For some people, excess mucus can be an embarrassing and unpleasant experience. No one likes to be sniffling and coughing into a packet of tissues however as horrible as it might be, there’s no getting away from mucus. In actual fact, everyone has varying amounts of mucus in their body. It’s an essential body fluid and is present in our respiratory and reproductive systems, as well as our digestive systems. It makes up part of saliva, and helps the passage of food through our bodies. In our respiratory system, it traps dust and pollution particles and protects our lungs from invasion. While it may be difficult to see mucus in a positive light, at times, it’s a substance that can be very beneficial to our body and vital to maintaining health.
Healthy mucus is thin in texture, clear and colourless. When we’re in good health, we don’t give mucus a second thought. It only bothers us when we have a cough or cold or other infection that leads to the mucus becoming more viscous and darker in colour. Green and yellow mucus is a sign that you are fighting an infection. Lifestyle factors such as smoking can also cause excess mucus production as the throat lining becomes irritated by the smoke. Irritation of the throat lining causes further mucus production.
If you have a chronic cough, it may be because you can’t clear an excess of mucus from your body. The more you cough, ironically, the more you will produce mucus, as coughing also irritates the throat lining. You can get advice on persistent cough from mucusmanagement.org.uk, an informative website that looks at the causes and treatment of excess mucus.
There are other reasons that people produce an excess of mucus. Different conditions such as asthma, allergies, chickenpox or croup can increase the amount of mucus, as can being pregnant (because of the increase of oestrogen in the body).
You may need to consult the doctor if the amount of mucus is really troublesome, but there are some home remedies you can try to help loosen and thin mucus so it’s easier to expel. Although excess mucus is unpleasant, measures such as drinking lots of fluids, eating spicy foods, and avoiding dairy products which contain casein – which is linked to the production of mucus – can all help.
It can also help to inhale steam and to warm the chest area to help shift congested mucus so that it can be coughed up more easily. If you visit a gym which has a steam room, spending a few minutes relaxing in the hot steam can be a great way of clearing your chest.
It’s not a pleasant topic to discuss but excess mucus is not something that you simply have to put up with – it’s worth trying out different methods to relieve the build-up of mucus, but if none of the home remedies are effective, you shouldn’t hesitate to see a medical practitioner.