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Constant throat clearing

I have a question about our oldest son. He's 4.5, and in the last month, he's developed this thing with his throat. He's constantly clearing it. It's totally unconcious, he doesn't realize he's doing it. We've tried asking him if he has something in his throat and he says no, and looks at us like what are you talking about, lol. It's pretty frequent, several times an hour (sometimes several times a minute). Then other times he might go a couple/few hours and not do it at all, or hardly at all. One thing I do find it's definitely at it's worse when he's eating (it can be almost constant while he's eating) and right after he's eating. My father has a hiatal hernia, so this makes me wonder if maybe DS has something going on? He doesn't have any other signs that I can tell of reflux, but then again I know sometimes it's hard to tell.

I did mention it to our doctor, but she didn't even look at him, just said, "Is it bothering him?" (it's not, he doesn't even realize he's doing it), and then said, "Well it's probably post nasal drip." I really don't think it is. He has NO allergy signs at all.

I know sometimes throat clearing can just be a fluke tic in children's this age, and I don't think he has any signs of Tourette's, so I don't want to make a big deal out of nothing, but would you take him back to the doctor to see if something's going on in his throat?
28 Responses
973741 tn?1342346373
Yes, I was going to say that it can be a tic. I will tell you that around that age, my son started this blinking thing with his eyes.  I was sure he had tourettes.  Finally, I just completely ignored it and it went away.  I didn't say one word about it.  I'd try that.  

He may have a little tickle, he really may.  Tis the season.  

Keep your eye on it and see if it naturally goes away.  I'm guessing it will.  good luck--

BTW, my husband clears his throat out of habit whenever he is getting ready to have a serious conversation or if he is on the phone for work.  It is a habit.  I and his close friends notice it but others probably don't.  He's alright-  hasn't hindered him.  It is like a nervous habit.  Just thought I'd throw that in too.  It will be okay, I'm sure.
Avatar universal
Well I actually asked him about it this morning, and he said, "Mommy the thingys are coming up so I put them back down". Red flag. So I said, "What thingys", and he told me the bubbles are coming up from his tummy... I asked him if the bubbles tasted bad and he said yes.

Normally when I'd ask him (and we don't ask often), he'd act like he had no clue what we were talking about, but occasionally he'd say he had something in his throat, so that's why I didn't think anything was bothering him.

So anyways, we're making an apt to see the doctor, as with his descriptuion it sounds like classic reflux.
1 Comments
Dear mshanson, my son is 6 and started clearing his throat about a year ago. He has been checked for Asthma, allergies, dairy, all test come back negative. I ended up taking him to a ear nose and throat doctor and they ran the light down his nose to his throat and said it was a little red so they are thinking it is acid reflux, they put him on the medicine and it has been two months and he is doing so so much better. I also cut dairy out of his diet and that might be the reason also he is doing good. Even though he is not allergic to dairy and feel strongly he has a sensitivity to dairy. Good luck!
535822 tn?1443980380
It does sound like reflux also there have been many things going round  in my area many are sick with a dry cough and a tickling throat that wakes them up, has he a cough or runny nose,ask that the Doctor checks his tonsils . good luck
973741 tn?1342346373
Yes, that does sound like reflux-------  hope you get some answers from your doc.  good luck!~!
Avatar universal
Well I did take him back to a diff doctor and she said it's possible it's reflux, and is putting him on reflux meds for a month to try, but it's  more likely that it's just a benign tic, that they can be common in children around this age, and especially in boys, and that it'll likely go away in a few months. But she advised to absolutely NOT mention it in front of him, not to ask him about it, etc.
973741 tn?1342346373
Yep, that is what I did for my son's blinking episode.  It did disappear all on its own.  It was hard not to say anything at times-----  out of worry.  But ignoring is the bet route.  

good luck and hope the throat clearing goes away.  
good luck!!
535822 tn?1443980380
Not talking to your son about it makes sense I have found very often the more talk the more it becomes , it seems to feed on the attention.Tics are very common also , it was the bubbling in his stomach that had a reflux symptom.I guess the med will tell you if it clears up his throat Good luck
Avatar universal
Well... all I know is it's driving us nuts. It's absolutely HORRIBLE when he's eating, I mean we're talking non-stop, serious. It honestly makes me wonder if he's having problems swallowing, because as soon as he's done eating it starts to taper off until while he does it sometimes, it's not very often. But then at mealtime again it'll be horrible.
535822 tn?1443980380
You could be right about the swallowing, I think you should speak to a doctor again , is he still taking the reflux meds?
Avatar universal
I have a 4.5 yr old son who is doing exactly what you said your son is doing. Eating is at it's worse and tapers off but still does it. We've been to the drs. They gave us a nasal spray and also mentioned a benign tic. It's been going on since April 2013. It worries me but also drives me nuts that I have no clear answer. It's really bad if he eats something cold.  We've asked him and he doesn't really even realize he does it. In one minute I counted like 20 clears. Sometimes he rubs his right eye with the back of his had never his left.
My question to you is it's been well over a year...has your son stopped clearing his throat?  Have you discovered anything new?  Any new habits?  Should we get an allergist involved?   Is it beginning stages of tourettes? Hope this message reaches you.
1 Comments
Sysmom, how is your son? Did you find out what it was, is he better? My son is doing the same thing so I'm curious. Thanks
Avatar universal
I found this post while searching because for the past year and a half my now 5.5 year old son started all sorts of grunting, throat clearing, etc. ... very irritating and never knowing he does it or able to explain why - its originally seemed to happen at meal time, but then all the time - after speaking with the Dr numerous times and thinking allergies, we tried OTC anti-histamines like Claritin and then Zyrtec, which is supposed to be stronger, but to no avail.  Just a week ago the Dr. said to try Flonase, a nasal steroid - within 2 days all noises have stopped!!!  I know this may not be the reason for all kids to have these noises, GERD or tics can also be to blame, but allergies was it for us and I wanted to share, because it seems like people post a ton of questions, but never if anything was resolved - I am hoping this is the last time I search for this :)
1 Comments
Thank you CCRN70
Avatar universal
My 5 year old has also been doing the same for around 4 weeks now. This morning I think that he coughed up a tonsils stone. I wounded if this could of been the problem all a long.
How is your childern now?
Avatar universal
Hello Sysmom, did you ever hear anything back from the initial poster mom? I am going through the same thing with my son right now. Constantly clearing his throat while eating and sometimes even not when he is eating. Did you get any resolution? I don't know if this is a tic or a throat issue. It's only been going on about a week now, but I can't decide if I should take him to the doc or not.
Avatar universal
So why is this suddenly normal. I grew up with 4 siblings, my aunt had 5 children and my other aunt had 9 children. I also had tons of friends. I never knew anyone who did this as a kid yet on this site and a bunch of other sites everyone is acting like this is normal and no one in these forums or their doctors has an answer for it. My son has this problem and I've gone to 2 doctors and all they want to do is prescribe drugs. Neither of them can give me a definitive answer on what's causing it  but they both are quick to try and give a 6 year old some sort of medication. They have so far tried to get me to give him 3 different kinds of drugs but I'm not giving my child their drug when they can't tell me why he's clearing his throat.
Avatar universal
I am going through the exact same thing with my daughter, 4.5yrs. The clearing escalates when food is around and come to think of it, especially cold foods, like yoghurt/ice cream.

Haven't been to docs yet as thought the ignoring approach would work, but it's been 6 months now and we are seeing no improvement and finding it rather annoying.

Please post any outcomes any of you might have.
16487994 tn?1448413002
I took my 13 year old son to his doctor for the constant throat clearing and she prescribed flonaze, it didn't help at all. She also told me, it could be a habit. That some kids have this habit or tic. She said most likely they will grow out of it. He does it worse when eating, or showering.

When I have asked him about it , he says he's fine, and seems to not know he does it. But like all the rest of the parents, it bugs the heck out of me, not knowing.
Avatar universal
My 2.5 year old has started doing this, and it sounds so much like an allergy issue just because it's so dry. She is  also sniffling a ton. But after reading all of your posts, if it continues after the sniffling stops, it could very well be acid reflux. Her stomach hurts frequently from chronic constipation, but she also had to be on Zantac for the first several months of her life for acid reflux, so maybe that isback? It is too early to tell much since she has only been doing it for barely a week, but I am glad I came across this string early on! I have a sound sensitivity disorder, with repetitive noises being one of the worst triggers, so this has been just so much fun...
Avatar universal
My 5 year old is also doing this, throat clearing/grunting noise, most definitely increases tenfold when eating or drinking. It's constant during those times.  She is aware she is doing it.  Says her spit is coming up and she also now says she feels like a piece of hair or something is on the back of her tongue.  We just went to an ent that put a scope in her nose down to her throat and said he saw some cobblestoning and inflamation, suggest possible reflux.  going to gastro tomorrow.  she has seasonal allergies and allergic to dust mites and mold as well.  i'm running around to specialists trying to pinpoint.  drives me crazy.  she shouldn't have to be doing that.  anyone on here ever get answers and successfully get rid of the noise?  eager to hear
3 Comments
Hello have you heard back on the reasoning?
Hello have you heard back on the reasoning?
im going though the same with my 6yr old. wondering what ended up being the outcome? did you guys get answers? I'm curious to know too.
Avatar universal
My son is 4+ and he does this too. He had serious of tics. Started with  blinking then head hinging and when I took him to the doctor  he said they are not jerky movements and more of a habbit. So ignore and not talk about it. It is frustrating not  knowing what's  bothering them. All this happened when our  newborn is now 8 months. So i was wondering  whether it bothers them and bit neglected knowing  there is another person in our life like him. Hope there are answers.
Avatar universal
My son is 4 ys old and he's been doing the throat clearing thing too so much lately. I hate that noise! I've no idea why he does it! He's otherwise healthy and fine. I have no idea why he does it and whether I should be worried.
Avatar universal
I  just tried the antacid and I  could tell a different  within 2 minutes. Will update later.
1 Comments
Which antacid?
Avatar universal
My 6 year old does the same thing constantly and he has choked on food and pukes often. He has been treaded for reflex and the meds don't seem to help. I'm scheduling another appointment and requesting a swallow evaluation, I'm wondering if he may need his throat stretched.
Avatar universal
Please help me!!!my 9yrs old daughter suffering throat clearing and dry cough for a almost 6-7months now sometime she frel pain in the throat beacause of the chronic and continuing clearing throat,i already visited diffrent doctors and many doctors as in many and take different medicine and finished all,xray neg,cbc neg,spirometry ok,stethoscope ok,but nothing happened,she take allergy med like cetirizine,loratadine,iterax,zyrtec,claritin etc,nasal spray fluticasone,nasonex,sterimar,different antibiotic clarithromycin,co amoxiclav etc,MDI inhaler,nebulizer,montelukast,med for cough fluimucil,broncair erc,med for GERD,acid reflux and non acid reflux med,lansoprazole and motillium,different kind kind of lozenges and gargles,now shes undergo to allergy shot 2inject wweekly,now she is in the 4th weeks of shot but the clearing throat was still there,i hard to think that cause of that is tic or habit syndrome because she know its hurt when continuing throat clearing and my daughter saw how i feel everyday she doing that,i think something wrong inside the body of my daughter,and i cant wait to the result of allergy shot,i cant sit down and wait only because i know the clearing throat can be spread or be complicated maybe some organs can damage,i have financial problem and i cant affird some lab test,i like to request the nasalendoscopy and throat,stomach ultrasound,Vitamin test,maybe viD,vitB12 and magnesium problems,and accidentally i met 2 different people i talked and they have the same problem like my daughter thaey almost same medicine they take but that med is only for adult,it is very hard for me because of money problem,like now she feel pain in the throat and i cant do anything because my wallet is empty,i just give a gargle salt and warm water,the doctors fee is very expensive and the charity doctors cant talk very long,some doctor got angry because i want to tell the other symptoms that connected to the problem,i hope someone can help me,i feel paranoid hopeless and sometime i want to give up,please help me
Avatar universal
My son does the throat clearing thing too.  He started blinking a lot too.  It's a tic.  If it lasts more than a year than he probably has tourettes.  If it lasts for less then a year it's probably a transient tic.  Diet could help.  They say more magnesium, vitamin b, and dha in their diet.  Try to cut out dairy, sugars and artificial ingredients.
973741 tn?1342346373
My son has had this tic off and on over the years.  Tics are not always tourettes even if the tick lasts a year or more.  Many kids have various tics due to anxiety, simple anxiety.  I try not to draw attention to a tic unless it is socially unacceptable (my son is older now and I wouldn't want anyone making fun of him at school).  The tics are not frequent but when he has them, he is stressed about something.  So, we talk about what is stressing him out and work on THAT and the tics get better.  :>)  My son has sensory issues and we saw a dietician specialist to no avail.  A therapist for anxiety is probably the best bet.  good luck
Avatar universal
My two year old daughter is doing the same and its mostly when shes eating and its aggraving me bc I dont know why she constantly having to clear her throat and I don't know what to do.
Avatar universal
My 7 year old daughter just started doing this about 3 weeks  now and it is literally driving me crazy, but she doesn't realize she is doing it. I ask her if something is in her throat or if it hurts and she says no or what are you talking about. It literally drives me crazy listening to her do it all the time! She is on singular 5 mg and claritin 5 ml every day. If this is allergies or mucous those should clear it up, right? I'm so annoyed by this... and want her to feel good and not have to do that.
Avatar universal
Any update? Its been several years since you posed this. Thanks!
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