By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Ask Dr. Gott 2/5
Excess mucus may have no cause
Placeholder Image
    DEAR DR. GOTT: I am a 65-year-old male. My problem is that I have to frequently clear excess mucus from my throat. It seems to be worse when I am talking on the phone or meeting new people.
    I have had this problem for many years, even as a teenager, but it has gotten much worse. My tonsils were removed when I was 21.
    I went to a throat specialist and was told it was probably caused by acid reflux. I then had a test done on my esophagus that showed some moderate acid reflux despite the fact that I never have heartburn. My throat otherwise looked completely normal. I now take Nexium but continue to have the same mucus problem. It is definitely not a habit. It can happen at nearly any time of the day, even when I am not talking. It sometimes will last for several hours.
    I think my doctors are on the wrong track. Can you help me?
    DEAR READER: Acid reflux can lead to upper-respiratory mucus secretion. However, your condition has been present for decades, so I would check out the possibility of an inhalational allergy or other sinus condition, such as polyps or enlarged adenoids (the filtering mechanism near the sinuses). You should go back to your ear-nose-and-throat specialist and ask about this. He or she can test you for any sinus abnormalities. Polyps and enlarged adenoids often respond to steroid nasal spray but may require surgical removal. If, however, the tests are negative, your doctor can provide a referral to an allergy specialist. The allergist should test you for various irritants such as dust, dander, pollen and more. If you do indeed have an allergy, a simple medication, such as Zyrtec or Clarinex, should solve your problem. However, if no allergy is discovered, I’m afraid you may fall into the category of people who have excess mucus for no apparent reason. This often does not have a single successful treatment, but your ENT doctor may be able to offer some suggestions, including a humidifier, dehumidifier, air filters, over-the-counter decongestants and more.
    I had a patient with symptoms much like yours. She was a cat lover and had had many cats over the years. She, for no apparent reason, had suddenly become sensitive to cat dander.
    The solution was easy for me but difficult for her. She had to give her beloved cats away to other loving homes. Her problem was gone soon after the cats were.
    Let me know how this situation works out for you.
    To give you related information, I am sending you copies of my Health Reports “Allergies” and “Hiatal Hernia, Acid Reflux and Indigestion.”

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter