What is it exactly that causes phlegm? What triggers the human body to create such a vile, nasty substance that creates a day to day battle full of coughing, hacking, wheezing, hocking, swallowing and throat clearing?
If this is a question you have found yourself asking, you are not alone and interestingly enough, phlegm is often times a form of self-defense that the body uses to protect the the throat and lungs against viruses and other harmful things to the body. But somehow, knowing that does not bring much comfort to those who suffer from it. All that you want is to get rid of that constant feeling of something just sitting in the back of your throat or lungs, making it harder to breathe and seemingly impossible to get rid of.
What To Do first
In order to figure out how you can get rid of your phlegm, you must first know what is causing it. In order to figure out how you can get rid of your phlegm, you must first know what is causing it. In order to figure out how you can get rid of your phlegm, you must first know what is causing it. Temporary relief from phlegm can be great in the short-term, but if at all possible, the ideal thing to do is figure out a more permanent solution. You want to figure out the source of the phlegm so that you can either eliminate that source, cure it or block it. If you can do that, there is a good chance you can eliminate the problem of having phlegm bother you ever again or at least greatly minimize its impact on your quality of life.
Most people would agree that even just a small bit of relief would make a big difference in how they feel day in and day out. Also, it is not just a phsyical relief, but a social relief. No one wants to be that person in the office that is constantly clearing their throat and coughing throughout the entire day… every day. I know, because I have been there and it is not fun.
So what are the different things that can possibly cause your body to create and build up this nasty, annoying stuff we refer to with such an appropriately sounding name…. phlegm?
The most common known culprits as follows.
- Food Allergies
- Plant Allergies
- Illness or Disease
- Air Quality
- Reaction to Drugs
Think about each of these and how they might be the cause of your problems with phlegm. You may already know which one is causing your problems and if you do, then it is just a matter of figuring out how to eliminate, cure or block that problem. If you can’t eliminate, cure or block what is causing your phlegm, then you may have to settle for just figuring out how to treat the symptoms. But in most cases, you can completely get rid of your phlegm if you are willing to take the right actions. Lets dig just a little bit deeper into these causes and exactly how they can cause your body to build up un-wanted phlegm.
Food allergies are a very common cause of phlegm for many people. What is interesting, is that a lot of people don’t even realize that it is food that is causing it, or they just love food so much that they are in denial that they need to change their diet. It can be tough because some of people’s favorite types of foods can cause phlegm, but for a better quality of life, it must be done.
Simply identifying what types of foods are making your phlegm build-up worse and cutting them completely out of your diet can completely eliminate it. Some of the most common foods that people have phlegm producing allergies to are Dairy Products such as milk, cheese or yogurt, wheat or gluten products, soy, corn, sugar, bananas, potatoes, cabbage and foods high in Omega-6 fatty acids to name a few. There are many more, but these are the most common. If you are not sure if one of these is the cause, then eliminate all of them from your diet for a week or more and see if your phlegm goes away. If it does, reintroduce one food at a time to determine which one was the culprit.
Most excess phlegm production caused by plants is the result of some sort of allergy that you have to a particular type of plant. These allergies are most often caused by pollen from flowers, trees or grass. This is a difficult one to deal with, especially during allergy season, but there are some pretty good allergy medications out there that can help a lot. Other than taking medicine, just trying to avoid coming into contact with the allergens as much as possible is the best thing you can do. Use common sense, as an example, if you have grass allergies and you have to mow the lawn, then use some sort of face mask to keep you from breathing the grass pollen through your mouth or nose.
Illness or Disease:
There are many diseases that can cause phlegm in the body. Some of the most common are acid reflux or GERD, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure, cystic fibrosis, lung cancer, pulmonary edema and pulmonary embolisms. Every day illnesses often cause phlegm as well such a colds and flus. Most of these are not really treatable in the long term unless the disease can be cured. The best thing you can do is to try to discover what you can do to reduce the effects that the disease has on your phlegm build-up. Ask your doctor, look at forums specific to your disease and don’t be afraid to try different things. A couple weeks or months of trying different things could save you years of struggle.
Air pollution and smoking have both been shown to cause an increase in the amount of phlegm production. This is due to the irritation that they both cause to the throat. Long-term smoking is also a cause of chronic phlegm due to the damaging of the lungs. This puts the body in constant fighting and protection mode because the lungs are permanently irritated. The best cure for either of these is easy. Breathe as much fresh air as possible, stop smoking and if possible move to a place that has better air quality. Not only is this advice good for getting rid of your phlegm, but it is for your overall health.
Stress has been known to cause phlegm in a lot of people, especially when the stress is prolonged or severe. A condition that stress can cause that can cause phlegm is called “Vasomotor Rhinitis”. The fact is that stress will affect everybody differently and if you are feeling stressed and start to notice an abnormal increase in phlegm, that may be the cause. Figure out what exactly is stressing you out, but more importantly, figure out what you can do to relieve your stress. Shoot some guns, hit some golf balls, watch some movies… you know best what helps you relax.
Drinking doesn’t so much cause phlegm in your throat, but it will exascerbate it. Alcohol dehydrates the body which dries up any phlegm that may already be in your body. This makes it much harder to dispell. The best defense against this is to simple not drink, but if you are going to drink, then have a couple of glasses of water right before you go to bed, then more when you wake up. The better you can stay hydrated, the easier your fight against phlegm should be. Some people also have an alcohol intolerance which can also cause phlegm, much like an allergy.
Now hopefully you have an idea of what is causing your phlegm. Once you have that idea, you can determine the best course of action to get rid of it or treat it. If it is due to food allergies, eliminate the food. If it is due to stress, then remove some stress from your life. If it is due to drinking too much, then decrease your drinking.
But don’t just stop there. There are a lot of great ways to get rid of phlegm, most of them involving eating certain types of foods.
When it comes down to it, what your body is telling you when you start to get a build-up of phlegm is that something is wrong. It is not always easy to tell exactly what, but if you pay careful attention, you can almost always figure it out. Hopefully with what you have learned from this article, you can get an idea of what is causing your phlegm and take appropriate action.
For some great phlegm treatment ideas, refer to our articles: Phlegm Fighting Recipes and Natural Food Remedies for Phlegm
For some more great information on causes and remedies of phlegm, check out these other great sites:
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