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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Mucus in throat

10/03/2008 12:50PM

Question:

Hi,

I am a 60 year old elementary school teacher, who does exercise and am not overweight. About two months ago I began to feel mucus in my throat. I never smoked or had allergies. I went to an ENT doctor who did perform a procedure with an instrument going down my nose. NOthing was seen. I also went to a gastrointestinal doctor who performed an endoscopy, also revealing no problem. I was prescribed prilosac which is not helping. I am very concerned since I no longer have an appetite. That feeling of phelm is ruining it. I`ve been making myself eat, but only seem to get "junk food" down, and even that is not that appetizing any longer. Please tell me what type of tests should be done that haven`t been done to correct this problem.

Thank you and please write back soon

Answer:

There seem to be two possible issues. The first is a lack of appetite. This is important, especially if have also lost weight during this time. The decreased appetite may be due to reasons other than phlegm, and I would recommend that you talk to your primary care physician about it.

The second is the phlegm. Are you feeling the mucous or is there actual mucous. Is it thick or thin? If it is predominantly the thick mucous, you can consider taking guifenesin (talk to your family physician about this first).

Is the mucous thin, and just there when you are eating? This is called vasomotor rhinitis, but in this disease, the mucous is mostly when you are eating.

Most often, mucous is caused by acid or by allergies. If you are taking prilosec on a regular basis, it may not be acid. Nasal inflammation due to allergies may be something to consider. The next step is that I would recommend a ENT who specializes in rhinology (or diseases of the nose and sinuses). We have two very good rhinologists in our department, but most university ENT departments will have at least one who specializes in this area.

Let me know if you have other questions.

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Response by:

University of Cincinnati Siddarth M Khosla, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Otolaryngology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati
Siddarth M Khosla, MD