Physical Fitness Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for physical fitness professionals, athletes, trainers, and those providing health-related needs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

It's not the most glamorous question but its a very annoying problem. I like to swim about 1km without stopping, but I find every now and again I get thick mucus on the back of my throat that makes me gag or feel like Im about to gag. I have tried taking Ventolin, expectorants like Bisolvan, and have just started Nasonex. Have any other swimmers had this issue and what strategies do you have to prevent it?

share|improve this question
Do you feel thirsty as well? I have that problem. – Freakyuser Jun 2 '13 at 7:08
dairy can cause mucous in many people. try removing it from your diet for a few days and see if the symptoms improve. – Ryan Miller Sep 11 '13 at 0:54

I have only had problems like this with an active sinus infection or severe allergies, otherwise simply breathing out of my nose every breath keeps everything clear. Go to an immunologist as needed for proper diagnosis and treatment. Finally, Afrin works really well.

share|improve this answer
Well I did go to a doctor and as per expected they were completely useless, as are most doctors..and they wonder why people resort to Google! – Rowan Jun 6 '13 at 11:29

You are right this is not the most glamorous question but many swimmers experience the same problem. Doctor appointment could be a solution but what to do when your nose and throat is healthy and ok?

You can avoid some food which is know to be involved in more mucus creation such as these The thing is that (looking at list) you can basically stop eating.

I don't want to use any medications for only this one reason so I was forced to find another solution. I'm dealing with this I'd say... psychically.

When I feel I have a mucus on back of my throat I usually slow down my swimming tempo so I can do something with it. I will spare some air to be able to cough very strongly and intensively into the water and try to clear my neck by this. If it doesn't work for 3 or 4 times I just decide to give it up.

Since this time I simply ignore this and breathing slowly and constantly to avoid unnecessary irritation which can cause gag reflex. Plus I'm saying to myself -- this is a natural thing and I'm not the only one with this problem. And simply... keep swimming :)

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the tips..I think I know what you mean about just ignorning it..I think by trying to get rid of it I make it worse, so ive started to just put up with the lump in the back of the throat sensation. Ive also noticed the issue tends to go away after about 15 laps.. – Rowan Jun 10 '13 at 8:28
up vote 1 down vote accepted

After two GP visits and one visit to an ENT specialist the conclusion is that the root cause is Acid Reflux. I've noticed not eating a couple of hours before drastically reduces the severity of this occurring with it sometimes not occurring at all.. I was told a prescription of Nexium will help or reducing intake of acidic foods.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.