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How do I get Rid of Excess Mucus?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Mucus is an essential part of many bodily functions, though excessive production of it can become a nuisance. For some people, taking a medication, such as an expectorant, will help get rid of excess mucus. In other cases a dietary change can help, while yet others may benefit from an herbal or natural solution. In order for one of these remedies to get rid of your excess mucus, you must first determine why your body is making too much of it in the first place. While mucus production can be the result of something as simple as an allergy, it may be something as serious as cystic fibrosis, and sometimes only a medical professional will be qualified to determine the cause.

Mucus membranes produce mucus for a variety of reasons. In the esophagus, mucus is meant to protect the cell lining from food that passes through on the way to the stomach. Mucus also plays a role there, where it protects the lining of the stomach from the powerful acids that are used to digest food. The respiratory system also uses mucus to capture foreign materials within the lungs, and even tears are a component of nasal mucus.

Some of the most common sources of excess mucus are the sinus and the respiratory system. Too much mucus in the sinuses can result in a runny nose, while too much mucus in the lungs can lead to a feeling of heaviness when breathing. Symptoms like these are often indicative of a larger problem, and if the mucus is not clear, it may indicate an infection. Expectorants can often help clear the mucus, but if it is green or yellow in color there may be a secondary infection. Medical care is typically recommended in such cases, since it is possible a serious condition like pneumonia may have set in.

If the mucus is clear and simply an annoyance, it may be possible to take supplements such as vitamin C and vitamin E to curtail mucus production. Various herbal remedies, like echinacea, along with plenty of water may also help symptoms of excess mucus.

Sometimes, excess mucus might be caused by a person's diet. Some people have experienced a build-up of mucus when consuming food or drink, such as milk, though scientific studies suggest there may be no connection between the two. It may still be useful for some people to track consumption of things like MSG and other food additives though, to determine if there is any correlation.

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Discussion Comments

By anon286435 — On Aug 21, 2012

I used to get sinus infections and have post nasal drip on a consistent basis. I changed my diet and daily drink smoothies made with oranges, spinach, strawberries, blueberries, carrots, yogurt and a little ginger every morning. Daily I prepare my meals with fresh garlic, onions and habanero or some other peppers.

I have noticed that not only is the mucus gone but stomach bloating is gone, my energy level has increased and I have lost body body fat. Also I have eliminated drinking juice and drink water with lemon added and have noticed that my body now produces very little mucus, if any, at all!

By seag47 — On Jan 21, 2012

I tried taking an expectorant when I got chest congestion and a nasty cough. It certainly helped me cough up the nasty mucus, but once it emerged, I could see that it was bright yellow. Also, the cough lasted for days and didn't seem to be subsiding at all.

I hacked up more mucus with this illness than I ever had in my life. I could hear it moving around in my chest as I breathed. It made me wheeze, and it made a rattling sound as air went in and out.

So, off to the doctor I went. I got two weeks worth of antibiotics and a steroid shot to help my body overcome the infection. It was bacterial in nature, so antibiotics would work well on it.

By lighth0se33 — On Jan 21, 2012

@Oceana – I also have excess mucus in the winter, and I think that my heater is to blame. The hot, dry air that passes through the vent dries out my sinuses, and this stimulates my body to make more mucus. It's overcompensating for the loss of moisture.

You can do a couple of things in the winter that may keep your body from producing so much mucus. For one, you can close the vent in your bedroom a few hours before you go to bed. Keep it shut during the night, and just use extra blankets if you get cold.

If you can't stand the cold, you could use a humidifier instead. I have one in my bedroom, and it helps keep my sinuses lubricated, so my body doesn't freak out and make more mucus.

By Oceana — On Jan 20, 2012

I got really tired of all the mucus in my throat. It dripped down all winter long, and I needed a way to get rid of it.

I started drinking lemon echinacea tea. The lemon seems to cut through the gooey mucus and help clear it out.

Drinking a lot of water is supposed to be good for treating mucus problems, and I did this, as well. Since there is water in the tea, I drank two cups of it each day, and I know that the simple fact that it was a fluid helped.

It seems that I only have trouble with excess mucus in the winter. Does anyone know why this might be?

By kylee07drg — On Jan 19, 2012

I think that eating foods with vitamin C in them can help clear up mucus, also. I prefer to get my vitamins from natural sources, so I keep fresh fruits and vegetables in my house at all times.

Oranges are one of the best sources of this vitamin. They are one of my favorite fruits, and when I eat an orange, I notice that I don't have as much mucus in my throat and nose afterward.

Salads that include bell peppers and broccoli are great sources of vitamin C, too. Eating these makes breathing through my nose easier, and I don't have to clear my throat as often, either.

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