thick, sticky post-nasal drip solved! (maybe) (Read 87 times)

    I had been suffering from this off and on for the last year, having to clear my throat and spit out a gob almost every 15 steps or suffer it rattling with every breath.


    I assumed it was a mild cold, maybe allergy, or reaction to smog or smoke in the air.


    I did a little more reading, and found that sticky post-nasal drip is rarely nasal related if there are no nasal symptoms (running nose, stuffed up). One of the most common causes of this thick, sticky build-up is acid reflux! A very low level, triggering throat lining to protect itself as if there were a high level, but so low that you don't know it's happening. I would get this while running, and when I went to bed at night. (running motion/impact and change of position to horizontal).


    I experimented the other day with generic calcium antacid similar to Tums, both before running and before bed, and the symptoms were greatly reduced. Armed with that bit of knowledge, I'll check into diet and eating times and see if I can reign this in without any supplements.


    I hope this post helps other people who are having the same issue!


    (sticky, thick phlegm in back of throat but clear nasal passages; able to breathe through nose)

    55-59 age group  -  University of Oregon alumni  -  Irreverent and Annoying

    Princess Cancer Pants

      I should mention this to my MIL...she has a chronic cough that her doc suspects is allergies.  She refuses to undergo allergy testing, so maybe she should at least look into this.

      '18 Goals:

      • Recover from 2017

      • Surgery in March

      • Continue showing Cancer that it's not welcome back. Ever.

      • Rebuild to racing and big running & biking miles in 2019


      Getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to

      remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.    

           ~ Sarah Kay

      Seattle prattle

        hey bill. I was diagnosed with Silent GERD which is just a way of saying that i supposedly have it but don't have symptoms. Yeah, I'm not making this up.

        And i used to get really bad phlegm when i ran hard, esp. in winter. We had that diagnosed as Exercise Induced Asthma, which i most definitely have.

        BUt i studied the GERD/lung congestion link quite a bit and tried many things. I have all but cured the lung congestion, and my pulmonogist and I are a bit dumbfounded how this came to pass.

        But be that as it may, i still do a lot of things to counteract the GERD, like eating less spicy and acidic foods and a little less caffeine. I've given up a few of my fav foods like imported olives, Salsa, and...... well that's about it. Oh, yeah, I gave up spicy peppers as well. BUt i also try to have a few slices of lemon each day to create an alkiline condition in my gut, and i drink my tea and coffee with Almond Milk, which is about the most alkaline thing you can put in it (much more so that the Soymilk i used to use). Also, foods like nuts and beans which i eat a lot of anyway also help.

        Lastly, when the lung congestion thing was bad in the winter, i managed to stop it dead in its tracks by using a scarf over my mouth when i ran. I got very elaborate with this and even ran a race or two with one. A porous cloth is best and i experimented with a light mesh under it to keep it from sucking into my mouth when running hard.

        Does the nasal congestion happen to you even when you run very easily? Mine only bothered me when running vigorously And i suspect that for me, it was nasal stuff being sucked into the lungs, especially since i was diagnosed with some serious nasal polyps. I think cleaing up the nasal polyps for me is what cured the chest congestion during vigorous runs.

        Oh, and elevate the head of your bed- this is a well know treatment for GERD. About 6 to 9 inches. A lot of people do this. You can read up on it. Good luck.

          Seattle; I think you're right, harder work = onset. Sometimes at night it's starts BEFORE I go to bed, and am still upright. I think that may be the result of X-time after eating but I haven't kept a log. And because it's been fairly sporadic and not a 100% strict cause and effect when running I haven't narrowed it down until now. There have been runs when I must have easily spit out over a pint of phlegm, and others where I had no problem at all. This may have been due to what I ate or when, but again, I haven't kept a log of feedings.

          55-59 age group  -  University of Oregon alumni  -  Irreverent and Annoying

          Seattle prattle

            that's a lot.

            There are a few of the more common things to watch for, and many have nothing to do with what's in your gut:

            cold, dry air tends to affect many runners very harshly

            Hard running make it worse

            A good warm-up diminishes the likelihood of an onset (this is important)

            Full belly (sphincter can't fully close)

            Taking a muscle relaxer that inhibits the sphincter from stayng closed

            Spicy food (as you know)


            Bad air quality/pollution/perfumes/colognes

            Muscle constrictions  (a certain school of thought emphesizes relaxing your chest and airways when you run)

            Stress can cause muscle constriction

            Breathing through your nose helps some by pre-warming and adding moisture to the air going to the lungs

            Exhaling with parsed lips works for some by creating backpressure in the lungs before exposing the lungs to a fresh burst


            I strongly suggest paying attention to when the congestion happens. If it occurs mostly during certain times of the year, allergies may be the cause or at least be contributing to it.

            These things can be tremendously involved, and in all likelihood, it can be several things contributing. I have no idea why mine cleared up. But one good approach is to start with the obvious ones like eliminating dust in your house or attacking dust mite havens, getting checked for allergies, talk to your doc about some asthma meds, experiment with your diet and caffeine, take warming up seriously (20 mins. recommended), etc.

            For me, I know mine is exercise-induced asthma. WHat i do suffer with now is about two hours after i finish my run, i can only breath in about half breaths, and have trouble speaking in full sentences because i can't breathe in deep enough to speak a long sentence.

            Oh, and if you suspect GERD, an Ear/Nose/Throat specialist can send a little scope down your throat and see if you have the scarring associated with GERD. It's painless. I did it and that's how they found i have it (otherwise i never would have known). That was all done in one single visit.

            The fact you get an onset at night before bed could be many things. What comes to mind is that they say dust mites are a really common trigger to asthma (yep, i tested positive for it), and coincidentally, the bedroom is often the biggest infestation, esp. if your bedroom is carpeted. But they also reside a lot in mattressis, blankets, and pillows. There's things you can do about all of these. Like i said, this is really really common.

            Or the nighttime occurrence may be due to your being tired and your lungs secret fluids as a defense when they are tired or overworked. Some asthma sufferers have had luck with humidifiers.

            Good luck. I can tell you my asthma has honestly been an ongoing trial and error exercise in probelm solving for going on about 7 years now.

              thanks for the tips, I'll check into things when I have my physical later this month.

              55-59 age group  -  University of Oregon alumni  -  Irreverent and Annoying