May cause acid reflux after nasal drops

Coughing and swallowing compulsion

Coughing force: Compulsive clearing of the throat due to a feeling of dryness, lump, or foreign body in the throat.

Forced to swallow: Compulsive swallowing due to a feeling of dryness, lump, or foreign body in the throat.

The compulsion to clear the throat and swallow is mainly triggered by functional voice disorders. Foreign bodies or heartburn, but also blockages of the cervical spine and muscle tension are possible rare organic causes.

Leading complaints

  • Compulsive swallowing
  • Compulsive throat clearing.

When to the doctor

In the next few days if

  • The need to clear the throat or swallow occurs for weeks.

The illness

There are many causes of compulsive throat clearing or swallowing. Often, for example, there is an incorrect or excessive strain on the larynx. The symptoms often increase after prolonged speaking and singing, which is why having to clear the throat is particularly uncomfortable for teachers, speakers and singers. Psychological pressure, stress and fears are also triggers and amplifiers of these compulsions.

Organically, an obsession to clear the throat or swallow is often triggered by permanent contact of the pharynx with irritating substances (e.g. dust, nicotine, alcohol, chemicals or irritant gases). Chronic mouth breathing, e.g. B. with bent nasal septum or chronic sinus inflammation, can also be the cause. Usually the mucous membranes in the mouth and nose are also affected because they are too dry. In some cases, heartburn, foreign bodies such as hair or crumbs, or blockages in the cervical spine also trigger compulsive clearing of the throat or swallowing.

Diagnostic assurance

A visit to the ENT doctor will clarify whether there are organic causes in the throat or nose. If heartburn from gastric reflux is suspected, a gastroscopy at the gastroenterologist can help; possible orthopedic or muscular causes require an examination by an orthopedic surgeon.


Conservative treatment

The following applies to the treatment of non-organic causes: There is no magic bullet. First of all, you must try, if possible, to eliminate the causes and avoid substances that irritate the mucous membranes. In the case of functional voice disorders, individually tailored speech therapy can help.

If there are fears or psychological stress behind the symptoms, we recommend psychotherapeutic treatment and learning and applying relaxation techniques such as autogenic training or yoga.


Any inflammation of the mucous membrane of the throat can be reduced by the doctor, depending on the cause of the inflammation, with antiallergic drugs or other anti-inflammatory drugs.

Operative treatment

If there are organic causes, these can be permanently eliminated with an operation, if necessary.


In the case of functional disorders, whether the urge to clear the throat or the urge to swallow can be curbed depends heavily on the individual patient and the success of the speech therapy or psychotherapeutic treatment. In the case of organic causes, the prognosis is determined by the disease and its treatability.

Your pharmacy recommends

What you can do yourself

  • Keep the lining of the throat moist, e.g. B. by steam inhalations, lozenges with sage or Emser Salz® lozenges.
  • Chamomile is unsuitable, it dries out further, as are lollipops with menthol or eucalyptus.
  • Oily nasal drops (e.g. Coldastop® with vitamins A and E), which are used to apply a protective film to the mucous membrane of the throat over the nose, have also proven effective.
  • The combination of hyaluronic acid, xanthan and carbomer (in GeloRevoice®), which covers dry and irritated mucous membranes like a protective film, alleviates the need to clear the throat.
  • Last but not least, you should avoid sour, spicy and hot food and drinks as well as nicotine and alcohol.

Complementary medicine


An individually tailored homeopathic constitution therapy may help alleviate the symptoms.


Prof. Dr. med. Gerhard Grevers; Dr. Ute Koch; Thilo Machotta; Dr. med. Arne Schäffler in: Gesundheit heute, edited by Dr. med. Arne Schäffler. Trias, Stuttgart, 3rd edition (2014). Revision and update of the sections "Symptoms and leading complaints", "When to see a doctor", "The disease", "Confirmation of diagnosis", "Prognosis" and "Your pharmacy recommends": Dr. med. Sonja Kempinski | last changed on at 11:51

Important note: This article has been written according to scientific standards and has been checked by medical professionals. The information communicated in this article can in no way replace professional advice in your pharmacy. The content cannot and must not be used to make independent diagnoses or to start therapy.