Post-nasal drip is the dripping of mucus from the nasal and sinus passages down the back of the throat. This article talks in detail about this common health nuisance.
Post-nasal drip is defined as the dripping of mucus from the nasal and sinus passages down the back of the throat. It is a common health condition affecting males and females equally and is becoming increasingly prevalent in our society.
It commonly affects people in the urban areas. It is invariably related to chronic rhinosinusitis and is common in people who are prone to allergy or with a family history of atopy or asthma. Frequent exposure to environmental pollutants and allergens cause repeated inflammation of the sinus and nasal mucus linings leading to a thickening of the membranes and an excess production of mucus.
This excess mucus accumulates within the sinuses and drips down the throat, causing a feeling of post nasal drip. It also provides a suitable environment for bacterial growth and infection.
Common Allergens Associated:
Symptoms of Post-Nasal Drip:
Remedies That Provide Relief:
Avoiding repeated exposure to allergens can significantly reduce the symptoms of chronic sinusitis and post-nasal drip. However, the following measures can help treat the condition.
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Post-nasal drip is among the most frequently seen causes of chronic cough, hoarseness, sore throat, etc. Normally, a post-nasal drip lasts only for ten days. But, if the person has any underlying cause of post-nasal drip that is severe and untreated, then it can even last for months to years.
The following is the list of condition that causes post-nasal drip:
- Common cold.
- Allergic rhinitis.
- Sinus infection.
- Foreign body obstruction at the nasal pathways.
- Oral contraceptives and antihypertensive medications.
The following are the foods that have to be avoided when you are affected with post-nasal drip:
- Ice cream.
The following are the natural methods for relieving post-nasal drip:
- Use of a humidifier or vaporizer.
- Usage of a saline nasal mist to thin out the mucus.
- Avoiding cigarette smoke.
- Gargle with lukewarm salt water.
- Drink herbal tea.
Foods that have increased histamine levels can trigger your body to produce more mucus. Bananas are one among them, and that is the reason why bananas can aggravate post-nasal drip. Other fruits that also high histamine levels include strawberries, pineapple, and papaya.
The warmth provided by various herbal teas helps in soothing a sore throat and post-nasal drip. The best type of tea that helps in relieving post-nasal drip is the ginger and thyme tea. It has natural antibacterial and antiviral properties that can calm the irritated throat and significantly decrease the overproduction of mucus.
Elevating your head while sleeping can provide significant relief of post-nasal drip. The usage of two or more pillows and books under the bottom of your head can provide a good degree of elevation that is needed for the relief.
Yes, post-nasal drip can enter and drain into the trachea and the lungs. This primarily happens when the patient is sleeping or when the patient has a thicker viscous post-nasal drip. It might easily enter the respiratory pathways.
Yes, post-nasal drip can block your airway and might trigger symptoms such as coughing and gasping. People who have experienced these symptoms often explain it as a suffocation. However, this happens only in severe cases of post-nasal drip.
Yes, gargling with lukewarm water and rock salt can help clear out the mucus present in the throat. It can also provide a soothing feel during a sore throat. Salt has significant antiinflammatory properties that can speed up the relief of post-nasal drip.
Yes, sinusitis is a common cause of post-nasal drip. The fluid that gets clogged in the sinuses during an ongoing sinusitis episode can drain into the throat and lead to a post-nasal drip.
Normally, after a sinus infection, post-nasal drip lasts only for a period of 10 days or more. But if it gets worse, you should immediately consult your doctor because the underlying cause could be a bacterial infection, or any structural problem, especially in the septum of the person’s nose. It might include deviated septum or nasal polyps.
Any health conditions that trigger excess mucus production can cause phlegm in the throat. The most common causes are:
- Acid reflux.
Most people who get affected by post-nasal drip usually get cured on their own. However, the prognosis primarily depends on the cause of the post-nasal drip. So if the cause is severe, complications can arise if the post-nasal drip is left untreated.
The following methods can be used in the treatment of a post-nasal drip cough:
- Intake of medications like Guaifenesin, which belongs to the expectorant class. It helps in the expulsion of mucus.
- Usage of saline nasal sprays or irrigation can flush out mucus, bacteria, allergens from the sinuses.
- Use of a vaporizer or humidifier in order to increase the moisture in the air.
When there is too much mucus in the throat, it might make the person feel hoarseness in the throat and give him or her a sore, scratchy throat. By this mechanism, a post-nasal drip can cause a sore throat.
Over-the-counter nasal decongestants such as Pseudoephedrine can be used to reduce nasal congestion and eliminate post-nasal drip. The recent advancement of non-drowsy antihistamines are also very effective against post-nasal drip.
The following are the best treatment modes in curing post-nasal drip:
- Non-drowsy antihistamines such as Loratadine and Pseudoephedrine should be taken for several days to achieve maximum effect.
- Saline nasal sprays can help soften the affected individual’s nasal passages and relieve post-nasal drip symptoms.
These drugs should be taken only under a proper prescription from a physician.
Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2018 - 3 min read
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