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How to Stop Clearing Your Throat

Throat clearing ranges from a minor annoying habit to a sign of a deeper medical issue. Try several easy techniques when throat clearing becomes a distraction in your life to try to relieve yourself of the urge or implement some lifestyle changes before it becomes a habit. Visit a doctor to see if there is a bigger issue that is causing the irritating sensations in your throat if you can’t stop your throat clearing with common techniques.

EditSteps

EditTaking Immediate Actions

  1. Take a sip of water every time you feel the urge to clear your throat. This is the first step towards breaking the habit of chronic throat clearing. Take a small sip of water and swallow normally anytime you want to clear your throat and see if it stops the desire.[1]
    Stop Clearing Your Throat Step 1.jpg
    • Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day so that you always have water available.
  2. Use a harder sip if the first sip of water doesn’t relieve your throat. Take a little sip of water but don’t swallow it right away. Keep it in your mouth, press a hand gently against your chest, lower your chin to your chest, and forcefully swallow the water.[2]
    Stop Clearing Your Throat Step 2.jpg
    • Imagine you are trying to forcefully swallow a pill as you swallow the water to force it down.
    • Once you master this technique, it usually works well to remove the urge to clear your throat.
  3. Force a “silent cough” if sipping water doesn’t work. Take a deep breath, place a hand on your chest, and exhale with force. Think of the sound you make when you say the letter “H” and force out your breath with the same sound.[3]
    Stop Clearing Your Throat Step 3.jpg
    • It’s important not to let yourself actually cough as you force out your breath for this technique to work.
    • This technique might dry out your throat, so you can take a sip of water immediately after to moisten it.
  4. Try laughing, humming, or talking as an alternative relief technique. Hum lightly, laugh gently, or start talking whenever you feel the urge to clear your throat. This will distract you and also use your vocal cords which helps to vibrate away mucus and remove the desire to clear your throat.[4]
    Stop Clearing Your Throat Step 4.jpg
    • You can try following this up with a sip of water to keep your throat moist and further relieve the sensations that make you want to clear it.

EditMaking Lifestyle Changes

  1. Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day to keep your throat moist. Drink up to 8 glasses a day in order to thin the mucus in your throat. This will cut down on the tingling, sore, or irritating feeling you get that makes you want to clear your throat.[5]
    Stop Clearing Your Throat Step 5.jpg
    • You should also avoid beverages that dehydrate you, especially alcohol and soda pop, for example.
    • Drinking up to 8 glasses of water a day also has loads of other health benefits, such as boosting your energy level, strengthening the immune system, flushing out toxins, and many more.
  2. Eat and drink less dairy products. Experiment with avoiding dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt for a few days and see if you clear your throat less. Dairy products increase the amount of mucus in your throat which makes you want to clear your throat more.[6]
    Stop Clearing Your Throat Step 6.jpg
    • Do this in addition to drinking more water and see if that helps you stop clearing your throat.
  3. Let your vocal cords rest if your voice is hoarse from being sick. Hoarseness is due to inflammation and swelling after the flu, a cold, or laryngitis. Avoid talking when you don’t need to and talk at low volumes. Rest your voice as much as possible until your throat is healed so you don’t make the problem worse, which can lead to chronic throat clearing.[7]
    Stop Clearing Your Throat Step 7.jpg
    • You should avoid talking in situations where you have to talk loudly over background noise, get close to people you are talking to so you don’t have to raise your voice, and use an amplification system (or take a few days off) if you have a job like teaching that requires a lot of talking.

EditSeeking Medical Treatment

  1. Visit a doctor if you cannot stop clearing your throat after a few months. A doctor will be able to determine if there are any underlying conditions that are causing the chronic throat clearing. They will be able to prescribe treatment that will help you resolve the problem.[8]
    Stop Clearing Your Throat Step 8.jpg
    • Excessive chronic throat clearing can lead to vocal cord damage, so it is important to get checked by a medical professional when you can’t resolve the problem on your own to avoid further complications.
    • Some possible medical causes of chronic throat clearing are asthma, chronic sinus infections, acid reflux, side effects from blood pressure medication, laryngeal sensory neuropathy, seasonal allergic rhinitis, and other allergies.
    • In very rare cases, surgery may be required to correct anatomic abnormalities that cause chronic throat clearing.
  2. Get an allergy test to see if you are allergic to any foods that irritate your throat. Go to an allergy specialist and have them perform a comprehensive allergy test to see if you are allergic to anything you didn’t know about. Avoid any foods that show up positive as an allergy.[9]
    Stop Clearing Your Throat Step 9.jpg
    • Chronic throat clearing is mainly caused by allergies to dairy products, however it can also be triggered by allergies to other foods like eggs, rice, soy, and wheat.
  3. Don’t take ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blocker medications. These two types of medication, used to treat high blood pressure, can potentially cause an irritating feeling that makes you want to clear your throat as a side effect. Ask your doctor to prescribe you a different type of medication and wait 3 months to see if the chronic throat clearing subsides.
    Stop Clearing Your Throat Step 10.jpg
    • Beta blockers or calcium blockers are some examples of alternative blood pressure medications.

EditSources and Citations


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