What Causes Gurgling Noise in Throat When Swallowing: 3 Treatment Options

Gurgling sound in throat is quiet a frightening experience. But in most cases it is not a serious cause of concern. Gurgling in stomach is common experience and almost everyone sometime or the other may have experienced it. But gurgling noise in throat is not common. It is a bubbling sound similar to when water flows from a bottle or when you open a lid of a cola beverage bottle.

Gurgling sound while swallowing can occur in anyone; adults as well as children and elderly. Gurgling noise in fact is a symptom of an underlying cause.

Often it is accompanied with many other symptoms such as burning in throat, lumpy sensation in throat, foreign body sensation in throat, nausea etc. These associated symptoms usually help the health care provider in differential diagnosis of the cause. Once the underlying cause of gurgling sound in throat is known treatment becomes easier.

What Causes Gurgling Noise in Throat When Swallowing:

  • Gurgling in throat is not as common as rumbling in stomach. People who experience this annoying bubbling sound from their throat often get frightened. However, most of the causes are not serious.
    For example when you cough, you may experience rumbling noise due to collection of the expectoration in the throat.
  • Another important reason is chronic pharyngitis or laryngitis. In this condition the bone of the voice box become inflamed and hence whenever the patient swallows, he will feel throat irritation and lumpy feeling along with gurgling sound.
  • The other frequent cause of croaking or gurgling sound in throat is due to reflux acid disease. In this condition the gastric content regurgitates upwards into the lower part of esophagus. Esophagus in common language is called the food pipe through which the swallowed food enters into the stomach. Reflux of gastric content occurs because of weak lower esophageal sphincter. Normally the sphincter closes once the food is present in the stomach. When the sphincter becomes weak the gastric content travels upwards and sometimes even till the throat. At this point of time, a person may feel gurgling sound in throat. This particularly occurs when the person is lying down or bends.
  • If you have patulous auditory tube, you may hear rumbling and gurgling sound. Gurgling sound can also occur if any foreign body is stuck in the throat. It is more common in children. In majority of such cases there is a history of swallowing foreign object. Sometimes a person may experience gurgling due to suppressed emotions. This can be thought of as a last cause after reviewing all other probable causes.


  • In majority of cases gurgling in throat is temporary phenomenon. However, the unusual sound persists frequently it needs medical attention. Firstly, the cause needs to be found. As there are several reasons that may produce the annoying sound, pin pointing the underlying cause is very important to resolve the problem. For example if expectoration from coughing is known to produce it, patient needs to take medicines so that it becomes easy for the sputum to be expelled out.
  • If acid reflux is the cause, certain precaution such as eating a light dinner with less of spices and oil is effective. Sleeping in slightly elevated posture is also beneficial. It prevents backup of the gastric content. Patient must quit smoking and alcohol as both tend to irritate the throat and pharynx. Person must avoid spicy and oily food. He must walk regularly for at least 30 minutes in a day.
  • An impacted foreign body in throat producing peculiar sound must be treated as emergency. Patient has to be taken to the hospital as early as possible.

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