One of the commonest causes for which patients visit me is a constant desire to clear the throat.

What could be causing this?

Throat Allergies

Environmental pollution, bad air quality, eating spicy and oily food, pollen, smoking etc are some of the commonest causes of Throat Allergy. The best way to prevent falling a prey to this is to use allergen avoidance techniques, specially using an effective face mask when out in polluted areas. If you are a smoker it is pointless going to a doctor for treatment unless you are determined to stop smoking. In the presence of the noxious Cigarette smoke the throat will continue to suffer and medication can only provide a brief respite.

Post Nasal Drip

Patients who have Sinusitis, Allergic Rhinitis, Children with enlarged Adenoids will all have a post nasal drip (PND). This can be an annoying mucus discharge which slides down to the back of the throat and causes constant irritation and a desire to clear the throat. In these instances it is important to take medication for the primary condition.  Saline Gargles are a big help in alleviating symptoms.

Acid Reflux

Laryngo Pharyngeal Reflux (LPR) is a condition distinct from Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD) in that the patient may not have the usual symptoms of heartburn, foul eructations or retrosternal discomfort. The primary symptom may be dryness of the throat, a choking sensation or a constant desire to clear the throat. Proper medication apart from avoiding a heavy meal late at night will help in treating the disease.

Medication

There are some common medicines that can cause throat itching/ irritation or a chronic dry cough. In the present context some medicines given for high Blood Pressure must be kept in mind - if you are a hypertensive and on some medication the presence of this symptom should prompt you to visit your Doctor and maybe have the medicine altered.

When is it Serious?

In the presence of Blood Stained oral discharge, in cases of a Smoker, or if symptoms are persistent for a long time, you must consult your ENT Specialist for examination as well as appropriate remedy.

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