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Why is it that everytime I laugh a lot, I develop phlegm and a nagging cough?

By November 6, 2011 - 7:58am
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I am 54 years of age and stopped smoking at age 21. I have had this condition for quite some time and am very embarrassed by it. I often avoid being around a lot of people and public places. This saddens me deeply because I have a great sense of humor laughter is my medicine. It helps ease the many stressors in my life; yet I find myself avoiding it around certain people. Also, I am constantly clearing my throat due to a terrible back-drip and I know that too annoys people. What can I do to fix this?I look forward to your response.
Many Thanks!
Carmen Rosa

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Hi Carmen Rosa,

I'm very sorry that this nagging cough is stopping you from being yourself! You're absolutely right, laughter IS the best form of medicine.

It sounds like what you have may be Post-Nasal Drip. 

Causes of PND include: 


  • Inhaled Irritants- These minute particles cause swelling of the nasal and sinus lining and originate mostly in areas with a lot of smog and dust.
  • Dairy Products- These food substances may cause ones mucus to thicken, making effective mucus drainage difficult. Dairy products also cause an irritation to the delicate mucus membrane lining and stimulate the nasal lining to increase their production of mucus.
  • Continuously eating foods that you are allergic too- This will cause mucus to thicken, resulting in poor mucus drainage and congested nasal passages.
  • Living in dry areas- This dry environment may cause the drying out of nasal mucus, making it thick and difficult to get rid off. This stagnant mucus is then a perfect host for bacteria to live and thrive in.
  • Smoking- Causes an irritation and inflammation of the delicate mucus membrane lining of the nasal passages. This causes an increase in the amount of mucus the nasal membrane secretes.
    Smoking also causes damage to the cilia, decreasing their ability to transport this excess mucus.
  • Avoid drinking caffeine containing products and alcohol - As these substances may cause the drying out and thickening of mucus.
  • Colds and flu- Ones immune system is lowered when one is suffering from a cold or flu. This makes it easier for a person to develop post nasal drip and sinus infections.
  • Throat and Swallowing disorders - These disorders may result in an accumulation of fluids, mucus and solid particles in the back of the throat. This accumulation of foods and liquids may cause the glands of your throat to increase their mucus production resulting in post nasal drip.
    Any growth or swelling in, or at the back of the throat may also prevent one from swallowing the mucus which will then stagnate, becomingsx thick and tenacious and creating another perfect environment for sinusitis creating bacteria.
  • Pregnancy and Birth control pills - Both these factors cause fluctuations in ones bodily hormones. These fluctuations may cause one to experience an increase in mucus production and consequently result in post nasal drip.

It is important that one drink lots of water during the day as these liquids help stimulate mucus flow, preventing it from becoming stagnant and thick.

Washing your nasal passages regularly with a saline solution containing no preservatives helps to wash away any harmful bacteria or foreign particles which may be trapped in the nasal passages or sinus cavities. This irrigation of ones nasal cavities will not however treat the underlying cause of a sinus infection or sinus related conditions.

If you are unsure whether this is what is causing your irritating cough, please see your doctor.

Hope this helps!




November 6, 2011 - 12:38pm
(reply to Rosa Cabrera RN)

Thank you so much your very prompt response and feedback regarding my health issue. The information that you provided was very helpful!
Many Thanks!
Best Regards...

November 12, 2011 - 10:14am
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