Postnasal drip is the leaking of mucus from the back of the throat. Normally, mucus is produced by the glands that line the nose, throat, and airways, and is discharged harmlessly through the throat. However, when the body produces more mucus than usual, or when the mucus becomes thicker than usual, it becomes noticeable and starts to cause problems. It is discharged into the throat as nasal drip.
What Causes Postnasal Drip?
Mucus helps keep body cavities moist. It also helps trap and destroy foreign objects such as bacteria and viruses before they can cause infection. However, excessive mucus production can be harmful. It is usually triggered when:
- flu and cold
- bad breath
- sinus infection
- Insertion of a foreign object into the nose
- hormonal changes during pregnancy
- Side effects of some medications, such as oral contraceptives and blood pressure medications.
- Because the nasal septum is curved, it is difficult for mucus to flow from the nose.
- frequently changing weather or cold/dry weather
- Spicy food
- Nasal irritants such as smoke from chemicals, perfumes, cleaners, smoke, etc.
Postnasal drip can also occur if mucus is not properly cleared. This is usually caused by dysphagia, obstruction of the esophagus, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), etc.
Postnasal drip itself is not contagious, but if it is caused by an infection, it can spread from person to person through infectious organisms in the mucus.
What are the symptoms of postnasal drip?
Severe postnasal drip can cause symptoms such as:
- A constant urge to clear your throat
- cough that gets worse at night
- hoarse voice
- sore throat
- ear infections
- sinus infection
Other symptoms of postnasal drip are frequent swallowing, nausea, and vomiting due to excessive mucus discharge into the stomach.
How to manage postnasal drip?
Treatment for postnasal drip depends on its cause. Common management techniques for postnasal drip include drying mucus, thinning mucus, and nasal sprays.
drying of mucus
- If you have green or yellow postnasal drip, you may have an infection. Antibiotics can help clear bacterial infections, while viral infections can be managed using antihistamines and decongestants.
- Other medications that can help with viral infections and related ear and sinus infections include steroid nasal sprays and oral corticosteroids.
These medicines are over-the-counter medicines, but depending on the patient’s infection cause and symptoms, some medicines are effective while others are harmful, so please consult your doctor before taking them.
For example, diphenhydramine (found in Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine (found in chlortrimetone) dry out and thicken mucus, causing dryness of the nasal and oral cavities. , and antihistamines such as desloratadine are generally considered good for postnasal drip without suppressing drowsiness or dry mouth.
thin the consistency of mucus
Other medications, like guaifenesin, can help thin mucus so it flows more easily and prevent blockages in the ears and sinuses. Humidifiers and vaporizers help increase the amount of moisture in the air, thinning the mucus and making it easier to drain.
Irrigation with saline nasal sprays, neti pots, and nasal irrigation systems can help maintain hygiene and help clear mucus. Clears obstructed airways, reduces overall mucus volume, and improves patient breathing.
Here are some medicated nasal sprays patients can try:
- Flonase (fluticasone propionate) for allergic rhinitis
- Ipratropium bromide relieves nasal congestion and runny nose due to colds and seasonal allergies
- Azelastine for treating runny nose, sneezing, and seasonal allergies.
In severe cases, none of the drugs work, and if the patient develops a severe ear or sinus infection, surgery may be required to help recovery.The best options for sinus surgery are: It’s from FESS (Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery) and balloon sinoplasty.Surgery for ear infections is called myringotomy (with or without ear tube insertion).
home remedies for postnasal drip
Postnasal drip is such a common problem that over time people have become aware of various home remedies that can help with recovery without the use of drugs. Some common home remedies include:
- Hot liquids, such as soups, water, and tea, help unclog the nose and throat, thin mucus, and prevent dehydration. All of these help eliminate postnasal drip.
- Hot and humid showers and baths also help open up congested nasal passages and sinuses and improve the patient’s breathing.
- Some patients also prefer to sleep on their back at night to keep mucus from building up in the back of their throat.
- Patients with nasal allergies should avoid nasal irritants and allergens to prevent exacerbation of symptoms.
- Regularly change the filters in your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
- Avoid caffeine and diuretics as much as possible, as they can lead to dehydration and thickening of mucus.
However, if you have a fever or severe difficulty breathing, or if symptoms persist for more than 10 days without improvement, immediately Consult an otolaryngologist For further treatment and recovery.
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