you can get too much input. I am here to talk if you'd just like a sounding board. Drop me a short note.
My son had something very similar from age 4-6- his was allergies though- he said it was to clear/scratch his throat and ear. I thought it was behavioral but he did get allergy treatment. It started again seemed to me a nervous thing around age 12 again. He was tested for allergies and found he was no longer allergic to anything. Great news. But why the noises? I did finally tell him it was sort of annoying once or twice and he did stop doing it.

So you have done everything you can do. When I thought it was nervous habit I think I did try him on an herbal supplement like st johns wort or some adhd herbal chewable. That's worth a try and easy to do a search for just to try for a few weeks- it can't hurt anything.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your comments.  They do make me feel a little bit better.  It's just so difficult to know if you are doing all the right things.  Just yesterday in the store, it seemed like my daughters "noises" had increased dramatically in both loudness and duration.  I was driving home wondering if I"m missing something.  I think I will try the herbal supplement.  I can get her to try a chewable if it tastes good.  Thanks for the advice.
Avatar universal
My daughter, 6 yrs old, has just begun this throat clearing tic.  I have read articles about it being caused from stress.  She had a line in the school Christmas play, and it did begin about 3-4 days before the program.  A week later was the church kids program.  She told me she was nervous both times, but did a great job once on stage.  I know these things are stressful for the elementary kids.  I am hoping that it is a benign tic, and that's all!!  During the second program, the microphone picked up her constant throat clearing.  I was hoping no one
else noticed!  It has become very annoying.  I'm hoping that with Christmas break coming in just 5 days, she will relax and simply break free!!
Thank you for your post, I know I'm not alone!!
Avatar universal
My doctor also asked me if my daughter was "stressed".  I guess when they're 3 years old you can't think of anything they could possibly be stressed about - isn't that suppose to be the stress free years of their life?  Anyways, my daughters throat clearing has improved dramatically.  We have days where it's more obvious than others, but so far not as bad as it was at the end of the summer.  I'm hoping she's outgrowing it or become "less stressed".  But I think you are right - especially at six years of age - your daughter might just be nervous about the play.  Hopefully after Christmas she will stop it.  
I can totally relate to the throat clearing.  When my daughter does it in public - everyone turns their head!  I've learned to act like I don't even hear it and usually people turn back and forget about it.  Sometimes if you don't react, they dont react.  
Let me know if your daughter improves after the holidays............  
Avatar universal
My daughter who is 8 years old also has the habit of clearing out her throat, she has had it for over two years now. I can't pinpoint the time frame it was starting to happen, however she doesn't do it when she is running around outside or being really active and doesn't do it when she sleeps.

I have taken several measures of trying to get this resolved by taken her to our family doctor which put her on flonase, didn't help. After trying almost every allergy medication over the counter I went to have her tested for allergies, which she had some, however they were not in season at the time, I than was referred to an ear nose and throat doctor which did an xray of the throat which there was nothing in the back of the throat to cause her to do this, he than mentioned that it seemed to be a tic.

I really don't know what would be the next step. If it is caused from stress do I want to put her on something to calm her down? It is very annoying I guess to my husband and myself the most. I am also concerned how the others view her at school.

Your not alone in this and it is not easy-if you find out anything more please let me know.

535822 tn?1443976780
This is an old thread you may not get much response
Avatar universal
My daughter has this too.  She is now almost 11 and it has been going on since she was 3.  I was told by her pediatrician way back when that it was a nervous tick and that it would go away.  It didn't.  It bothers me the most, though I do know fellow students occasionally comment on it.  Her current pediatrician unhelpfully said it's a non-productive cough and prescribed prescription medication.  (She did not believe it was allergy related).  My holistic doctor did a food sensitivity test on her and identified foods that are more apt to aggravate it (red meat, corn, dairy) so we limit these.  (She does seem to do it more when she has these foods).  It may be related to what many other message boards call LPR.  My daughter also tried some allergy treatments with our doctor of Chinese Medicine.   It helped, but did not get rid of the problem.  

I am still searching, trying different things.  It is quite frustrating.  Please let me know if you come up with anything that works.
I know this is old but did it ever go away?
1428140 tn?1283004939
My daughter has a CONSTANT THROAT CLEARING as well. You do not have to worry about input...I have none. I am so frustrated with all of the advice, suggestions, wrong diagnosis. I am a teacher and constantly researching because of it. I cannot figure this out....she is 6. Tic has been mentioned, yet I am not convinced. The last vist to the ENT was $135 to tell me to try VERAMYST on her...we are in the first month of it and I think she is worse. Seriously....what is the answer here? I may just start from scratch....they guinea pigged her on so many allergy meds that I do not want to go there again. I may ellimiate everything and start with foods etc. Any advice/help is appreciated!!
Did it ever go away?
Avatar universal
my daughter is almost 6 and she started the constant throat clearing about 4 months ago.  I can pinpoint when it started, to the DAY.  She had ice cream, and then all of the sudden, started this grunting clearing of the throat after every bite.  now, she does it a LOT.  I am wondering - could enlarged tonsils have anything to do w/ this?  since I'm hearing it's not allergies.  also, she did this a lot when she was getting strep throat, so I'm keeping a close eye on her when the symptoms get worse that it's not strep.  We are going through a divorce and this has put stress on her, and I feel so badly for her, and am wondering if the effects have caused her to develop this tic.  I'm afraid, when she starts school next tues that it will be really noticable at school and may disturb the other kids! ack!  what do I do?  

Avatar universal
I am glad that I have found this website. My 9 year old is constantly clearing her throat and she has been doing this for years. Dr.'s have said that it is allergies and we have gone that route, but she still clears her throat. It drives me nuts and I don't know who else to see to help her. Her teachers have even commented on it. I know my husbands family has Terrets. But, who do you see to diagnose it. Any advice?

Worried Mom
Avatar universal
My 9 year old just started doing this too about 2 months ago and now it is sometimes very severe.  Every 5-10 seconds sometimes but then not at all when she is sleeping and it seems worse in the evenings than in the days.  Doctor said it could be a thyroglossal cyst (sp?)  Anyway we have to get that test I suppose but it sounds like it could be this kind of tic as well.  She also seems to swallow air and then burp very quietly after she does it.
Avatar universal
My 6 year old son began grunting and clearing his throat recently, as well.  He doesn't have any symptoms of allergies and had his tonsils and adenoids removed two years ago.  When we point it out to him and ask him why he does it or to stop, he get emotional and says he can't.  He has no explanation for why he does it, just that he can't stop doing it.  Any ideas, help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  I absolutely HATE going to the doctor to get no answers, but after a month of listening to this, assuming it was just drainage that was tickling his throat, but nothing improving, we are ready to start looking into the situation a little deeper.
Avatar universal
My daughter is 4 1/2 and has been clearing her throat since the age of 2. I have done a lot of research and everything i find says it could be allergies or a tic but is extremely hard to diagnose until the age of 6. When i ask my daughter why she clears her throat she says shes not so i assume she has no clue shes even doing it. She says her throat doesn't itch. My husband and I are both use to the noise so we don't notice it as much as other people around her. I am lost at what i should do..Any suggestions?
Avatar universal
My daughter has been doing this since she was 6-7 months old and she will soon be 11 yrs old. I've done everything under the sun. She had tubes put in her ears due to chronic ear infection. She hasn't stop doing the throat clearing since she was an infant. Allergy medicine doesn't work - the ear, nose and throat dr states she does it now as a hadit. She has a hard time making friends b/c it annoys everyone so bad. I didn't know this could be a possible affect from tic's I just heard this from her teacher b/c she did her own research b/c it bother the classroom so bad. I don't know what to do----
Avatar universal
I myself also have a 7 year old who started clearing his throat grunting this summer, it lasted about 2-3 weeks and then stopped when school started. The last few days he has started doing it again NON STOP!! I feel so bad because he says he can't stop it or help it, but I get a headache from it everyday! I feel like crying my eyes out because I'm so frustrated. He saw a dr this summer who stated that it was a tic and that they come and go. But now it's the grunt and cough and clearing of his throat. We are seeing a ENT next Tuesday. I'm so frustrated, and just wish it would stop! I worry about kids teasing him at school.
Avatar universal
My son started clearing his throat at the age of 9 or 10, he's now 13. It got progressively worse and he started shaking his head also. I did a lot of my own reading up and it seemed like everything I was reading was pointing toward it being a tic. I came accross this natural remedy called Tic Tamer by Native Remedies.(see their website) I am usually very skeptical about that sort of thing but was feeling quite desperate, so I ordered a bottle. There was a marked improvement by the 2nd or 3rd day and within a week or two it was almost non existant. He started taking the drops the maximum amount of times during the day then slowly tapered off as was necessary. Now a few months down the line, he might take some once a week.

Hope that helps some of you desperate parents out there.
Avatar universal
I haven't posted on this forum in years, but just came across this forum when doing a search on throat-clearing tics.  Just wanted to say that if your child does have a throat-clearing tic (and it's not throat clearing related to allergies or some other cause), from what I've read, the chances are they will outgrow it, but that is not always the case.  I first started clearing my throat when I was 4 years old, along with scrunching up my nose and sniffing.  I started these behavors, according to my mother, after I had an infection.  She took me to the pediatrician and he said I was just a nervous child and would probably outgrow it.  I'm now 48 and still have the same tics.  I also have OCD.  The tics fluctuate in severity (some days more prominent than others), but its an everyday thing for me and has never gone away.  I now know I have tourettic OCD, and I believe it was triggered off by the infection I had when I was little.  Again, chances are your kids will outgrow it, but you might want to read on tourettic OCD, especially if they have other tics, compulsive behaviors, obsessive thinking.  You might also want to read on PANDAS-pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders after strep (or something like that).  If your kids have counting, checking, handwashing, ritualistic behaviors, or especially if they have other tics or evening-up behaviors (if something bumps/rubs against one hand/arm or body part, they can't stand the unevenness sensation and have to even it out on the other side; or they can't stand scratchy clothes, tags, (sensory hypersensitivity), it's possible they have tourettic OCD.  
Avatar universal
My son who has recently turned 5 has for the last few months starting clearing his throat and blinking vigourously, certainly the latter seems to happen when he is tired......

When I ask him what is wrong with his throat he just looks at me & says nothing as if he is totally unaware of what is going on.

He started Reception (UK full time eductation when he will still 4 years old) in September and has homework every night and often get's upset if he gets somehting wrong or out of place - I tell him that he is doing great, brilliant in fact and he won't get everythign right first time while he is learning so much.......nevertheless he is putting himself under a great deal of pressure.

I'm going to see his Doctor tomorrow - all the evidence points to a tic (or multiple) and I want to nip this in the bud before it impacts his day to day life!

Wish me luck....any more advice welcome.

Worried Mom.....
1712359 tn?1308404072
I would love to see any updates on these children.
My 9 year son started doing this about a month ago and it is very frustrating and annoying.  He says he can't help it.  Some days are worse than others.  Obviously today is pretty bad since I went googling for answers.  I've tried ignoring him but when he does it every 5-10 seconds its hard not to say anything.  He not only ears his throat but he makes other noises to and takes deep breaths just put of no where.  I will be call his Dr. first thing Monday morning and really hope I get somewhere.  
Avatar universal
Please update...I'm so worried after reading these posts.  My 5 yr old son has been has been clearing his throat constantly for months.  I hate hearing that this won't end.  Updates from anybody?
Did you find a solution
Inneedofhelppls, does your child have this situation?  My son had throat clearing when young.  He would do it when excited, nervous or to help himself focus.  tell us more about your child an we'll try to help!
She started doing this a year ago. It’s so stressful more so on me. I’ve been searching for answers for a while. I’m so scared that this will go on forever, we’ve tried allergy meds, and reflux meds to no avail. I know it’s selfish but I cry daily about this.
Avatar universal
My seven year old grandson has had this clearing of throat for a couple of years now. After reading these posts, I noticed the common thread seems to be infection.  He is sesceptible to strep throat and has had several episodes in the past 2 years.  He also has blinking issues when he is stressed. He was recently diagnosed with Asbergers.  
Avatar universal
I am quit heavy hearted to hear that this chronic throat clearing can possibly have no cure because my son who is 3 1/2 has started this about a month ago. His doctor told me that it would go away but like many others it does not seem to be getting any better but worse. Sometimes the throat clearing is followed by a very bad dry cough as well. This is very frustrating and annoying.
Avatar universal
My son is 6 and just started school. His throat clearing started when he was about 4 and it is now almost constant. I think he is unhappy at school and doesn't seem to be very popular and I notice how much he clears his throat through this situation. He was much better in the school holidays for example. I was interested to hear about many girls having this problem because two doctors had told me that tics mainly occur with boys at primary school age. Can anyone give me some advice? I worry about him being teased at school because of his throat clearing!

A very worried Mum x
Avatar universal
My 7 year old son is now sat here constantly clearing his throat, I am going mad, heard about your tic tamer, try as I might I cannot get hold of it, I will try anything, he has also pulled out all his eyelashes and eyebrows, went on the website you  recommended but due to to high demand dispatch is between 1 and 4 weeks, a supplier in the uk say they have 66 in stock but when you add to basket they have none, feel like i'm hitting a brick wall, will try anything to get hold of it, even ebay doesn't have it. But glad to hear i'm not the only parent going through this.
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