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excessive thick mucus in vocal chords

I have tried everything it seems for several years to get rid of this thick mucus that comes and goes in my vocal chords. I went to an ENT again and they went down my throat with a camera and were able to show me on film the thick stringy mucus in my vocal chords. Both ENT's said they thought it was acid reflux and so I have been on Prilosec for 3 weeks now(also called omeprazole-20 mg) and yet no change yet(I have had  hardly any symptoms of acid reflux, but just recently have had little burps of gas come up from time to time but very infrequent).
    Is there anything you can take just to get the thick mucus in your vocal chords  dissolved so you can speak.  I am a professional actor and am desperate. Anybody have any luck with solving the basic problem of the mucus in the vocal chords or have any idea once it is in the vocal chords how to get immediate relief from it.  It is so discouraging that I cannot to date find a doctor who can help this problem. It seems someone should have an answer. Thanks for any help you can give me. PS  I cannot sing anymore with this problem which is devastating to me and of course has hindered my acting career(musical theatre).
35 Responses
Avatar universal
Hey
I had this terrible problem too, that is until I Discovered the magic of simply blowing my nose! yes, that's it. Blow your nose one nostril at a time and the mucus from your cords will come right up thru your nostrils and out into the ozone! believe me this works. Sometimes i may have to "tickle" up into my nostrils with tissue paper and force myself to sneeze but when i do..out comes a glob of mucus! i just keep repeating til i can feel that my throat is clear. give it a try.
Avatar universal
I too suffer from this problem, have done since childhood.
Now in my sixties I still suffer from the problem,that is if I FORGET!
You will say 'Forget what?'
The answer is ; forget to NOT cough, ( clearing ones throat)
It is a self perpetuating problem, for example when we are a little bit  nervous, (say we are about to make a public speech) we tend to utter the sound "eehmmm", to clear our throat, if still, the "frog-in-the throat" persists we do it again, and again, but by doing this "eehmmm" we are irritating the vocal chords more and more ,so they produce more and more mucus,which can go on and on indefinitely.
Try to AVOID BEING NERVOUS , have one or two drinks (no more)30 minutes before a speech,AVOID COUGHING.
When the mucus is fresh (the first of a new bout of the problem) , the  "eehmmm" works fine, the frog comes up, but straight away the vocal chords start producing a stronger batch.....and so on..
Try to "live with the Frog in your throat, that is the only it way it will go away naturally, always drink plenty of water anyway.
And "eehmmm" (dam,Ive done it again) "eehmmm"  good luck
Avatar universal
Hi there;

So sorry to hear of your problems.

I used to have a similar problem where the mucus would be overtaking my life. I would cough and cough and it still wouldn't go away. It kept me awake at night and it was embarrassing. I'm going to give you a bit of advice that SERIOUSLY helped me with my problem. STOP DRINKING MILK!

I didn't realize how much phlegm and mucus build up is caused by Milk. I have no problems eating cheese, but I stopped cold turkey having milk by itself. No more cereal (which was hard for me because I've always loved cereal). After stopping the milk, within 3 weeks my mucus had all but vanished. As long as I don't drink milk, the problem no longer exists.

Good luck to you!
2 Comments
I have the same problem with phlegm getting in the way of my speaking and singing voice, and cutting out milk has certainly helped, but not entirely.  It is reassuring to read that others share the same problem.  As a choral singer I find that I cannot rely on the clarity of my voice from one day to the next and this is frustrating beyond belief.  Thanks for the helpful comments in this thread
Erythromycin
Avatar universal
I am experiencing, what sounds like, the same problem. I have extremely thick sticky mucus in my airways.  When I'm able to expell some from very hard coughing I get immediate relief for about a minute until more mucus comes to take it's place. I live with a constant feeling that something is stuck in my throat. I have had 4 different ENTs, all associated with Loma Linda medical center, looking in my nose.  They all say the same thing, that they have never seen this before.  I have had the full battery of allergy testing with no findings.  They now are sending me to pulmanary to see if they can find the cause. I really don't expect the answer to be there because I can actually feel the mucus coming down from my nose.
I have had 1 nasal passage scrap, which cleaned one sinus cavity that was severly blocked and one that was partially blocked. I have had another, within 45 days, where they went and scrapped my air passages in my throat and recleaned the nasal cavity.  After these cleanings the conditions seems to get better and I felt "normal" for about a month but within 15 - 30 days after stopping the antibiotics and ending the steriod treatment the condition returns. Previous to the surgerys,  I have been given steriods and antibiotics, various types and they do seem to help while I'm taking them but the condition returns shortly after I stop the antibiotics.  I'm a real estate broker and the ability to speak is a tool I can't do without.
My question to yu have you found anything that helps?
1 Comments
Have you considered sinus surgery  of your maxillary sinuses and do you have a deviated septum
Avatar universal
i have similar symptoms...constant phlegm from nose , throat and exact same substance in stools  !
  i'm leaning toward parasitic infection as the buggars can be seen if you look closely. thats right...they are in your system ( roundworms)  and when they migrate is when my worst symptoms appear.
was eating pumpkin seeds that apparently aggravate them.
the same thick mucus from all three 'orifices'.
easily visible ' worms' of green/brownish color.
i have every animal listed as carriers so it makes sense in my case.  plus...you can SEE them in the mucus!
hope this helps someone
Avatar universal
I am a singer and suffer the same fate as you with the constant thick mucus on my vocal chords.  I am a first soprano, so it is very hard for me to hit my notes at times.  I also, went from doctor to doctor and was very discouraged.  One day I was lying in bed and God gave me the answer.  I used Mucinex DM and Corricidan tablets for two weeks. They are both expectorants. This thinned the mucus and clear my throat, chest and lungs. At first I felt like a train had hit me, because my body was so used to the mucus and bacteria being there. However, I could tell that it was working because the mucus was thick and dark yellow that was coming up. (Sorry to be so graphic) Moreover, I was able to take deep breathes and hold my notes. After the two weeks, I then would alternate the use of both medicines until I was totally clear.  Once, I was clear I started taking one or the other as needed.  Recently, I found Mucinex liquid and started using that the night before I had to sing. This has also given me great results. Hope this helps. Disclaimer: You may want to check with your doctor before trying this radical method of dosing.  
Avatar universal
Hi,

Though this is years after you originally posted, perhaps this can help someone else.  What you are suffering from is most likely a chronic sinus infection, especially if you can feel that there's always a little mucus coming from your throat.  ENT's can only see so much themselves without the use of a CT scan of your sinuses, so I feel they commonly misdiagnose or just think it's an 'allergic reaction' or a bacterial infection.  So they'll prescribe you some antibiotics, which won't do anything as the infection is most likely viral or fungal if it's a chronic infection.  And they'll give you allergy medication which won't do anything because it's not an allergic reaction.  They may also give you asthma or, like you said, acid reflux, medication which also doesn't do squat.

Sinusitis is an inflammatory condition, so you need to take anti-inflammatory medication.  Luckily, the 3rd ENT I saw after I had the same symptoms as you knew how to treat it, and after my CT scan, gave me 70mg of a shot of Kenalog-40.  This shot was simply miraculous.  After so much crap I had tried and medications I had taken, this shot (an anti-inflammatory shot) allowed my sinuses to drain properly and allowed me to finally talk without hoarseness as the mucus was no longer sliding down my throat, getting caught on my vocal chords.

If you want to go the natural route (which I had looked up before getting cured by my 3rd ENT), take fatty acid pills, filled with Omega 3's & 6's oils, and a Bromelain supplement.  Both have natural anti-inflammatory properties.  For Omega fatty acids, take 2-7 grams (2000-7000mg) a day during meals.  For Bromelain, take 500 mg 3/day in between meals (absorbs better if not consumed w/ food).  Try to cut out eating meat and dairy for awhile as they can cause inflammation.

I've also heard from people that have had chronic sinusitis, that the Neti Pot/Squeeze bottle works.  But, instead of the using the packets that they come with (which are just salt and baking soda), you should use Xlear as that contains xylitol in addition to the salt and baking soda.  What xylitol does is help kill off fungi, viruses, and bacteria in your nose.

You can also take some homeopathy medication.  The ones that might apply to this situation are Antimonium Tartaricum (a master of coughs and stubborn mucus, can help when the sinuses, or any part of the respiratory system, are full), Hyrastis (best known for yellow ropy mucus following colds that clog sinuses and when draining, can get stuck in the throat passage), or Kali Bichromicum (applies when thick, yellow-green, stringy mucus clogs the sinuses, blocks nasal passages, lines the throat and lungs, and may fill the ears as well).

I've learned a lot from the guy in this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDZGk6IThfY

The lecture is long but he goes on to explain all sorts of other treatments of sinusitis that are helpful for different people.  Hope this helps someone!
2 Comments
Awesome advice....Thank you... I'm going to try your solution. I've been dealing with this for 3 months...and I tried all of the other remedies, natural and non...and none of them will take it away..
Thanks again. ;)
Awesome advice....Thank you... I'm going to try your solution. I've been dealing with this for 3 months...and I tried all of the other remedies, natural and non...and none of them will take it away..
Thanks again. ;)
Avatar universal
I too am a singer & had a cold over a month ago with a lot of congestion. I took Nyquil often which seemed to help a lot, but I ended up with laryngitis for a couple of weeks, which for a singer, not being able to sing or talk for that matter is pretty devastating! I finally am able to speak again, but my voice still cracks when I get to a certain level & my singing is still not happening for the most part! I can't even hum without difficulty & forget about hitting the high notes! My sister is a voice teacher & said I must have acid reflux, but I've never had a problem with that before. I've been waking up with a sore throat, our weather here in the San Diego area has been unusually hot & dry lately, and I don't drink enough water. I do drink milk often though & apparently have a problem with phlegm on my vocal chords. I may try Mucinex, I actually bought some recently & was going to try & see if it helps my problem. Help! I need to sing!
2 Comments
Old Amish Formula (whose main ingredient is apple cider vinegar) helps for awhile but not permanently or completely.  Best to mix with something like tea unless you really love drinking vinegar.
So true! Mixing it with tea, I mean.  It doesn't seem to help though.  But it's great for my acid reflux!
Avatar universal
My throat mucus problem started with bronchitis 3 months ago, and I still have a choking, coughing fit problem a few times a day from a "tickle" still in my chest. I also have vocal cord mucus almost constantly, along with voice hoarseness after coughing or clearing my throat. It feels like the mucus is made right in the vocal cords because my nose is clear front and back and no mucus is being produced in my chest. Lemon juice in hot water is the only thing that helps temporarily, but nothing has worked to solve the problem for good.

As with everyone else it seems, my ENT first scripted steroids, then acid reflux pills(omeprazole). Neither helped solve the problem. I truly hope that time is not the only healer for this, as it has already gone on for 3 months and interferes greatly with life enjoyment. It is great we have this forum, as what cures for one may also help others.
Avatar universal
Hi

I had a thick mucusy feeling in my vocal chords for some time, making me sound hoarse and breathy and a constant feeling of needing to clear my throat. A camera showed nothing significant, just some reddening.  

I had had this condition some years ago and hunted up the recommended treatment.

Sip small amounts of water over the day, perhaps amounting to a half to one litre in total and hum - mmmmmm about medium pitch - and yawn as often as you can manage when you are on you own.

It took a few weeks but it has seemed to work for me, for now!

Best of luck, I hope it works for you.

Richard
3 Comments
Thank you. exactly my problem.. As  project Manger, it is  quite embarrassing , i am in a meeting talking at an octave and the my voice changes all of a sudden and i have to clear my throat to get it back to normal .. Sometime worse in the morning
Thank you. exactly my problem.. As  project Manger, it is  quite embarrassing , i am in a meeting talking at an octave and the my voice changes all of a sudden and i have to clear my throat to get it back to normal .. Sometime worse in the morning
I have had this problem, and I really believe a lot of it has to do with digestive problems (which I know I have).  Doctors will try to give you acid reflux medication, but it never helped me, and I finally read a book by a holistic doctor who said the problem is not too much acid as you get older but too little.  Your food is not getting digested, and it comes back up into your throat & creates problems.  I almost never have heartburn or even realize the acid reflux is there.  I also tend to have sinus issues & get sinus migraines.  This is the solution for me.  Somebody mentioned--stop drinking milk. Also, when you eat, try taking HCL Betaine combined with a Digestive Enzyme (tons of both of these on Amazon & both fairly cheap).  If your stomach is not creating the digestive enzymes it needs, HCL will correct it.  You usually don't take these long-term, just long enough to notice the problem is getting better.  Take them especially if you are eating protein.  After age 40, the digestive enzymes should always be taken.  Everyone has less acid at that point, & it gets less with each year.  Everyone can benefit by adding digestive enzymes.  You can also use Vocalzone (also on Amazon) which a lot of singers use to keep their throats clear.  Also, I use a neti pot twice a day.  I can feel almost immediate relief in my throat after I use it.  If you're new to using one, go very slowly & get used to it.  If you have a cold or blockage in your sinuses, it will put too much pressure on your sinuses & be painful.  It's best to start using it when you are well.  If your sinuses are fairly clear, it should go quickly.  These are the 4 things I do, and I rarely have mucus problems anymore.  
Avatar universal
Hi, i have same problem with thick mucus blocking my vocal cord always and makes very difficult to talk clearly. I cough alves to clear the mucus from throat before i talk and this has become an habit and i been experiencing this nearly an year now if i am correct :(

Though i consulted couple of ENTs, the first doctor suggested for tonsillitis treatment and the second doctor said it's coz of allergy and prescribed some allergy medicine.

I reduced intake of dairy products and tried some natural ways (lemon, honey) but din't help much.

After going thru this forum and your suggestions above, i feel some hope to come out from this problem. Can you please suggest the mucinex dosage that i need take (any particular quantity i.e., mg?, how many tablets in a day and for how long) or any other anti-inflamatory tablets which can cure this without any side effects.

It's really great we have this forum, where people can share their problems and solutions.

Thanks all and hope to find some permanent solution...
Avatar universal
Hi Sululu, did Mucinex help you in clearing your throat?
Avatar universal
Help. I am sick of this mucus in my throat and nose and indigestion.  I have had every test available and nothing.  I am not allergic to anything they have found.  My immune system is working well but I still have this.  I clear my throat all the time and cannot talk.  I am off dairy. That didn't work.  I'll try anything.  I am not on Allegra and acid reducer which are not working.  
Avatar universal
Hello,

This is my first time posting a comment and I just joined today!  I am elated with joy to hear of such conversation going on!  I too am a vocalist but I sing bass.  I have had the problem of feeling like something is on my vocal chords that is hindering me from hitting those low, low notes at will.  One day or one moment I'm able to hit a low G2 and within moments sometimes I can barely hit a low C2.  

The only way it seems to go away at some point and allows me to hit some of those low notes is when I hum a note in what I would say in an average talking males voice.  What comes out sounds like I there are several notes coming out at one time as if I am hoarse.  There is never any pain, just very frustrating because I know the  notes I can hit.  Imagine being able to basically breath out that low chest tone where the floor vibrates when you talk and then all of a sudden it is no longer there for you to feel or hear.  

I to have gone to an ENT doctor in which it was considered an operation where he put a steroid on my vocal chord but to no avail.  Nothing changed.  I've been looking for answers for years.  This has effected me since I was in high school.  I will take a look at the Mucinex DM to see what that does.  If there is anyone that knows exactly what I've been dealing and has anymore answers please respond!!  

Thanks,
cwb4
1 Comments
If you are a singer I would be careful with Mucinex. I took it and it actually made things worse because it's dried my vocal cords out too much.
Avatar universal
I landed here as a result of my search for these symptoms. I found that by not taking a medication prescribed for me, my symptoms / problem with excessive mucus around my vocal cords and feeling like I have to clear my throat and upper right chest. The medication is Fenofibrate and if you check those symptoms are listed as a possible side effects of course if you are not taking this medication this probably does not apply to you, it never hurts to consider meds you may be taking however. Of course I am NOT a medical professional and the standard disclaimer of checking with your Dr before stopping any meds etc apply blah, blah, blah http://www.drugs.com/sfx/fenofibrate-side-effects.html
Avatar universal
have been suffering with the same issue for over 5 years.  I have gone to an allergist and had 13 months of allergy shots.   Had surgery to correct a deviated septum, had sinuplasty and turbine surgery.   Took several courses of meds for acid reflux and nothing has helped.  
I also tried all types of allergy meds and it still continues.   ENT had me using a neti-pot for a year - no help.
I do not know what to do next.  
My issue is not a huge amount of mucus just a little bit.  I have to cough continuously just to break it loose, when I do I am good for a minutIe until it irritates me again.   We even tried a cough pill to help numb the throat to stop the cough cycle.
Very annoying problem and very frustrating that I cannot get any help.
Avatar universal
I have had the same struggles for the past 2 years.  I don't have a perfect answer, but I have found during a recent 21-day fast with nothing but protein drinks (containing milk protein, but not milk), that it went away completely during that time!  So, I conclude that it must be food related.  As I add foods back in, I will monitor when the problem re-occurs.
1 Comments
SingerForJesus,
Did it come back when you started to introduce more foods again?
Thanks in advance for any help/advice.
Avatar universal
Chelsae; thank you so much.

I'm dealing with much of the same conditions you mention. My doctor is at a loss to explain what's going on. My lungs are clear; I feel I am one good lugee away from wellness. Sneezing helped tremendously; (experienced that just yesterday). I will try the anti-inflammatories. Thanks again.
Avatar universal
Hi
I have been having a problem with my throat for quite a few years but never looked into it till now. I realised this problem started when I hit my twenties. The problem became worse now in my thirties. I love to sing and sing in the church. Lately this problem became worse when I get nervous before singing. Usually it happens when I do warm ups – when my voice is not “woken up” or when I have had a full day of talking and start to sing. It always happens when I start to sing and it happens when I sing middle notes. I am a soprano and when I warm up at certain middle range to slightly high notes using my throat, modal or chest voice, I will have this issue. But when I use my head voice, I can overcome this problem. The problem is either a mucus or phlegm related issue and it feels like a tiny phlegm stuck between your vocal cords. When you sing, the “phlegm” vibrates with your voice making it sound like a bad vibrato. You can just hear that strange vibration sound in my voice. It is truly embarrassing and I always cover up with an AHEM clearing of my throat. After a few more times of warm up, it usually goes away. HOWEVER in recent times, I realise this problem becomes really bad and worse when I am nervous before a performance. It often happens when I use my modal voice or chest voice or whatever voice that is not my head voice, usually when I sing contemporary style. This problem started becoming worse when I discovered singing with my head voice and I started singing in a more classical style in church. Now it seems when I go contemporary, I often encounter this problem and it escalates when I am very nervous as I have always been before any performance (making me quite redundant as a solo performer). I read about acid reflux but this doesn’t sound like it. I have never seen a doctor and don’t really want to have any probing equipment into my throat or nose. Does anyone have this problem? Is this psychologically caused? What advice do you have? I don’t smoke and I eat quite alright. I may not drink enough water which I have begun to do. On a side note, I know this sounds weird but when I have something oily, it tends to “open” up my vocal chords quite well for singing (and sometimes it doesn't cause that strange vibrating phlegm problem). Many will disagree with me on this one but it has worked for me during choir practices. Oily not like deep fried but more like stir fried (like fried noodles) or with some Asian type chilli called "Sambal".
1 Comments
You guys are living the exact same nightmare I'm living. Had very bad laryngitis which I caught last year March 2016 from work (today is 11/18/17). No thanks to whoever that sick co-worker was. Tried just about everything from EENT to 2 Otolaryngologists, to family doctor, to voice therapist, to Mucinex, to antihistamine, to acid reflux meds, to hydrating, to post nasal drip homeotherapy, to voice rest for 6 weeks, to prescribed nasal steroids, to prescribed antibiotics, to neck and tongue and breathing exercises, to green tea/apple cider/lemon/honey mixes, nasal flush, aromatherapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, etc. Some gave partial relief, but no permanent fix. After the laryngitis, it took me 8 months to be able to sing low notes again... 13 months to sing shaky midrange notes, and 18 months to sing in no-volume head voice notes. The worst situation I have today is in my midrange notes. It's raspy/airy/shaky... hard to control/hit/sustain a note, vibrato is either non-existent or stressful.  I can't sing soft notes anymore because I need to push more air just to get past the mucus. My voice is totally unreliable from day to day. I play the guitar and piano so I can sing. But now I hardly play the instruments because I can hardly sing. So frustrating. With the mucusy feeling in my vocal cords, my throat muscles automatically compensate so badly that my upper throat feels extra tight when I start singing the higher notes. If I totally switch to head voice or even falcetto, then the throat relaxes a bit. But that's not what I want or how it used to be. Everything seems to tell me that I'm stuck with this condition forever, but I have always been a fighter. I know there's a solution out there somewhere. I'm 55yo now and have been singing since I was in first grade. My learned singing techniques through the years have gone out the window because my singing effort just goes into hitting and sustaining notes. A terrible feeling!  I end up forgetting some lyrics while singing because of the mucus/throat distraction. Try my solutions above as suggestions. They may have not worked for me, but it might for others.  At least it can give you new ideas to try. I'll keep looking, asking, trying.  Good luck to us.
I don't know how often I'd be in a forum like this, but email me if you want to exchange ideas... at ***@****.  Cheers!
Avatar universal
Hey guys is the mucus any of you are coughing out green or yellow-ish? Because I have been struggling with a condition that started of as a typical sickness and completely ruined my voice. When I say completely I mean COMPLETELY. My singing voice is all covered up in a polyphonic layer of early morning-type of vocal fry that prevents me of singing anything. It improves a bit when I cough some phlegm out, but that doesn't happen everyday. I've been checked by multiple ENTs some say my folds are swollen, but they see nothing organically wrong. I've also had gastroscopy and have no reflux , and i had bronchoscopy there's nothing wrong with my lungs. they say there's nothing wrong with my nose as well. Help please. Here's a video they did on my chords in Paris 2 years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tvP2DaKXyg

Thank you!
1 Comments
Oh gosh, me too - exactly! Started with sickness, went completely hoarse and never completely recovered. I'm concerned that I have vocal cord paralysis. Cords in my "comfy zone" - where I sing to please myself - just won't vibrate properly and they feel sore when I try to force it. Just get vocal fry. Doctor saw slight swelling, said nothing was wrong, go to a vocal therapist. I was really annoyed with his lack of interest in what my problem really was, so I never went. Anyone else try the therapy?
2
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