Q. What can be the reason for blood-tinged mucus coming out while clearing the throat?

Answered by
Dr. Muhammad Zubayer Alam
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 04, 2022

Hi doctor,

I am a 37-year-old female. When I cleared my throat, thick mucus with blood came out seven months back. It was dark red and thick, and when I called my doctor, he sent me to the hospital as he thought it could be a clot in the lung. I got the blood test done, and it was normal. The chest X-ray that I took was also normal. Last week the same incident happened again; when I cleared my throat, thick blood with mucus came out. Today also, when I cleared my throat, the blood-tinged mucus came out. I am scared now. I do not know if I am clearing my throat too hard, which is why this is happening. Would you please help me?



Welcome to

Thanks for writing in, and I understand your concern. According to your statement, you have noticed thick blood with mucus while clearing your throat.Sometimes a vigorous cough can irritate the upper respiratory tract and tear the blood vessels, which may cause coughing up blood with mucus.

Usually, blood in the mucus during coughing comes from the respiratory tract due to respiratory diseases like asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), bronchiectasis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, etc. Again, this blood can come from the GIT (gastrointestinal tract) due to GIT tract diseases such as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) or acid reflux. Sometimes, heart diseases and some anticoagulant medications may also cause such incidents.In general, if your cough produces less than a teaspoon of blood, then it is not a matter of concern. But if your cough produces more than a teaspoon of blood or you have some associated clinical features like fever, night sweating, loss of weight, anorexia etc., then you should inform your doctor for medical attention.

Treatment depends on the cause. So, I suggest undergoing some investigations like HRCT (high-resolution computed tomography) of the chest as your previous chest X-ray was normal, echocardiography, endoscopy of upper GIT, etc., to find out the underlying causes responsible for your present sufferings and then treat them accordingly.

Hi doctor,

Thanks for the reply. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis three years ago, and I feel like my health has deteriorated. I had a complete blood count test three weeks ago, which was normal. Would this have shown anything if I had cancer? I am so worried.



Welcome back to

I have already mentioned the possible causes of blood in the mucus. I have not told you about any life-threatening condition that may cause blood in the mucus. Vigorous cough can irritate the upper respiratory tract. Infections sometimes tear the tiny blood vessels that may cause coughing up blood with mucus. As your previous CBC (complete blood count) test and chest X-ray posterior and anterior view reports were quite normal, you should not be worried at all. Again, if you have been suffering from cancer, then your previous CBC test would be abnormal and indicate some underlying pathologies. So, your last CBC test report did not indicate the presence of any type of cancer.

Please forget about cancer. Overthinking, anxiety or stress may suppress your body's immune system and make you vulnerable to developing any type of further infections or other diseases.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the brain, spinal cord, immune system, and many other organs or systems of the body. Fatigue, lethargy, lack of energy, difficulties in swallowing, inability to clear mucus, etc., are the common symptoms of multiple sclerosis, along with many other symptoms. So, blood in the mucus may be noticed in patients with multiple sclerosis as these patients are more vulnerable to developing respiratory tract infections, aspiration pneumonia, or other respiratory complications. At the initial stage of respiratory complications, no findings may be found on the chest X-ray. For that reason, I have advised you to undergo HRCT of the chest to exclude any respiratory problems.

As nothing has been confirmed yet, there is nothing to be worried about.

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