Swallowing saliva problems

Ive had this problem now since March last year i cant swallow my saliva properly & everytime i get it trapped in my throat i keep coughing/choking up saliva n ive had this cough/choking/tightness in my throat for 20 months & its stopping me from going out now but everytime i cough/choke i only bring up thick yellow phlegm/saliva can anyone tell me what i have please??

61 Replies

  • Hi James, it could definitely be involved with your thyroid. For one thing, low thyroid affects smooth muscle or it could also be that your thyroid is swollen trying to produce more T4. There was a discussion here: healthunlocked.com/thyroidu...

  • Hello James,

    Welcome to our forum and so sorry to hear of your mouth problems.

    Do you have a thyroid condition as well .? ..

    I have Hashimotos, Sjogrens, Haemochromotosis, am menopausal and BIG MOUTH PROBLEMS. ! ! ..

    About two years ago I developed a metallic taste in my mouth which never went away and became increasingly stronger. After a year I noticed the consistency in my saliva became thicker & more bubbly and then extremely sticky and glue like. Although excessive saliva is being secreted in my mouth all the time, like yours, it gets stuck at the back of my throat making me cough. My mouth feels so dry I have to drink vast quantities of water all day & night long but this never quenches my thirst.

    The taste has since changed from metallic to sour to occasionally sweet but is always evident but liveable. The saliva problem is not ... as it makes my mouth sore, my tongue has tooth intentions down each side as if I'm heavily dehydrated and if I don't drink all the time my lips crack and I get sores in the crevices near my gums. My gums are spongy and feel horrid......in fact my whole mouth feels absolutely awful most of the time.

    I am being treated at Guys Hospital Oral Medicine Clinic and so far have had extensive bloods testing and UD Paratid (salivary) gland ultra sound scans. They prescribed four different mouth washes, gels and tablets .....none of which I like as don't appear to help and are all so full of crap... .. .They have talked of long term low dose Nortriptyline (antidepressant) helping but I will not go down that road.! ! ...

    They said my bad taste and dry mouth conditions are unusual but they do have other patients complaining of the same symptoms and some recover a degree of improvement and some don't.! ! ! They haven't suggested an explanation or treatment for the saliva problem but I am due to see my consultant again soon to hear of their findings.

    Guys Hospital say my mouth is healthy ....as in there is no infection or gum disease ..... and it is my brain misinterpreting taste signals so the bad taste is not real .! ! ! ...

    My husband would also vouch for this as can't taste anything wrong with my mouth ! ! ( sorry .. too much info ? ? .. ) ..

    The medical profession do not acknowledge the impact mercury poisoning can have on a compromised immune system but I am presently having all my amalgam out (silver tooth fillings) and think (but could be imagining) I have detected slight changes in my saliva . I am half way through treatment and have had about 8 hours in the chair so far ! ! ! ..

    Many have amalgam removal carried out over the course of a year but I knew if I didn't just "go for it" ... I would " bottle out" half way through. ! ! ... My appointments are every two weeks scheduled around extensive travelling to endocrinologist, haemotologist, oral specialist & phlebotamy appointments.! ! .. not to mention all the remaining blood tests, scans, and nutritionist appointments...blah, blah, blah ...... ...

    There are several other members with permanent horrid tastes in their mouths but I don't know of anyone else with big saliva consistency changes.

    If you google "sticky glue like saliva" you will get hits from people in other forums but I can't find any medical research or explanation regarding this problem.

    I medicate on T4 & T3 ( almost balanced) and have optimal nutrients levels as supplement heavily through a nutritionist.


    Links detailing Mercury effect on auto immune disease.




    Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this information is not intended to be a substitute for medical guidance from your own doctor. Please check with your personal physician before applying any of these suggestions.


  • Thanks for sharing Flower, hope your chosen path helps. I too have had throat mouth issues since 6 months but haven't done anything about it. Taste is not a problem but dry mouth is. Bigger issue I have is swallowing food as nowadays I always have a glass of water to hand and often drink to help swallow. It's like my throat has decided to become smaller. I am on 3 grains of thyroid-s. No idea what's going on but I will look up the amalgam issue.

  • Lerloi,

    Sorry to hear you have mouth problems too.

    The products prescribed to me were rubbish but someone recommended a moisturising gel called Bioxtra has helped with my dry mouth & therefore you might benefit.

    It is anti - bacterial/fungal/plaque, alcohol free (unlike other brands & really important in the case of dry mouth) pH neutral and the acting ingredients are actual salivary enzymes, proteins Lactoperoxidase, Lactoferrin, Lysozymes and immunoglobulins and colostrum extract.

    It is about seven pounds to buy but you should be able to get it on prescription. There is also a mouthwash and toothpaste available in the same range.

    Unfortunately it doesn't touch my saliva problem.


  • Hi Flower, Google Salivary Glands production......

    There are several options of websites to look at, all of which start to explain what they do in breaking down he various foods we eat, especially carbohydrates - and where they are located .....

    I will check out for myself as well.

    The following Ive written was based on school biology memory plus current personal experience - which may fly in face of what the websites and you or others have said here. But the more we pool our triumphs and tragedies the more we learn

    I've heard over here recently that people with mercury or what ever amalgam metallic fillings in teeth are having fillings drilled out and replaced with a white non- metallic amalgam. An ex pat here had that done this summer herself. That could explain the Different flavours.

    for you and James - my theory (based on my own similar experiences also) is that white and frothy is clear of infection - yellow and yucky means there is some infection there. I had bronchitis last winter, and yes I did take the antibiotics prescribed. Once infection cleared all return to white and frothy.

    The oesophagus and windpipe both are both in neck at back of throat, both bringing whatever they expel by virtue of coughing / choking back into the mouth. I had a blood blister twice in my cheek last year, which I burst by pressing gently from outside and inside. Afterwards I rubbed the inside of my cheek with a slice of fresh garlic clove, it cleaned the inside of my cheek and the loose blister skin came away, healing the inside skin perfectly.

    it also worked well rubbing fresh garlic on the outside of throat, just under my Adams Apple. Where I can also feel a pulse beat as strong as the one in the carotid artery ? on left hand side of neck. The garlic rubbed there though does help clear the lumpy feeling when swallowing, after some time. Not in seconds or minutes, I do it several times a day when necessary till problem gone. I should start doing it again actually.

    Another point for me about the cough is that it comes more from the diaphragm area, I don't cough to help my lungs or windpipe, it's the oesophagus it helps, and what we swallow, food or anything else is what is coming back or creating the froth from whichever part of the digestive system starts there. So that's my theory as to my causesand remedies.

    I'm not saying yours or anyone else's Answers to James are correct or not - I don't know. I just know I always ask myself Why, How or What? when it concerns me, and that's when occasionally I delve back into things online, and Garlic is known for its great healing properties.

    It doesn't leave you stinking of garlic either or a bad taste in mouth. But I do believe saliva production is part and parcel of the digestive system. if the lump wasn't at back of throat, then saliva would just be swallowed as normal - perhaps the lump is what causes the increased saliva production.

    PS:- I'm not a medical person - all I've written is result personal experience and outcome.

  • Thank you SAMBS,

    I am desperately hoping the amalgam removal helps.

    I love garlic and use loads both cooked & raw so will try your suggestions.

    My saliva consistency is clear & frothy. Surprising it gets worse when I am stressed or unwell indicating there is some sort of link to adrenals..? ? ..

    Spending all my spare time practicing yoga trying to bring high cortisol levels down.


  • I've just edited 1st post - you are too quick for me :-)

    and suggested a Google search on problem also! I forgot to mention that every time I have a frothy coughy ! I also have to grab a tissue to blow my nose - so the froth seems to go everywhere!

    Good job I don't drink frothy coffee either!!! Yes I also love garlic!

  • I have spent many hours googling .. Believe me..

    There IS a particularly enlightening post from member culejules below .. you may find interesting SAMBS.


  • Hi; I have had problems with thick glue like saliva since mytotal thyroidectomy just 4 years ago. I often have swellings around my parotid and submandibular salivary glands I have been seen by ENT at Aintree and have been for various tests. The results were sialadenitis (sialadenosis) of the submandibular. and the parotids having a narrowed exit which caused the saliva to thicken. The recommended treatment was to chew gum to stimulate the parotid glands which certainly helped. Sialadenitis causes the submandibular to swell (or in my case shrivel ) affecting the production of saliva. sometimes it is caused by stones or infection, and sometimes no cause is found. It's worth reading NHS pages about salivary gland problems. Salivary gland problems are common but not a great deal is written about it.

    I have also recently been diagnosed with Generalised Oesophageal Dysmotility. ( this is when the oesophagus experiences random contractions after swallowing as opposed to one contraction which normally forces the food down the oesophagus. I have had increasing problems swallowing over the past 2 1/2 -3 years. I have been experiencing problems swallowing and food sticking at various stages of it moving down the oesophagus and as it reaches quite low down I have hideous sounding hiccups. I am no longer able to eat bread pies or most dry food and it can take a long time, sometimes over an hour, for food to pass down my oesophagus and through the sphincter valve into my stomach. Mealtimes are really uncomfortable for me and I won't eat out unless there is no alternative. I also sometimes get horrific pains radiating across my chest into my neck and arm and have thought a few times that I was having a heart attack. I no longer panic about this as I now know that it is a known symptom of Oesophageal Dysmotility which is known to confuse paramedics into thinking it's a heart attack. There are different causes, one being reflux oesophagitis (GORD), but in my case, although I have a long history of GORD it has not caused the Dysmotility. (Known because of various tests such as PH study and oesophageal manometry). Treatment is very hit and miss because little is known about Oesophageal Dysmotility. I am being tried on Nifediprine as a muscle relaxant although its usual use is as a treatment for Hypertension: I have only been taking this for 2 weeks so am not sure yet whether it is working though I haven't had improvent in swallowing so far

    I hope this helps

    I am not a medic and these are my own experiences.

  • Hello culejules.

    This info is amazing. It is the most info I have managed to glean from anyone in the last two years.

    Can you advise how long you have suffered and if anything apart from chewing gum actually helps you.

    I get pain periodically in the glands behind my ears so this would fit in with what you say. However I don't feel I would want to stimulate the salivary glands as already have too much saliva. Hence ii trickles down the back of my throat and makes me cough.

    Thank you for sharing.


  • Hi Flower, sorry I was editing my reply having read about problems with swallowing too. I understand that you wouldn't want more saliva trickling down your throat, but am wondering if it is saliva that is making you cough. About 4 1/2 years ago I was feeling as though I was constantly being throttled, my throat felt very thick and I also coughed a lot of phlegm up. My GP sent me for an ultrasound thinking I may have had a goitre; I didn't, but I did have a tumour so was sent to ENT. To begin with the consultant put a camera up my nose to look into my throat then told me that my throat was "very snotty". He explained that many people have a drip from the back of the nose which causes thick phlegm to gather in the throat and oesophagus. (known as post nasal drip) He said that was what was causing the throttling sensation and prescribed a nasal spray to be used daily which really helped. I am wondering if this is something you might also have.

    The pain behind your ears sounds about right for problems with the parotid glands, but the swelling can be all over the face, I looked quite odd with huge painful lumps in front of my ears. I only had to chew gum for a few weeks for the saliva production to return to normal thankfully. Funny story... We went to Australia around this time and I was questioned at length about the oblong object containing several packages which the scanner showed up in my suitcase. Because I couldn't think what it could be I had to open my suitcase to prove I wasn't carrying drugs. The customs officer revealed the box full of chewing gum I'd forgotten packing :D It was a great start to our holiday.

    Following diagnostic surgery it was found that the tumour he thought was probably nothing to worry about was in fact papillary carcinoma which affected all of the left area where my thyroid should have been but wasn't. In a second surgery a month later to remove my right thyroid, after several ultrasounds, the left one was located high in my throat :) I don't do normal

  • Gosh.. one thing after another culejules.. poor you.

    I was diagnosed five years ago with a multi nodular goitre.

    I have had the camera up the nose & down the throat several times as have nasal polyps and used to have postnasal drip. However, since adding T3 to my T4, postnasal drip has gone .!.! . & I have my sense of smell back.

    The cough is from frothy saliva getting stuck in my throat and is not actually that bad .. just annoying.

    I have recently had ultra sound scans on all salivary glands but haven't seen consultant for findings yet. They should be interesting..

    Do you have a very dry mouth and does your saliva taste funny... kinda of sweet sometimes or salty.? ? ..

    When you keep swallowing all this saliva does it make your tummy feel full. ? ?..

    Does your saliva issue get worse when you are hungry or stressed.? ?..

    Do you drink gallons of water all day and night.?..


  • Hi Flower 007.

    Yes I have extremely dry mouth and drink several litres of water every day and during the night so sleeping all night never happens. I am prescribed biotene gel, toothpaste and mouthwash. The gel is quite sweet but it helps a little. The toothpaste and mouthwash is because I can't stand peppermint in most toothpastes because my mouth becomes very sore. I love spicy food but that has gone by the wayside now too as it irritates my mouth.

    I thought I was getting recurring thrush because the corners of my mouth are nearly always cracked and sore but my Nuclear Meds say its common in dry mouth cases.

    I think the taste differences were a bi product of the saliva problems I don't get salty tastes but used to get sweet tastes when the saliva problem was at it's worst. I do feel a full in my stomach as well. I haven't really associated any of it with feeling hungry or stress.

  • Sorry. I should have added that I had special xray in the submandibular glands but they couldn't get the needle into the left one. the diagnosis of sialadenitis was from those xrays.

  • Did the hospital do enzyme tests on your saliva to determine its constituents?


  • No I just had the sialogram and ultrasounds.

  • Obviously I don't know the cause of my problem yet but it feels as if the saliva has not only changed in consistency but in what it is made up of.

    When the problem gets really bad (it comes & goes but never completely) the swallowed saliva feels horrid going into my tummy and makes it swell and feel very full ( even when I haven't eaten).

    culejules, thank you so much for sharing everything. Just talking to someone who has experienced the same (or similar problem ) is hugely gratifying.

    I hope James , the original poster manages to glean info from your kind input too.


  • Hi again Flower;

    I just thought I'd let you know that as I have developed a chest infection, I ordered a Salt pipe using the link Tiger tea put up last week. It arrived very quickly and I started using it yesterday. A bit early to notice any real results but I'll keep you posted.


  • Oh yes please culejules,

    I do feel my problems are salivary glands & not chest which is completely clear .... but always willing to try anything...

    Good luck with the salt pipe.


  • Thank you again culejules,

    I am sorry to hear you have other issues too. It is such strange problem and I find it quite isolating as it's so difficult to share.

    I will investigate everything you have told me and hope we both & James eventually find some relief to all this... one way or another.


  • Hi Flower007,

    A common side effect of Nortriptyline is dry mouth, so it could make things worse for you. I was on a very low dose for about a month (10mg at night), in addition to dry mouth (which I was able to deal with) I got terrible tachycardia so I stopped by tapering off of it. It also caused problems with lack of water retention. I felt like I was drinking water all the time but it ran right through me without getting into my body.

  • Hi _tracy_

    I am NOT taking the suggested Nortriptyline as am well aware of the side effects of all AD's.

    Sorry you had this bad experience of them.

    I can have your described water problem (going straight through) if I don't add a little salt sometimes... Really works as the body requires sodium to allow water into the cells.

    (sodium & potassium should be balanced for the water problem not to happen.)


  • Thanks Flower. I had a lot of pressure from my doctors and husband to try the Nortriptyline (it had helped a couple of years earlier when I had spinal disc problems). But something about my body has changed since then. Just about any drug I take causes intensified side effects.

    Yes I had thought sodium might be the issue and tried increasing the salt a lot, did not help so I quit the Nortriptyline. I am careful to get enough potassium from food. I have pernicious anemia and potassium is needed as B12 treatment can deplete it.

  • Will you please keep us updated, because I was shocked as (on top of everything wrong in my life), I developed most of the symptoms 5 months ago, and it is very difficult since I am also struggling through 3 years of tragedy and loss (and need serious spine surgery that can only be done a few places - Cleveland Clinic). Even the different tastes are as you say you have. All doctors say everything seems normal. It is NOT. It is all day all consuming, and I have to drive 12 hours soon with this problem and spine pain ... : (


  • This has also been affecting me for the past few months, saliva seemingly thick and getting stuck in my throat. I've been wondering whether it's post nasal drip.

  • hiCwmn.... Et al, I sometimes wondered if the " lump'' gives me bad breath, so never having had a nail spray suggested, when I've had a thick cold, I've used a Vicks nasal inhaler and always even now, carry one of those mouth freshener sprays, both are either menthol or mint! They do help for a while.

  • SAMBS,

    I am absolutely paranoid about bad breathe as I can only taste a horridness in my mouth myself.

    Hospital but most importantly my husband assure me all is normal.

    My husband says there is absolutely NO bad taste in my mouth. The hospital said my brain is misinterpreting taste signals as my mouth is clean & healthy.

    Food tastes slighty different & I wouldn't be able to use your suggested use of menthol or mint freshener as they would burn my mouth.

    Above you quoted ....[... the more we pool our triumphs and tragedies the more we learn ...]... this is so true and all possible down to our lovely forum.


  • If you have time and inclination, you could read through the original homoeopathic remedies books, two very large but very interesting books. You will find remedies for this kind of mouth problem and they might even help the thyroid problem.

    Personally, I would not pay a homoeopath because the info is there and whether a homoeopath gets it right or not can depend upon their hitting on the right questions to ask, whereas, if you read yourself you will see the concomitants (eg worse at night/better while eating/worse for heat and many more) and the remedy you are reading will often point you to a closer one.

    I am not 100% convinced by homoepathy but it completely cured my exczema and apparently miraculously cured my son of a condition for which there was no cure and no treatment ... but, if it's just the placebo effect, who cares if we feel better?

  • Hello thyr01d,

    Thank you for your input and pleased to hear of success.

    I don't know anything about homeopathy and although there are hundreds of books about it, I can't find any called "The Original Homeopathic Remedies Books".

    Could you provide further info on these books please... i.e. author, or a link, ISBN number.

    Thank you , flower.

  • alive.com/health/the-twelve...

    the Twelve tissue salts by DR Shcuessler

  • Do you know any ideas of what will clear it

  • James,

    I am so sorry .. I have completed but unintentionally high jacked your post..!

    I hope some of the answers received have been helpful to you.

    There is a particularly interesting one from culejules which I have found particularly enlightening.


  • Hello Flower007

    These are huge and not cheap but for any of you with plenty of time and the money maybe worth exploring:- Materia Medica of Homoeopathic Remedies by James Tyler Kent and Boericke's Homoeopathic Materia Medica with Repertory.

    I can also give you a very good source for the remedies, a Chemist that provides excellent postal service and charges only around £5 for a good long-lasting amount.

    I have looked at many other homoeopathic books but have not found any that give all the extra info needed to find the right remedy for you personally, most of the others tip a bit towards conventional remedy for disease which I think might explain the lack of efficacy and success.

  • Thank you thyr01d for providing info.

    It may be of use to others as well.


  • You're welcome Flower007, this site has given me hope.

    Off subject, was it you who gave some nice suggestions for gluten free breakfasts?

  • Only buckwheat pancakes which I have every am .... I just love them ! ! ...



  • Thank-you so much Flower007, now I am happy, I shall be off to the health food store tomorrow.

  • i like homeopathy

  • Completely random thought-would a 'SaltPipe' help, I have one for chesty colds, you suck on it to breath in through the filtered rock salt crystals, the salty air is suppose to help dissolve the phlegm in your tubes & chest. Haven't got a link 'to hand' at the mo, but it's history is suppose to come from the poor s..s banished to Russian salt mines not getting any chest infections despite their living conditions. Worth a look perhaps?

    All the best

  • tigertea I have wondered , that picture are you not stetching your poor thyroid?

  • Not overly stretched, just trying to get image of swelling that GP 'can't' see!

  • TigerTea this sounds brilliat, where do you buy SaltPipes from?

  • Hope you can see link I posted, there Are various versions of pipe, I have a ceramic one, thought it might be more 'germ proof' as mouth is germy place & plastics are more likely to 'absorb' germs?!

  • Yes, thanks TigerTea, I scrolled down after sending the last message and saw you had already anticipated our requests! My house is very damp and I'm wondering if this would mean the pipe would get clogged up absorbing the damp.

    Very tempting though and inexpensive.


  • I keep mine in a zipped 'freezer bag' to keep the dust out, if that helps, i've had it for several years as well, so it does pay for itself eventually, and I 'blanched' at the cost but originally bought for my daughter for asthma, but she wouldn't use it, more fool her. On another note, regarding 'chesty problems' there has been research into fresh pineapple for chest problems, an enzymn in it apparently 'thins' secretions!? And it's luscious 😋

  • Oh thanks TigerTea, I love pineapple.

  • H&B sell them.

  • Thank-you Stourie

  • This is a link to info, I don't have vested interest in this company, or any salt pipe company, etc etc.... please do your own research/make your own mind up 🤔...


  • TigerTea,

    I don't have any phlegm or chesty problems. Mine is ( just .?.? ..) horrid thick gooey saliva.

    The poster or others might benefit from your suggestion though.

    Thank you.


  • Hi Flower, just a thought as it does help my chest when needed, that it might also work on sticky saliva. 🤔

    Wishing you well x

  • Thanks again TigerTea, think I'm going to try one of these to see if I can keep away the sore throat and painful voice loss that makes itself at home in the cooler weather.

  • I hope it helps, I only know I am hyper-sensitive to so many medications, including 'cold & flu' remedies so this product is at least natural and helps me 😌

  • Hi James I had terrible problems with this and I think it was caused by a post nasal drip as well as being untreated hypo. I found swapping to goats milk and avoiding drinks containing sweeteners helped stop the post nasal drip. The choking stopped when the swelling subsided in my tongue.

    Have you had a sample checked as if the phlegm is yellow you may have an infection?

  • I think you might find that it is caused by slight acid reflux , which seems to be one of the many symptoms of thyroid imbalance. Mine flares up at times of stress, but is always there as a slight difficulty swallowing and easily choking. The mucus is created by the oesophagus to soothe the sore gut, and then then it backs up into the throat and can get on your chest.

    I find it a great help to keep a small glass of Aloe Vera by my bed, and to swig it though the day. Also cider vinegar and honey in a little water. And Aloe Vera digestive tablets.

    Best Wishes,

  • It is reflux, definately!

  • Hi, I have some of the symptoms you describe. It is attributed to Post Nasal Drip and the fact that I have dry mouth so not producing enough saliva to take it away naturally. I have started drinking more water and use a nasal wash twice a day. I chew sugar-free gum and suck sugar-free lozenges to help stimulate saliva production. My tongue doesn't get so sore either.

    Sue x

  • Well muscles are affected by thyroid hormone. Have you thyroid problems? When I was mistreated with T4 I found I kept choking but not with the symptoms you have. If the muscles don't get sufficient thyroid hormone at the cellular level they will not act properly. The esophagus is made of muscle and swallowing is a problem if you are not medicated properly.

  • James, a very post, it's generated lots of replies around the saliva/swallowing aspect for many of us with thyroid problems - sometimes we can forget about the niggly symptoms. I'm sorry to see you are suffering also. One reply asked if you may also have a thyroid problem. A blood test would soon give you the answer! or are you a smoker? Sorry for the cheek in asking.

    Hope you can find something further on here this evening to help you.

  • apart from the saliva itself issue, what do people find starts their coughing? For me it's definitely related to various types of food in the alimentary canal, once it's gown my throat/oesophagus and hit bottom.

    I can eat one type of biscuit not another. Chocolate covered, no problem.

    in the local Im given a little cellophane wrapped biscuit, tastes like ginger biscuit, they're called Speculos, always served with hot drinks in cafes.

    here but they really do make me cough now

    Today as everyday! I had my breakfast with milk and a little Canderel for sweetness, always eaten no problem before, followed immediately by my H&B ABC Senior+ multivitamin (No Iron)., taken in 2 halves because they are too large to swallow in one go.

    I'm using up current stock, got another couple of smaller bottles to go yet! Doctor had told me I don't need extra Vits, but gives me the liquid Vit D3 on monthly prescription.

    does anything specific you eat make you cough, within seconds/minutes of swallowing it, thereby bringing up the frothy foamy mucus?

  • acid reflux ?

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