Mucus in Lungs - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment.

Mucus in Lungs

Mucus in lungs is generally a normal condition which may also ebb away on it own or with minimal medical intervention. But when the amount of mucus produced augments anomalously it may lead to serious complications such as blockage of airways causing breathing issues. The respiratory tract is the air passage that allows inhaling and exhaling air from and to the lungs. There is a mucous membrane that coats the respiratory tract and plays an important role. Mucus released from this membrane protects the respiratory tract from air-borne invaders or pathogens which get inhaled through breathe. Mucus also contains antibodies which traps as well as destroys these invaders. The mucous membrane lining also helps in maintaining moistness of the respiratory tract. But too much of mucus can also block the respiratory tract causing breathing difficulties

Symptoms of Excess mucus in lungs

There are certain symptoms which may be experienced when there is excess mucus in lungs. One of the most common symptoms of mucus in lungs is secretion of excessive greenish-yellow phlegm. Coughing up phlegm is an indication of underlying disorder. Sore throat and respiratory difficulties are common indication of excessive phlegm production. The condition can be cause of concern. Wheezing while breathing is also experienced when too much phlegm is accumulated in lungs. Though phlegm can be mild but it can also be severe in most cases which is why it is crucial for you to get diagnosed and treated by a doctor.

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Causes of mucus in lungs

There are several factors that may lead to accumulation of mucus in lungs. Common cold or viral infection, etc, are common cause of the condition. But there are other causes which may include:


  • Bronchitis

Bronchitis is a respiratory condition wherein the air passage, also known as Bronchi, becomes swollen. This air passage allows air to enter the lungs and carbon oxide to exit. Bronchitis is mostly caused due to viral infection but bacterial infection can also cause the condition. Inflammation caused due to the disorder increases mucus production as an attempt to deal with infection. This may cause frequent cough.

  • Asthma

Asthma is a disease associated with the lungs which also causes air passage inflammation. Excessive production of mucus is a common occurrence in Asthma. Due to accumulation of mucus in lung asthma can lead to acute breathing difficulties.

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  • Sinusitis

Mucus in lungs is also caused due to sinus infection. There are four pairs of sinuses each sinus has its own mucous membrane. This membrane acts as filter by producing mucus to keep away dirt, dust and other unwanted particles from reaching lungs. Sinus may become inflamed due to bacterial infection which may eventually lead to obstruction due to increased mucus production. This excessive mucus can also travel to the lungs and affect its functions.

  • Allergy

Irritation of lungs is also often caused due to exposure to air-borne allergens. Allergens trigger allergic reaction can also cause production of excessive mucus. Sometimes other harmful chemicals may augment the production of mucus.

  • Smoking:

Most smokers experience constant coughing. They also suffer from too much mucus developed in the lung. This can be a potential threat.

  • Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is commonly known and abbreviated as TB. This condition is accompanied with frequent episodes of coughing in which mucus as well as blood may be noticed. The condition is a serious bacterial infection affecting the lungs. Bouts of cough may persist for over a month and if the condition is left untreated it may also lead to death.

Treatment for Mucus in Lungs

In some cases mucus developed in lungs may cure on its own. But it is highly recommended to visit a doctor as you may not be certain about the underlying condition and may allow it to aggravate. Generally, treatment of mucus would depend on the basic factor causing the condition. Here are some treatments according to cause of the disorder.

  • Bronchodilator

Bronchodilator is a drug which is prescribed for treating bronchitis. The medicine dilates the bronchi for better respiration and inflammation reduction. This also allows the trapped mucus to freely move, making elimination easier through coughing.

  • Expectorants

Most doctors prescribe expectorant if there is too much phlegm in lung. This medicine is beneficial in removing accumulated mucus in lungs. The medicine loosens the accumulated phlegm which makes it easier to be eliminated. Expectorant promotes coughing which speeds up the mucus elimination process.

Medicines like decongestant such as oxymetazoline or phenylephrine are often recommended in case of sinusitis. This medicine can relieve inflammation of mucous membrane in sinuses. Decongestants are available in nose drops, oral medicines and nasal spray forms. Home remedies such as steam inhalation can also provide relief from congestion caused due to mucus. Spicy foods can help by thinning the mucus and eliminate it through cough. Mucus in lungs also causes irritation or itchiness of the throat. Gargling using salt water will not only sooth the throat but will also assist in eliminating mucus. Though these techniques are helpful, it is highly suggested to consult a doctor in order to effectively get rid of excessive mucus in lungs.

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