I cough up (yellow/green/white) mucus
It is completely normal for our bodies to produce mucus. Mucus has several functions: it helps, for example, with talking and swallowing food. Mucus also helps trap unwanted particles in your airways and helps keep the lungs clean. Together with saliva, we usually just swallow mucus, often without realizing it.
Is it bad to have a lot of mucus?
In short: no, from a medical point of view it is not a bad thing to have a lot of mucus, even though this can be experienced as a nuisance. Sometimes you have to cough to clear the mucus. When you cough, your body tries to clear your windpipe and lungs of mucus. This is a natural response of the body. However, if you cough a lot or clear your throat very often, it can irritate your mucous membrane. Your mucous membrane then makes even more mucus, causing you to cough up more mucus. However, after a few days, the body recovers.
Normal mucus is clear in color, but mucus can also be yellow, green, white or brown in color. Sometimes mucus contains a little bit of blood. This is usually normal and not a concern, but see your doctor if you are coughing up more than a little blood or if you continue to cough up blood.
Sometimes the mucus is thinner than normal, for example if you have a runny nose. Your mucus may also be thicker than normal. It can then be tough or sticky, for example, and it can have a different color. This happens, for example, when you have a cold.
What do you notice if you have a lot of mucus?
If you suffer from a lot of mucus, it may be because of this:
- difficult to swallow;
- more need to cough or gurgle;
- you have a cold
- feel like there is a lump in your throat;
- have a sore throat and have wheezing or raspy breathing;
- your taste and smell is different;
- you feel your lungs and airway.
What can I do if I often suffer from mucus?
A lot of mucus can be annoying, but usually goes away on its own. If you often suffer from mucus or a lot of trouble, it is good to see if there is a reason for this. It is good to see a doctor if you experience one (or more) of the following symptoms:
- You cough up more mucus than usual;
- The mucus is different in color than normal;
- you also feel short of breath and/or you have wheezing;
- There is (a lot of) blood in your mucus;
- You have a fever for more than 3 days;
When in doubt, always contact your doctor.