Friday, 4. March 2022
Frog in your throat? That’s something everyone wants to get rid of. Especially if your job relies on you being able to use your voice. In an interview, speech therapist, Andrea Gumberger-Strobl, reveals her tricks and advice on how to gently loosen irritating mucus in the throat.
A frog in your throat is usually harmless. However, you should see a doctor to investigate what is causing the mucus and croaky voice, especially if there is often a build-up of mucus in your throat. “Your first port of call should always be an ENT specialist or specialist in phoniatrics and pedaudiology, i.e. a specialist in vocal folds who should check if everything is okay from an anatomical perspective. The doctor should rule out certain diseases, such as asthma and cystic fibrosis, which can contribute to regular congestion in the throat”, she advises.
Andrea Gumberger-Strobl has been running her own practice as a speech therapist in the Erding region for almost 20 years and treats children and adults with voice, speech, language and swallowing disorders. Her patients also include many who suffer from mucus in the throat.
“Do you always get phlegm in your throat at a certain time of day or when you eat certain foods? This is something the patient should consider; they should monitor themselves and adjust their behaviour accordingly”, says the speech therapist. This is because there are foods that can cause phlegm, such as milk. Others, such as hot and spicy food, can irritate the mucosal membranes of the vocal apparatus, and thus promote the development of mucus.
To get rid of the frog in your throat in the mornings, it is better not to clear your throat. According to the speech therapist, this puts a strain on the vocal folds. For what is known as “voice hygiene”, Ms Gumberger-Strobl suggests that a better option is gently humming: “Gently hum a few notes to yourself, and vary the notes. The vibrations this causes can clear the mucus on the vocal folds. This exercise is like a mini massage for your vocal muscles. Then cough up the dislodged mucus.”
Another exercise to loosen phlegm in the throat is to say words beginning with an M, and then to follow this will a long vowel like O and OO. “For example, you can say the word mother, but while you are talking, linger on the letter M, so that you end up saying Mmmmmmmmmmmmmother. Say different words with long vowels in a monotone voice with a deep, calm pitch. For example, say the words mouth or molly and always linger on the M. This activates the muscles of the vocal folds where the irritating mucus has become lodged” explains Andrea Gumberger-Strobl.
It is important for the health of your throat and voice that you drink plenty. The speech therapist advises that you “Ideally, drink lukewarm, still, clear water. Carbon dioxide in fizzy drinks irritates the voice. Some teas, such as sage, are also suitable, but not chamomile. Chamomile dries out the mucosal membranes. A lot of people don’t know that.”
“For voice hygiene it is always helpful to suck a sweet. NB: Go for lozenges that do not contain menthol, because that irritates the vocal folds”, explains Andrea Gumberger-Strobl.
“The neck and throat region and the shoulders form a single unit. And so it is important not only to keep your throat warm in winter and in cold weather, but also the shoulder area. And also avoid drafts”, the speech therapist recommends.
“Even if it sounds surprising, nasal showers can also help if you have a frog in your throat”, says Andrea Gumberger-Strobl. “This is because they help moisten and clean the nose and throat area.”
“You can also inhale saline solution with a nebuliser. Inhalation moistens the neck and throat region, which makes the secretions easier to clear. Doctors sometimes prescribe special medications for their patients to inhale”, explains the speech and language therapist.
If you often have problems with your throat or a croaky voice, you should try to avoid the following:
Andrea Gumberger-Strobl has been running her own practice as a speech therapist in the Erding region for almost 20 years. Before that she worked for many years in the Landshut and Freising regions in early language development. In her speech therapy practice she treats children and adults with voice, speech, language and swallowing disorders.
An article written by the PARI BLOG editorial team.