6 Possible Causes Of Excess Mucus In The Lungs: From Common Cold To Cystic Fibrosis

Lifestyle & Health

Your respiratory tract is lined with mucous cells that produce mucus, a thick fluid that protects your body from bacteria, viruses, and particles such as dust, by trapping them and preventing them from causing harm throughout your body.

But there are certain conditions and irritants that can cause excessive production of mucus. It produces symptoms such as coughing and frequent throat-clearing. The treatment for these symptoms depends on the cause, and there are things you can do to relieve the discomfort associated with excess mucus.

READ ALSO: Aussie Flu: Is There A Reason To Worry? Symptoms, Risk Factors, And Prevention Tips

So, what can cause excess mucus production? Here are a few possible causes:

1. Common cold

In many cases, the most likely cause of excess mucus is the common cold. A common cold is caused by a group of viruses called rhinoviruses. Symptoms that you get when you catch a cold are your body’s efforts to fight off the virus. Sometimes cold symptoms are similar to those of an allergy. One of these symptoms is excess mucus production.

2. Smoking

Substances found in cigarette smoke irritate the respiratory tract and can lead to excess mucus production and accumulation. Smoking can also change the quality of the mucus and make it less able to perform its function.

3. Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis usually develops as a complication of a common cold. Chronic bronchitis is usually a result of long-term smoking. Both acute and chronic bronchitis causes excess mucus production, coughing, shortness of breath, and other respiratory symptoms.

READ ALSO: Walking Pneumonia: Symptoms, Causes, And How To Treat This Condition

4. Environmental irritants

Pollutants such as car or diesel exhaust, industrial emissions, and other irritants (such as allergens, e.g. mold, pet dander, and pollen) can get into your airways and increase mucus production.

5. Asthma

Asthma is a chronic condition characterized by airway constriction and excess mucus production. Asthma attacks can be brought on by allergens, cold, air, stress, and other triggers.

6. Cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disorder in which abnormally thick mucus builds up in the lungs and other organs. People with cystic fibrosis often get respiratory infections.

Source: LiveStrong (1), LiveStrong (2), EverydayHealth

READ ALSO: When The Flu Gets Serious: 6 Signs That Tell You Should See A Doctor Right Away


This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.

We recommend