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What are the Side Effects of Phlegm in the Stomach?

By Marisa O'Connor
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The side effects of phlegm in the stomach are somewhat dependent on the cause of excess production of phlegm. Illnesses such as the common cold and respiratory or sinus infections all cause an excessive production of phlegm, which often drains down the throat to the stomach. This can cause constipation, vomiting, and bad breath.

One side effect is constipation. If too much phlegm accumulates in the stomach, it can stagnate — in other words, it just sits in the stomach without moving. This can cause a blockage of the normal digestive tract, which means difficulty having a bowel movement.

Nausea and vomiting are often side effects of phlegm in the stomach. This reaction can be caused by a number of factors, but a lot of phlegm can create a heavy, nauseous feeling, which can lead to vomiting. The nausea may be made worse by an existing cold, which caused the accumulation of phlegm to begin with. Sinus infections can create a near constant flow of mucus down the throat and into the stomach, which can also trigger this reaction.

Loss of appetite is another common side effect of phlegm in the stomach, for similar reasons that cause vomiting. The fullness sensation that mucus in the stomach can create will often lead to loss of appetite. Nausea from the excess phlegm can also cause a person to not want to eat. Loss of appetite is a common cold symptom, so if a cold is responsible for the stomach phlegm, the already existing symptom may just be exacerbated.

Phlegm in the stomach also causes bad breath. Phlegm is made up of a certain protein, which is broken down by the anaerobic bacteria that lives in the stomach. When the protein is broken down, sulfur is released, often causing the breath to smell bad. This bacteria is also present in the throat and so can cause bad breath even if the phlegm has not yet reached the stomach.

In order to treat phlegm in the stomach, the sufferer has to understand what is causing the problem to begin with. Phlegm is originally produced in the nasal cavities, and when too much is present, it drains down the throat into the stomach. Treating the cold, respiratory or sinus infection that is causing the phlegm is a first step to dealing with the problem.

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Discussion Comments
By anon942123 — On Mar 25, 2014

Every time it gets windy in spring I feel sick to my stomach.

By Agni3 — On Jun 09, 2011

Every time the season changes in my area, I get tons of allergy and sinus issues. Headaches, congestion, coughing, sneezing, runny eyes, runny nose – every bit of it.

And besides the horrible pressure headaches, the absolute worst is the nausea that comes with the whole package.

A lot of times my throat will even become raw where the phlegm goes down and into my stomach.

I have yet to encounter any sort of sinus medicine that didn’t knock me out which worked for my severe allergies.

Every season, I just grit and bear it until the phlegm and cough passes yet again.

By Domido — On Jun 08, 2011

I, as a teacher, really learned my lesson once when I had a tenth grader with a really bad cold. Now you’ve got to understand that high school students will come up with a million excuses to get out of class, and they will push your buttons to the max if you let them.

Well, I had this one particular child who wasn’t necessarily a trouble maker, but also was not precisely a saint who kept asking repeatedly to go outside and to the bathroom. When I inquired as to why after a couple of trips, she said she had a cold and needed to ‘cough stuff up.’

Well, I finally just told her to use a napkin or tissue, but she couldn’t keep leaving class.

Little did I know that she would not do this at all, but started to swallow the phlegm.

She ended up becoming quite nauseous with a pretty bad stomach ache and much sicker than she was from the start.

I felt so badly about not letting her go and take care of her little business and protect her modesty, too.

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