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deni's avatar

What is the cause of (and what can I do about) the dryness in my throat?

Asked by deni (22245 points ) June 18th, 2012

So I’m here in Colorado, it’s summertime, its 100 degrees during the day and not much better feeling at night. Despite drinking so much water I can’t stand it, I have this constant nagging dryness that I think anyone who has ever lived in an arid climate is familiar with. It is unquenchable with water and can sometimes turn into a tickle/cough. It is one specific place in the back of my throat and it’s so subtle yet so frustrating and terrible, because if I’m in a situation (work) where I can’t get a drink for an hour or so, it can turn into almost choking when I try to talk! Ugh, help. It’s only the beginning! Is my only option lozenges, and sleeping with the humidifier on? Maybe you have some tips?

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21 Answers

ETpro's avatar

Definitely sleep with a humidifier on. Use low-cal or no-cal lozenges in the daytime, and do get plenty of water because the dry air soaks it right out of you.

I struggled with dryness when I lived in Minnesota. The relative humidity might be 15 or 20% outside, but take that air at 30 below zero F and heat it to room temperature and it was drier than the Sahara in a drought.

deni's avatar

@ETpro Ugh yes it is truly rough. It’s not been easy sleeping either! I did make some tea (HOT TEA, GO FIGURE, HOW IRONIC) and put honey in it and sat on my couch sweating and drinking it. I’m now on my second cup. It is helping much!

ETpro's avatar

Same idea as the lozenges. Soothe that soreness in the throat. Good luck with it. I feel your pain. BTW, air conditioning definitely helps with the heat, but it takes even more water out of the air. So again, humidify.

Buttonstc's avatar

Obviously you aren’t the only one with this problem since there is a plethora of products in the form of sprays, swabs etc. under the general category of “artificial saliva.”

If you do a simple search there are plenty. You could also ask your Dentist or MD for specific recommendations for starters.

I once looked into this because I’m no stranger to dry mouth. But for me it’s due to my needing to use antihistamine and decongestant products for constand post nasal drop leading to various bronchial/sinus infections if not treated preventitively.

But I just drink tons and tons more liquids and never go anywhere without at least one or two half liter bottles. Otherwise I end up with that same severe dryness and inability to speak if not relieved.

deni's avatar

@Buttonstc Interesting now that you mention post nasal drip I WAS kinda stuffy all day yesterday. Mild allergies I assumed it was as my nasal passages are always super clear. So, perhaps stuffiness yesterday = a little drip today = SUPER DRY?

Aethelflaed's avatar

Do you have a fan on? Because I find that fans, especially while I’m sleeping, will get all kinds of crap up in my sinuses and irritate my throat, and on days like these where it’s past midnight and still over 90 outside, I’m really dying for a fan…

bookish1's avatar

Be sure that you are replenishing electrolytes as well, especially if you are drinking so much water you can’t stand it, @deni!

JLeslie's avatar

In my opinion, and I am not a doctor, being dehydrated is different than have an irritated throat do to arid air. Definitely keep hydrated, don’t get me wrong, but it does seem topical type solutions, like the lozengers, are the only real way to help yourself once you are sufficiently hydrated. If you have a nagging tickle you can spray some chloresteptic for relief, but it won’t really cure anything. Is it possible you are allergic to something? That maybe you are sleeping with your mouth open?

I recommend staying away from very hot liquids. Very hot coffee for instance can leave a slight burn in the mouth and that can give the sensation of a dry mouth.

Are you taking any new medication? A lot of the antidepressants and other drugs dry the mouth and nearby membranes.

I agree your primary reason for the irritation is most likely the climate, but the things I mentioned might be adding to the aggravation. People always say they hate the humidity and like the dry air, and I never do. I prefer the warm humidity for my dry skin, and comfort of my throat, mouth, nose, and even my lungs. The extremes are bad in both dry and humid.

deni's avatar

@JLeslie I know, I can never believe people prefer dry to humid either, if not simply because of the way my skin, hair, throat, lips feel. To answer your questions, I’m not on any meds. I do drink coffee but I always put enough ice in it to where it isn’t that hot….so I don’t think that’s it.

Here’s what I think happens, at least for me. I’m dry to begin with, but being here, and having a weekend where I drink alcohol a couple nights of it, combined with not being quite hydrated enough to begin with, it catches up with me and then I get chapped lips (rare for me, but I have had them the past few days) and this nagging in my throat. I’ve had it before, and I really think it all roots back to water. Though I try to drink enough, this weekend for example I worked all day all 3 days, so there was less time for me than usual to focus on myself and remember to just chug chug chug water, especially cause it has gotten so very hot recently.

So….it’s feelin better this morning. I peed literally 56 times yesterday I think.

JLeslie's avatar

@deni See, if you are peeing constantly, and it is basically clear, then the water probably isn’t doing anything for you, just going right through you. You might do better if you drink liquids with some salts in there, then you will hold onto the water a little more. Like Gatorade that sort of thing. I think Gatorade is gross personally. when I drink an overabundance of water alone I feel like it does nothing for me. I frequently am constipated, supposedly drinking water should help, it doesn’t. It does if I drink plenty of water when I eat, but in between eating it seems to do nothing. Dr. Oz did a nonscientific study with twins and drinkig water and he showed the twin that drank twice as much water did not have better hydrated skin than the other, she just peed more. The body can use extra water, it has to get rid of it or electrolytes become unbalanced and you can have a heart attack. Adequate water of course is important for many reasons, electrolytes, prevents kidney troubles, and other things.

I’m like you, dry like crazy. My husband, who tends to be a little oilier, but not gross greasy, does great in slightly dryer climates. Fewer pimples, his hair lays a little flatter (it’s naturally curly) he can function well either way.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Sometimes, drinking milk drinks (iced lattes, iced chai, etc) helps my throat more than water.

Buttonstc's avatar

Both coffee and alcohol lead to dehydration. The coffee because it has a diuretic effect.

But drinking either one will not help your situation at all.

And I’m one of those people who really can’t stand humidity. It worsens everything.

But, for me, the reason is pretty clear. Years ago when I was allergy tested, the one which topped the severity list was molds.

It took me awhile to realize that more humidity equals much more molds, drippy sinuses, congestion, inflammation etc. Molds absolutely flourish in damp humid conditions.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@deni I live in the Denver area and totally empathise. Besides the obvious drinking of water, I find that eating a lot of fresh fruit seems to help with dry mouth. Good luck, it looks like we’re in for a hot summer!

JLeslie's avatar

@Buttonstc Coffee does not lead to dehydration. Too much water in the coffee. Maybe a really strong Espresso? But, certainly not regular ol’ American coffee.

Buttonstc's avatar

Regular ol American coffee is a diuretic. You can verify that for yourself if you want.

For people who don’t have problems with dehydration this isn’t a problem.

But if anything is moving fluid out of your system significantly faster than regular, then you’ll have less moisture in your system and get dehydrated quicker. Do you see what I mean ?

If you drink 8 oz of coffee versus 8 oz. of fluid in the form of water, juice or whatever, those 8 oz of coffee will leave your system much much quicker due to its diuretic effect.

The 8 oz. of fluid of anything else will stay, being absorbed by your body tissues for a significantly longer period of time. The coffee will hasten whatever liquid is in your body leaving quicker.

If someone is already getting sick and tired of drinking water already, then getting any of that water in the form of coffee will only hasten the emptying whatever stores of liquid are in ones system.

If I’m going to be in any kind of active situation where I also may not have the opportunity to drink fluids as frequently as I uusually do, I definitely will save my coffee drinking for later (even if it’s in the morning). I learned this the hard way for myself.

Notice it far more than I did in my youth.

JLeslie's avatar

@Buttonstc

http://www.fitsugar.com/Does-Coffee-Increase-Dehydration-8244174

http://www.medicinenet.com/caffeine/page3.htm

There are tons of sites debunking the myth. Some still believe excessive coffee consumption might dehydrate a little.

bewailknot's avatar

I have been having trouble for a few months with a dry throat. I mentioned it to my doctor and he recommended sour hard candies. He said the sourness causes you to generate more saliva.

deni's avatar

Update yall. It was the beginning of a sore throat. It was worse today—dryer and unable to be quenched, more so. Which really sucks when you’re serving for 12 hours! I should have known—sore throats usually start out as extremely dry for me. So just now, at 4:30 in the morning when I woke up in a sweat in my extremely hot house (EVEN WITH THE AC ON!!!!!) I gargled with some cayenne pepper and warm water (a miracle cure, for my throat at least usually) so we’ll see if that helps in the morning.

Just as I have a few days off work. >:|

bookish1's avatar

@deni: I like to gargle with extra spicy bloody marys, myself. Hope you feel better soon!

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@deni If you happen to use Cepacol© or something similar to relieve the pain, don’t overuse your throat or voice.

deni's avatar

Yet again the cayenne pepper saved me. I sound congested today but am not actually, so that is good. Thanks all :)

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