White Phlegm is a mucus mixed with inflammatory tissue, debris, bacteria, or viruses. Our body daily produces mucus naturally. Mucus is a protective layer around the airways, nasal tract, eye, and urogenital tract.
Mucus is an adhesive gel and watery substance produced by submucosal glands and goblet cells.
Phlegm is related to respiratory diseases like asthma, bronchitis, and acute infections. It is a thick secretion secreted by airways and nasal tract cells during infections. When a patient coughs phlegm, it is known as sputum.
Depending on the color of the phlegm, a physician can detect the infection of respiratory disease. The phlegm may have transparent, pale, dark yellow, greenish, light to dark brown, red, or white color.
Green and yellow color sputum indicates bacterial and viral infections and sinusitis. Red phlegm means dryness of the nose or severe respiratory disease inflammation. The transparent color of sputum refers to allergic rhinitis.
In this article, we will discuss white phlegm and which conditions are responsible for it. Depending on the other associate symptoms we can differentiate white phlegm into four types.
Type of White Phlegm:
White phlegm is a mucus secretion mixed with inflammatory tissue debris during a respiratory infection. Depending on causative factors, white phlegm may divide into four types. Those disease conditions are COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Viral or Bacterial infection, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), and Congestive heart failure.
1. COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease):
It is a group of respiratory diseases like bronchitis, and emphysema that blocks airways and secrets more mucus.
A patient complains of shortness of breath, chronic cough, and white phlegm. A patient feels weakness with more expectoration of white sputum.
2. Acute Bronchitis (Viral or Bacterial infection):
Acute infection of bacteria and viruses causes acute bronchitis. In the primary stage of acute bronchitis, a patient expectorates white color phlegm. If the infection is not treated well then sputum becomes yellowish and brownish in color.
A patient complains of cough, fever with chills, breathlessness, and chest discomfort.
3. GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease):
GERD is a common condition in which a patient expectorates white mucus foam associated with cough.
White phlegm is associated with heartburn, acidity, indigestion, and cough.
4.Congestive Heart Failure:
In congestive heart failure, congestion of pulmonary veins tends to increase the secretion of mucus in the respiratory system. Therefore, in chronic congestive heart failure pneumonia is a complicated condition.
A patient complains of expectoration of white phlegm or sometimes it is mixed with red streaks.
White Phlegm Causes:
The white phlegm is mucus. The mucus is a protective layer of the respiratory tract, nasal tract, and eyes. During infection, the system produces thick mucus against bacteria and viruses. The body throws out white phlegm which is a mixture of mucus, virus, bacteria, and inflammatory debris.
There are many factors responsible for white phlegm secretion.
Viral and bacterial infection of the respiratory system and nasal tract induces more secretion of white phlegm.
Acute bronchitis, emphysema, and pneumonia are conditions responsible for white phlegm expectoration associated with fever, chills, weakness, and cough.
Allergic conditions like asthma or allergy to pollutants affect bronchioles.
Allergens like dust, air pollutants, and pollen grains produce congestion in the lungs. Because of allergens, bronchioles produce more thick white mucus as a protective layer.
During asthma or allergic rhinitis, a patient complains of expectoration of white phlegm from the nose and mouth. A patient complains of a cough and cold.
Smoking produces hot, dry, and polluted air which dries out the vocal cords. Smoking produces dryness of the throat, and it leads to inflammation of the vocal cords.
The respiratory tract increases the secretion of mucus to reduce dryness of the throat.
Abuse of vocal cords:
Overuse of vocal cords like clearing throat, yelling, screaming, talking in loud voice, and singing incorrectly affects inflammation of vocal cords. The inflammation of vocal cords produces more mucus.
White Phlegm Symptoms:
White phlegm is a symptom of a respiratory infection. Depending on the cause of the infection, symptoms are different for each patient.
A patient complains of cough with expectoration of white phlegm. A patient states fever with chills and weakness in case of bacterial and viral infection of the lungs.
Along with cough due to congestion of the bronchioles, a patient complains of wheezing from the chest and shortness of breath.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease sometimes produces white phlegm which is white foam. A patient complains of acidity, heartburn, and cough.
A patient states white phlegm expectoration associated with cough and eructation.
Congestive heart failure is a condition that affects the cardiac system and respiratory systems. In congestive heart conditions, congestion of the lungs leads to the secretion of white mucus.
Sometimes white phlegm is mixed with brown color, which indicates pneumonia.
Dryness of throat:
A patient who suffers from allergic rhinitis and overuse of vocal cords, complains of dryness of the throat, and irritation at the throat and this induces the secretion of more mucus.
A patient has a change of voice and pain in the throat associated with white phlegm.
A patient complains of dry cough, expectoration of white sputum, fever, and weakness. A patient states discomfort in the chest.
Some patients have breathlessness and dryness of air passage. Sometimes a patient suffers from rhinitis. A patient has white nasal discharge, sneezing, and cold.
Risk Factors for White Phlegm:
Immunity, heart condition, digestive problems, overuse of vocal cords, and viral and bacterial infections are risk factors for white phlegm secretion.
Overuse of vocal cords:
A person who speaks loudly and sings incorrectly can affect vocal cords. It leads to inflammation of vocal cords and secretion of white phlegm.
A person who has low immunity can easily suffer from allergic conditions. Allergens like dust, pollen grains, smoking, and air pollutants affect bronchioles. As a protective cover, bronchioles secrets more white sputum.
Gastric refluxes like acidity, heartburn, and eructation of food cause cough. A patient expectorates white phlegm associated with cough and gastric disturbances.
Any viral or bacterial infection of the respiratory system leads to the secretion of more mucus production. A patient expectorates white phlegm during acute bronchitis.
Congestive heart disease:
If a patient has chronic heart disease, he is more susceptible to pneumonia infection. In pneumonia and emphysema, a patient secrets more white mucus in the respiratory system.
Diagnosis for White Phlegm:
White phlegm is a symptom that helps to diagnose disease conditions in a patient. If a patient expectorates white phlegm, then he may have acute bronchitis, acute rhinitis, allergic rhinitis, asthma, or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
History of a patient, exposure to allergens, symptoms, and signs of a patient help to diagnose disease. There are some tests that help to diagnose the cause of white phlegm expectoration.
Blood tests help to differentiate between viral or bacterial infections and allergic infections. Chest x-ray helps to differentiate acute bronchitis, asthma, and pneumonia.
Tests for allergens help to understand the sensitivity of a patient towards a particular allergen like dust or pollen grains.
A personal history is important to understand the causative factor for white phlegm production. Overuse and misuse of voice lead to white phlegm expectoration. Similarly, gastric reflux diseases as well as chronic congestive heart disease are also responsible for white phlegm production.
White Phlegm Management:
White phlegm management includes the treatment of underlying diseases. The use of antibiotics and home remedies is helpful to remove white phlegm.
Treatment of acute bronchitis, allergic rhinitis, gastroesophageal refluxes, and congestive heart diseases based on the symptoms of a patient.
Spitting and swallowing of sputum are two ways of removing white phlegm. When a patient swallows’ sputum, the digestive system helps to destroy germs as well as remove phlegm.
Spitting sputum in an open area is unhealthy. White phlegm induces throat irritation. A patient can hawk and spit sputum to relieve throat congestion and pain. You can blow your nose gently to remove mucus from your nose.
There are some natural ways available to lose your cough and decrease white phlegm secretions.
- Keep a humidifier in your bedroom. It keeps your airways moist and decreases dryness of the throat and nose.
- Keep yourself hydrated. Drink warm water. It converts thick mucus into a thin watery consistency.
- Apply warm, a few wet clothes to your face. It reduces the dryness of the nose.
- Use 2 pillows to keep your head elevated during sleep. It gives you some relief from the collection of white phlegm in the throat and nose regions.
- Use expectorants like Guaifenesin rather than suppressants to remove mucus from your respiratory system.
- Gargling with warm water mixed with salt soothes throat congestion and removes thick mucus from the throat.
- Track allergic food and allergic substance and avoid them.
- Avoid foods that produce acid reflux such as cold, fried food. Eat lots of fruits.
If you treat your primary symptoms of any respiratory infections, you can tackle white phlegm effectively.
Best Homeopathic Medicine for White Phlegm:
Homeopathy has a great sphere of action in respiratory conditions and allergic diseases.
Homeopathy is useful to treat acute bronchitis, acid reflux, and allergic rhinitis conditions. Homeopathy needs personal history, causative factors, and modalities to treat white phlegm. Every individual needs a different remedy for his condition.
Homeopathy remedies are based on symptom similarity. Therefore, symptoms are important while taking a history of patient.
Before taking any homeopathy remedy, please consult with your homeopathy physician.
Below are homeopathy remedies that are useful to remove white phlegm:
1.Alumen: For old people who tend to cold and congestion of the throat
It is suitable for old people who easily take cold. A patient expectorates a cough in the morning. A patient complains of dryness and congestion in the throat. It is helpful to arrest asthma also.
Dose and Potency: Alumen 30 is useful. Take 4 globules 3 times a day for 5-7 days.
2.Argentum Met: White starch sputum after overuse of voice
It is good for aphonia, hoarseness, and soreness in the throat after overuse of the voice, especially in professional singers. A patient can expectorate starchy mucus easily in the morning.
A patient complains of pain and soreness in the larynx. A patient starts coughing after lough.
Dose and Potency: Argentum met 6x, 12C, and 30 C are useful remedies. Take 4 globules 2 times a day for 10 days.
3.Coccus-cacti: Whooping cough with expectoration of thick mucus
Especially suited for constant hawking, tickling of the larynx, spasmodic dry cough, and expectoration of thick, tough mucus.
This is a remedy for chronic bronchitis which has characteristic albuminous and tenacious mucus. A patient complains of coryza, swelling in the throat region.
Dose and Potency:
The lower potency of Coccus cacti is useful to treat white phlegm. Lower potency like 3X, 6X, and 30 C is useful. Take 4 globules of Cocc-c 3 times a day for 5 days.
4.Causticum: for aphonia and acute coryza especially in public speakers and singers
This is a remedy for stubborn mucus. A patient must swallow phlegm. A public speaker and singer complained of aphonia, hoarseness of voice with pain in the chest.
A patient feels better after drinking cold water.
Dose and Potency:
Causticum 6C, 12C, and 30 are useful to treat acute cases. Give 4 globules of Causticum 2 times a day for 5-7 days.
5.Kali bich: Useful for allergic rhinitis
It is a wonderful medicine for tough, elastic, and sticky mucus plugs from the nose. A patient complains of loss of smell, much hawking, dropping mucus in the throat, and obstruction of the nose with coryza.
A patient has violent sneezing and sinus pain.
Dose and Potency:
Use 4 globules of Kali bich 30, 3 times a day for 5 days. Kali bich 200 one dose of 4 globules, once a day for 3 days.
6.Kali carbonicum: Useful for tough mucus and coldness of chest
It is useful for dry and hard coughs associated with wheezing. It is suitable for a patient who has congestive heart disease and is susceptible to respiratory infection.
A patient complains of wheezing in the chest and complaints aggravated at 3 am. A patient feels good in warm weather.
Dose and Potency:
Kali carb 30 is useful to remove cough. Give 4 globules 2 times a day. A patient who has a tendency for recurrent respiratory infection takes 4 globules of Kali carb 200, once a week only.
7.Lycopodium: for chronic cough, neglected pneumonia cases, and in children
Lycopodium acts best for tickling cough and dyspnea. A patient complains of a dry cough at night.
It is suitable for an infant who has chest congestion with mucus rattling.
Dose and Potency: Lycopodium 12C and 30 are useful for respiratory symptoms. Give 2 globules 2-3 times a day for 5 days depending on the symptom severity.
8. Natrum Mur: It is useful for acute rhinitis with white nasal discharge
Natrum Mur is indicated for violent fluent coryza with sneezing. A patient has a watery thin discharge like the raw white of an egg. A patient complains of violent sneezing with loss of smell and taste.
Dose and Potency:
Natrum Mur 30, 4 globules 3 times a day for 7 days for acute rhinitis.
9.Phosphorus: Useful for chronic allergic conditions
It works wonderfully to reduce the tendency of allergic conditions like asthma, and allergic rhinitis. A patient complains of chronic rhinitis. Every change of weather affects the patient.
A patient complains of tightness in the chest sneezing and a watery nose.
Dose and Potency:
Phosphorus 200 is useful to reduce the tendency of an allergy. Give 4 globules once a week.
10. Senega: Useful for old asthmatic patients
It is indicated for old asthmatic patients or chronic bronchitis conditions.
A patient complains of a cough associated with sneezing and rattling in the chest. It is useful for congestion of the chest. It is beneficial for hydrothorax conditions.
Dose and Potency:
Senega in lower potency like 6x, 12x and 30 are useful. Give 4 globules of Senega, 3 times a day for 7 days.
11. Sepia: Useful for chronic nasal catarrh
Sepia is useful for chronic catarrh associated with the postnasal dropping of heavy lumpy discharge.
A patient must hawk to remove mucus.
Dose and Potency:
Sepia is useful in 30C and 200C potencies. Take 4 globules, 2 times a week.
12.Stannum Metallicum: For debility in chronic bronchitis and pulmonary condition
Stannum Metallicum is indicated for violent and dry cough. Cough excited by laughing, singing, talking, and aggravating after lying on the right side.
A patient feels weak and has a hectic fever.
Dose and Potency: Stannum metallicum 12c and 30 are useful. 4 globules of Stannum Metallicum, 2 times a day for 5-7 days.
13.Sulphur: to reduce the tendency of allergic rhinitis and chronic dry catarrh
It is indicated for oppression and a burning sensation in the chest. A patient complains of chronic dry catarrh and much rattling of mucus in the chest.
A patient has a loose cough worse after talking and in the morning. A patient feels a burning sensation in the chest associated with dyspnea.
Dose and Potency: Sulphur is useful at 30C. Take 4 globules of Sulphur 30, once a day for 4 days.