Mucus. How are you with it?

I've found since my thyroid removal op, my mucus levels vary in tune with my thyroxine intake. When I'm low, I'm a bit 'dry' nasally, when I'm on the up stroke ( and my Endo has decided I'm actually very low for the gazillionth time and upped my meds), I get a slightly blocked nose as my mucus membranes come back into operation. My nose (sorry ladies) has a slight crust inside it for a few days, whilst my thyroxine increases. I have no cold symptoms, I have no flu symptoms, only a booger filled nose for several days.

I've noticed this several times since having my thyroid taken out, but never seen much discussion on it. I have also , intestinal problems ,which mainly manifests itself in lactose intolerance. I'm kind of working on a theory that these two events are tied in.

Your villi, the little 'tongues' which pass the food through your gut, rely on mucus production to deal with the food. This could be the seat of my 'post op' lactose intolerance.

Can anyone relate to this? It might be a bit odd, but its the only way I can tie all the symptoms into one real causation....mucus production.

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47 Replies

  • I can relate to this. I have asthma which does not help and I always thought these symptoms were just to do with that, but who knows, I seem to have all sorts that I put down to other autoimmune deficiencies.

  • My friend has asthma and wheezes quite a lot, but she changed taking her meds at bedtime and the wheeze is gone. It might be worth a try.

    Jo xx

  • So glad you mentioned this. I have had low thyroid ( Hashis) for over 20 years and it has never been properly treated. During that time I have had chronic thick white mucus ( post nasal) and a blocked up nose. I always wake with a dry throat. I know it is caused by the low thyroid. I have recently been trying Erfa NDT and since I have upped the dose I have developed very dry scratchy eyes, a very dry crusty nose which feels sore, and bowel problems ( lots of wind !). I did not realise that it could be lactose as well. I thought it was the usual gluten intolerance. I still have the thick mucus at the back of the throat though. No-one can tell me what is going on. I thought I would feel better not worse! It definately affects the mucus membranes all over. Hope others have some useful advice/comments. It's a very unpleasant condition.

  • I have Hashis and exactly the same symptoms as you. Chronic thick white mucus etc for over 20years. I have recently tried Erfa ( 6 months) and also developed the dry nose/htroat, still have constipation and dry eyes/nose. However - I also have adrenal fatigue and was put on Nutri Adrenal about 4 months ago - this caused my eyes to become even more dry, very red and scratchy ( like conjunctivitis ). I suspected that the Nutri Adrenal was stimulating the whole glad not just the cortex. I stopped the tablets and the eyes got better, although still need drops. Plus it's hayfever time now so even more problems! I will look into the gluten/lactose route.

  • I have an underactive thyroid and am on a dose of 150mg and in the morning I am very bunged up and then end up coughing up mucus. I also have bad bowels and thought I was gluten intolerant. So maybe it is all related. It's a right nuisance and so uncomfortable.

  • Have you tried a dairy free diet.? Hemp or almond milk are nice.

  • My morning mucus went when I gave up sugar for five years and came back when I started eating it again.

  • Hi This well could be Sjogrens, causes lack of all secretions. Autoimmune disease, common.Specialists usually specialized rheumys. There are drugs but also various creams. Common feature is dry eyes?


  • I use eye drops and yes gel for this but I've never used anything for my nose. Do you happen to know if there's sandal spray that you can get from your GP please? I have the beconase in the summer to hay fever, but I'm referring to general use to help stop your nose getting blocked.

  • Hi I have Nasonex, script, once a day. That was from an ENT specialist. However, you do need to be careful with sprays, they can make the problem worse. There are potent drugs, whole body. I cannot take them as contraindicated for me. I have had for years, very expensive eye drops and cream, every hour, ( eyes terrible) , mouth toothpaste, gel and mouthwash, all Biotene, on a script. these can be bought but expensive.

    If really troublesome, I would get specialist input.

    Best wishes,


  • Hi I just wanted to follow up by saying that I've been to the GP. She prescribed me Nasofan Aqueous nasal spray 50mcg. 150 metered sprays. I'm sure it helps, but I've only used it a couple of days, so it's early days.

    From Fiona

  • Hello Fiona,

    Thank you for telling me. good, do not forget the saline nose washes.1 flat teaspoon salt in half a pint of boiled water twice a day. You need the special nose spray can be bought with expensive "pure" salt, then re used.In a set, n ot sure if you can buy it on its own.

    it hope it all works ,


  • Hi I'm not sure what the special nose spray that goes with the pure salt is? I'm guessing it's an empty bottle that looks like a prescription nasal spray bottle? I've got a neti pot, which is along the lines you mention. It has a spout you pour the salt water up one nostril and it pours out the other. Yes to use with the pure unrefined salt that you're referring to. From Fiona

  • Hi mine is a clear bottle, but yes used like that. Table salt is fine if GP will not prescribe, as mine will not.Really helps am and Pm.


  • OK Thanks for the tip. I've seen some white plastic nasal spray bottles on eBay. They strike me as expensive just for an empty bottle, but hey...

    From Fiona.

  • Hi It is just a plastic bottle, see through with a hole in it, ( funny as I am dyslexic) . When I bought the pack ( ENT) it cost about £18 just for that and a packet of pure salt. American.You may be able to get the bottle on its own.I am meant to have the salt on a script but too expensive, GP, but the saline mix is fine. Make sure the water has boiled. If I make the evenings one up am , then I heat the water in the micro in bottle, but luke warm only.


  • I used my neti for a long time then invested in a battery run nasal pump to wash sinuses. It does help but because I now have a chronic sinus infection it can only do so much.

  • I have asthma too. I was always a mouth breather in school due to getting so many bad colds. Since being I'll wit h ME/CFS and hypothyroidism, I identify with your comments about nasal mucous even though there's no actual cold. I've also been prone to a morning cough and coughing mucous.

    I'd started Buteyko breathing in November which seemed to help. The rule is nasal breathing at small times, and I was taught how to clear my nose. But even I was struggling keep it clear.

    I managed to acquire a neti pot on freegle. I hadn't heard of it until I saw the notice. It's a way of dissolving pure salt and then irrigate the nose. It's gross and k a little getting used to. But it really does remove plenty of that stuff that hardens in the insides of my nose.

    If I clear my nose before bed, ill have a better night, same in the morning, day better. Having said t last night I woke up somehow choking on mucous or whatever was going on.

    Also with the windy weather my breathing is sensitive to these changes in auto pressure and the wind and yes I get more mucous then.

  • Hi See my latest reply ton the post.The saline, i find marvelous.


  • Some good tips for myself or others to follow. Many thanks. From Fiona

  • I am similar to you I have ME and Hypothyroid, I have really blocked sinuses and rotten mucus, I can't seem to get enough breath, particularly when I am lying flat trying to sleep. I have gone back to using the neti pot but was so blocked up, the water went up my nose but barely a trickle came back down. I also use organic fenugreek seeds, put some in water and boil 'til half the amount of liquid is left and drink the water. It acts as a mucus solvent and throat cleanser and helps the digestive system. Helped me greatly when I had gangrenous appendix and had gastritis after op, it was a life saver to help heal my disgestive system.

  • There must be something about the ME and being hypothyroid that causes this mucous. The air hunger you are talking about where you feel you need to take a big breath, is strange isn't it.

    I don't want to push buteyko breathing too much because I know how time consuming I've found it to put into practice. That time you are sitting doing the breathing exercises really does eat into your precious time where you feel you are well enough to do something productive, rather than rest or keeping it low key... BUT buteyko exercises and the advice I got, taught me not to fight that air hunger, because it defeats the object. Mouth breathing is a vicious cycle, where the nose gets more blocked due to mouth breathing and it becomes more blocked. She said breathe through your mouth - buit I can't my nose is blocked... so I agree anything we can do to clear the nose, so it feels comfortable to breathe really helps our wellbeing.

    For once my nose actually feels comfortable, so with a combination of the neti pot, the nasofan, no dobut getting an empty nasal spray to try the salt water in that way too. There was a buteyko technique to clear your nose - which is OK too.

    I've found sleeping with my mouth closed (yes I was told to put a strip of micropore tape vertically over my mouth at night) really starts my day better. Really that was due to the buteyko advice and I wouldn't recommend it out of those appointments. I can tell you at first, I woke in a panic and pulled it off a couple of times, because I couldn't breathe.

    Really the buteyko method is a form of breathing exercises and it's a form of complementary therapy. So I figured I'd do this behaviourly and get out of these breathing habits and over breathing.

    Plus medically, by addressing being ill and doing what we can do that way, together with supplements and the nasal things we are saying.

    I'm sure it's a multi-angle approach to beat this nasal problems. It's more than behavioural. Although the more ill you are the more you do hyperventillate.

    This week I've started revesterol supplement. Yesterday and today I feel much better. I'd previously had a symptom shift due to buteyko between some days not feeling too bad, but other days awful headaches and migraines; to recently feeling so sluggish and no get up and go and poor cognitive funciton. Yesterday and today I feel different.

    I know not to speak too soon though! But the difference feeling like you can breathe more easily through your nose - that makes a big difference towards feeling well and your wellbeing I think. Plus it could be the supplement too.

  • Yes that air hunger is weird, it sometimes means I have to stick my head out the window to try and get some air. Most of the day I have the window open slightly, as central heating seems to make the atmosphere dry, which in turn blocks me up more.

    It is difficult to not mouth breathe when your nose is so bunged up, I try yoga breathing which over the years has helped me. At the moment, I just can't get enough air lying down with my mouth closed.

    Well lucky you didn't turn blue with the micropore over your mouth, if your nose is blocked. Can understand they are trying to retrain you to breathe properly, which is a good thing in the long run.

    Yes we do the best we can and symptoms seem to fluctuate so much.

  • All I can advise after everything I've learnt: just don't fight this urge to do these big breaths. I swear there's something about our illnesses that make us instinctively want to take big breaths - it's the only good breath I'll get all day feeling. Or something like a reflex take a big breath before getting out of the car. Or sighing. I don't know why our bodies trick us into doing these things, but it's something I'll never get, but it can only be as a result of being ill. Perhaps the mitochondria or being hypothyroid.

    I've learnt it's all counter productive and fighting it like that makes it worse and made me feel like it took me half the morning for my breathing to feel OK. No wonder I was out of breath walking if I was doing big breaths or the occasional big breath when seated.

    Damn it, I wish I was allowed to wean myself off the buteyko breathing exercises, but apparently I've not made enough progress yet.

    It's all the opposite of what you'd think. You'd think big breaths are good for you, but it's teaching you to reduce your breathing, rather than thinking you're not getting enough air in.

    Believe me, that's what air hunger feels like - not getting enough air in. There are still days when I get it, but I've learnt to ignore it as trying to make myself get more air in, makes me worse. So I've had to do the opposite of what I think I need - a strange thing!

    I laughed at your going blue comment! Perhaps I did haha

    Yeah symptoms do fluctuate so much. I'm beggining to think that as we are all talking about mucous, it has more of an impact on your wellbeing or feeling ill than I'd thought. I'd dismissed it as the least of my trouble, you get me?

    But seriously my nose feels great as I type this and it feels like a luxury! That can only mean it was so blocked in the past then. Granted I'm only treating the symptoms and later on, I'll be unblocking it again, but when you get the relief, it's great!

  • I too have this, mucus in the throat, sometimes feel I'm going to choke, it goes away in afternoon , then back again, I got this after I had a nasal endoscopy.

  • I have been hypo for years and feeling undertreated on thyroxine. My mucus production is through the roof. At night its so thick it chokes me causing sleep apnoea much of the time. Food lodges in my throat very easily. I struggle to swallow. Rather than treat my hypo more successfully my GP practice has sent me for endless appointments at ENT where they could do nothing to help. Is this cost effective? I rather doubt it.....

  • I've not experienced this recently so much. But I do wonder if this is why in the past, I've woken with a choking feeling, or a feeling where I've swallowed something bad like a bit of paper or something. Previously I had woken up pulling my tongue. An awful feeling too.

    So I'm convinced there's something about being hypothyroid that causes all this mucous. The fatigue causes air hunger,but fighting that defeats the object.

    I guess it's good in a way you were checked out by ENT. Although I totally get what you mean about referrals turning into a waste of time, when you needed adequate thyroid treatment. In my case, I ended up at a psychology clinic when I was undiagnosed. That's going back a while, but I considered the referral not the best really.

  • I didn't think that this was related however reading the post it may be - since having RAI treatment for Graves Disease in 2012 I have experiences extremely thick mucus, especially in my throat, and almost constant colds. I have also experienced post-nasal drips several times which is horrible. Will be interested to hear whether anybody else has had this.

  • I wish that my mucous membranes were a bit dryer, because at this time of the year I`m plagued with a runny nose, & coughing up phlegm all the time. I would take something to dry things up, but I`ve read that these medications don`t mix with Levothyroxine.

  • I have hashimotos and also sjogrens which means that the secretions are very thick. I have dry eyes, nose, throat, reflux all from the sjogrens. I went to the Thyroid UK conference last year and asked a question about thyroid of Dr Skinner who said that if my hypothyroid was treated proprerly the Sjogrens symptoms would disappear. Unfortunately I didn't get chance to get an appointment with him for advice.

    I use xlear nasal spray unfortunately it's not on prescription. I also swill my nose with warm water after washing my face. Wait a minute to all softening the blow nose. I then use xlear and Vaseline on a cotton bud to avoid new build up.

    Hope this helps :)

  • It's a strange issue, because my eyes are still dry, but my mouth is more comfortable since being on the T3. It's hard to say in my experience, but I've had some improvements with this so called sjogrens but it's not disappeared in the way you mean. So I'm beyond knowing whether waiting for those symptoms do disappear is a benchmark for being adequately treated with the tyroid or not, as I'm on 80mcg T3 a day.

    There are so many products to buy. You mentioned the xlear. The British snoring and sleep apnoea association have a shop where you can buy things like neti pots for nasal irrigation and various nasal sprays.

    So I guess it's whatever works, to try and beat it. But it's nice if the GP can recognise it and prescribe something, and therefore save you the money.

  • I'm glad I'm not the only one with constant catarrh, PND, phlegm etc. Since a year ago I've been a patient of Dr. P. & he says this can happen with thyroid problems, especially hypo, although mine started before I was treated for Graves, with RAI. It got a lot worse when I eventually became hypo.He reckons that in time, when I get the hormone balance right, it will all lessen. It's taking time though; my system was so badly messed about by Graves going undiagnosed for nearly 6 years, then RAI far too quickly after diagnosis instead of giving time for the carbimazole to work. I've now been unwell for 10 years. It seems a familiar story for a thyroid problem sufferer.

  • It's like having a cold isn't it! It's a strange thing because as a school girl I had a constant lot of very bad colds, where in class my nose was streaming. Since then it was always blocked really. So I clearly had tendencies towards nasal problems before going hypothyroid, so it's not a surprise that I've had such problems since then.

  • Since I had seven/eights of thyroid gland removed 33 years ago I have had periodic problems with dry nasal passage and eventually my septum was destroyed, am still suffering from this problem.

  • Your septum was destroyed! Gosh that sounds extreme. How did that happen, if you don't mind me asking? Somehow constant nose bleeds or irritation?

  • All this sounds familiar - at times enough mucus to drown in. The condition worsened when I started taking thyroxine. Cutting sugars from my diet solved the problem - this includes all wheat and other grains as well as simple sugars. I also gave up all dairy products, and got rid of almost permanent indigestion. Sounds radical but there have been benefits: I can now walk uphill, whilst speaking, without getting short of breath, have much more energy, and never see my doctor (apart from thyroid business). Apart from the last two or three years I had to breathe through my mouth, had constant colds or throat infections, bronchitis, flu, and been generally one-degree-under and struggling. It's like being a new person.

  • Hello there! I think you're onto something !!! Lol

    I can't say I'm exactly the same but I do have chronic nasal probs now!! Where my nose is the same as you describe only it doesn't improve! So since may 13 I've had a blocked, crusty nose!!no other signs at all. I can not live without my nose spray! Just thought I'd throw it out there as no one wanted to join in the gluggy-nose symptom...I haven't noticed a change with my medication but ill keep a watch!!

  • Oh how funny! Sry everyone !!! It said 'be the first to reply' on my email & after replying I see 100 responses!

  • Well thanks for all the replies!

    I don't suffer from dry eyes,asthma, eczema or dry nasal. Its only a noticeable increase in mucus production when my dosage goes up. Im glad its so prevalent in Thyroxine usage. Its something that keeps cropping up with a change in dose and hopefully, it can be connected to all the problems Ive encountered since being on replacement. These include 'Tennis Elbow' which could be dry joints, again a reduction in fluid secretion when Im low. Lactose intolerance, something alien to me previously, I could drink milk by the bucket load and really enjoyed cereal for breakfast. And this blocked sinus thing. ......

    more food for thought!

  • Since I had a (partial) thyroidectomy I also have the feeling of of mucus in the throat which makes me cough & choke & sometimes wakes me up.

    I try to rub a little olbas oil on my throat at night to keep my airways clear & have gone 90% dairy free and this seems to have helped a bit. We are now on goats milk & yogurt & it's eased my husband's snoring as well.

    I notice people say there is a connection between mucus & taking thyroxin. But I'm not on thyroxin or any thyroid treatment. My operation was for goitre but I'm told my levels are normal at TSH 2.78 & FT4 12.8. I've only had the mucus since I had the goitre.

  • I had a partial to begin with. They sent off the diseased lobe to make sure it was cancerous. I found with a partial I was fine, they took half of the lobe away and my levels were great. When they took the final lobe, Wow! I really felt a change.

    The funny thing was they gave me T3 from the off. So as soon as I came back from the Op, I have my pain meds and T3. Not knowing about T3 and trusting the medics ,I duly took it without question. I was released from hospital after 3 days and promptly spent 2 days wide awake as I still had my residual hormones in my system, with the replacement T3 on top. :D

    I self medicated at that point, reducing my dose till I felt as though I needed to up it. Funnily enough. I can still remember the feeling of being high on my own hormones and the feeling is much,much different from being over medicated on my replacement stuff. Even when I took T4 and T3 together, I went high for a couple of days to see of I could replace the sensation and ....nothing.

    One another point, even when I am 'high' according to my Endo, I don't get palpitations, sweating sleeplessness ort anything associated with being over medicated. Even thought my bloods read 11, instead of 7 once, I felt just about normal...ish as I had felt in a while.

  • It makes you wonder if you have just hit the level that is right for you, real_mission, each person is unique and the medics ought to listen properly to how we actually feel, instead of blindly following those numbers like we are clones or something! I think I hit it on 125mg but was told I was hyper - at least I slept at night and could wake up ok for and had some energy to do more than just exist. My heart pains reduced, the hot/cold sweats improved and I no longer felt hugry all the time and even got my weight down to closer to what I have been all my adult life before becoming unwell with this milarky. I was gutted when I was told to reduce the dosage. It was nothing like the really scary hyper I got when my thyroid died and dumped all it's remaining thyroxine - I just went completely crazy and into a zombie-like super overdrive. You have been in the wars for sure, but that natural hormone high sounded good - I'd love to wake up and just feel refreshed rather than permanently exhausted.

  • ^oh yes, totally this^

    I only get a refreshed sleep when Im totally hypo, but the off set of that is swollen face, sleeping for hours on end and feeling like Im walking through treacle all day.

    As for a refreshed sleep, I only get this when I'm 'high' (or supposedly 'high' according to the medics)

  • It does seem that a great many people still suffer 'thyroid related' problems even with 'normal' blood results. That just makes me question the accuracy of the ranges used in testing.

  • Crust snout - I can relate to that!

  • Ha! Im having one this week. I seems my meds are taking longer to make an impact this time. :(

  • Try Sterimar 100% sea water nasal spray for your nose. It helps congestion and washes away cold and flu germs. It helps to heal any raw bits too. Available in most chemists.

    A Saltpipe is also useful. Holland and Barrett sell them although smaller branches might have to order them in. It gives relief with asthma,allergies,coughing,colds,sinus problems,breathing problems and bronchitis.

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