Post-nasal drip occurs when your body produces too much mucus or when mucus isn’t draining effectively. It’s a common symptom of colds and other respiratory infections or allergies that have respiratory effects. Virtually everyone experiences post-nasal drip from time to time. For an unfortunate few, however, post-nasal drip can become a chronic condition.
Post-nasal drip versus runny nose
A runny nose is the forward-facing cousin of post-nasal drip, where excess mucus escapes through your nostrils. It’s the more obvious symptom perhaps, but it can have serious impacts. You can have a runny nose and post-nasal drip together or separately.
Excess mucus runs down behind the nose and below the sinuses, into your throat through internal airways. You probably feel a near-constant need to clear your throat. The presence of mucus can give you a raw, scratchy sore throat that impacts your voice. An insistent cough that originates in your throat rather than your chest is frequently due to post-nasal drip.
Defining chronic post-nasal drip
When your symptoms arise from cold, flu, or allergies, your drip issues typically pass with the condition. These aren’t truly chronic issues.
Bacterial infections causing post-nasal drip can linger without antibiotic treatment. You should seek medical attention within a few weeks of symptoms. Post-nasal drip will be present for 12 weeks or longer before it’s classed as chronic.
Chronic rhinitis is frequently the culprit if you have persistent post-nasal drip. This inflammation of nasal tissue has both allergic and non-allergic forms, and the post-nasal drip is perhaps the most frequent symptom for both origins.
Allergic rhinitis can be seasonal, such as hay fever, or perennial, in response to permanent allergens such as dust or mold. Depending on what you’re allergic to, either type could become chronic. Non-allergic rhinitis may not have an identifying cause, or it could be due to a problem with the physical structure of your nose or breathing passages.
Effective treatment for chronic post-nasal drip
Since post-nasal drip is a symptom rather than a condition. Effective treatment typically means attacking the reason behind the drip itself. While there are home remedies that can help ease the effects of post-nasal drip, these usually don’t do much to address the root cause.
As an otolaryngologist, facial plastic surgeon, and post-nasal drip specialist, Dr. Alexis Furze is an expert you can trust. He can source the underlying cause of your symptoms, leading to long-lasting, effective relief.
While you’re waiting to see Dr. Furze, you can try these self-care treatments to ease the distractions created by post-nasal drip:
- Avoid triggers, such as pollen, dust, dust mites, animal dander, and environmental triggers
- Use air purifiers to reduce airborne allergens
- Avoid irritants that don’t cause post-nasal drip, but which aggravate it such as cigarette smoke and car exhaust
- Use saline products designed for nasal irrigation to reduce accumulations and swelling in your nasal passages
Ask about ClariFix ©
Dr. Furze and his team are proud to offer the ClariFix © cryotherapy solution for post-nasal drip and runny nose. Having chronic post-nasal drip means the nerves in your nasal passages are overactive and sending signals that contribute to mucus overproduction.
ClariFix © uses cooling technology to calm nerve signal activity, effectively “freezing” post-nasal drip in its tracks. It’s a simple office procedure done with local anesthetic and no incisions. Most patients see results anywhere between two to six weeks. ClariFix © is safe, with little risk of side effects. It’s no wonder this treatment is considered so effective.
Keep in mind, Dr. Furze was the first doctor in Orange County to offer this cutting-edge technology to treat chronic post-nasal drip. He’s more than equipped to answer any questions you might have.
For more advanced options, including ClariFix © , steroid nose sprays or even surgery, contact Dr. Furze’s practice. You can schedule your consultation and examination by contacting our Newport Beach office . You’ve suffered from chronic post-nasal drip long enough, don’t wait for another second to find relief.
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Post nasal drip is caused by overproduction of mucous and results in drainage of the mucus from sinuses into back of nose or throat, eventually leading to coughing or sore throat. The mucus is very thin, clear and runny unlike the usual form when it is stickier, thick and greenish yellow. The excess clear mucus production is majorly caused by an allergic reaction or an infection.
The other possible factors could be smoky/dusty conditions, sinus infections, sinus or nasal polyps, flu, cold air, air pollution, pregnancy an aging. Though, post nasal drip remains an uncomfortable and irritating situation to manage. There exist several natural solutions to alleviate post nasal drip and cure it, before it becomes severe and need a medical supervision.
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9 Effective Solutions For Curing Post Nasal Drip
Most of postnasal drip symptoms may gradually fade away and stop wit time. But, to get rid of irritating feel, one can make use of salt water gargling as it helps ins soothing the sore throat and reducing symptoms of post nasal drip.
Put half a spoon of salt in one cup of warm water and gargle on regular basis, to cure post nasal drip smoothly.
2. Blowing Out
Make use of blowing nose strategy to effectively drain out the excessive mucus from the nose. While blowing out mucus from nose, one must keep the mouth open to avoid effects of any increased pressure that may otherwise harm the ear drums and lead to a possible ear damage.
3. Baking Soda
Mix one teaspoons of salt, little baking soda in one cup of warm water. Then make use of a nasal syringe to put the mixture inside the nostril, while closing out the throat and palate. Then tilt the head backwards, then forward and then to each of the sides for 10 seconds, to get solution reach to all four of the sinus cavities.
Then blow the nose and try expelling out mucus. Repeat the process for around 6 times in a day to get rapid cure from postnasal drip. Those who are allergen prone can continue performing it twice a day, to prevent any future episodes of post nasal drip.
4. Remain Hydrated
Drink lots of water to keep the nasal passages well hydrated that helps in easy expulsion of mucus and is defensive against troublesome symptoms of postnasal drip. Make sure to consume 8 glasses of water every day to get fast relief from the situation.
Ginger is very useful spice for curing postnasal drip. Prepare a concoction by using grated ginger and boiling it in one cup of water. Then sip this ginger water slowly, to ease the inflammation and irritation of throat. Alternatively, one can try chewing a piece of ginger to receive its benefits in overcoming post nasal drip symptoms.
6. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil is very effective as a quick relief remedy as it aids in drying up the postnasal mucosal drip. Eucalyptus oil is enriched with antifungal, anti inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Put a few drops of oil in one bowl of steaming hot water and inhale the steam of eucalyptus oil to put an end to post nasal drip.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is very useful remedy alternative to usual medication. Use one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in one cup of warm water and make use of this solution to flush out excessive mucus from nasal cavity. This natural remedy offers an instant relief from post nasal drip.
8. Nasal Irrigation
Make use of a neti pot to clear the sinuses with nasal irrigation. It is considered to be the best remedy for post nasal drip cure and has been made use of since centuries in India.
Prepare a saline solution and irrigate each nostril with neti pot, keeping head tilted so that it gets drained out from the other nostril. Frequent irrigation aids in keeping away infections and eliminates the need of using antibiotics.
9. Vitamin C
Intake more amounts of vitamin C as it is vital for healing and aids in curing post nasal drip more quickly. Incorporate high amounts of vitamin C by consuming citrus fruits of oranges, strawberries, lemon and many more. Alternatively, one can make use of vitamin C supplements, but dosage need to be defined by the doctor only.
In addition to above natural cure, refrain yourself from use of spicy foods and cold drinks as these have a higher probability of irritating the nasal passage and aggravating the post nasal drip. Keep yourself protected from cold environments and free from allergens of smog and smoke that can work as a trigger for initiating the excessive mucus production and result in post nasal drip.
Mucus is normally swallowed unconsciously, but when there is a feeling of the mucus gathering in the throat or dripping from the back of your nose, it is called post-nasal drip.
Glands in your nose and throat continually produce mucus, normally one to two quarts per day. Mucus moistens and cleans the nasal lining, moistens air, traps and clears what is inhaled, and helps fight infection.
What Are the Symptoms of Post-nasal Drip?
Symptoms of post-nasal drip can include:
- Feeling of mucus drainage into the throat
- Frequent swallowing
- Throat clearing
- Raspy or gurgling speech
- Sore irritated throat
- Feeling a lump in the throat
In children, thick or foul-smelling secretions from one side of the nose can mean that something is stuck in the nose such as a bean, wadded paper, or piece of a toy. If these symptoms are observed, seek a physician for examination.
Post-nasal drip often leads to a sore, irritated throat. Although there is usually no infection, the tonsils and other tissues in the throat may swell. This can cause discomfort or a feeling that there is a lump in the throat. Successful treatment of the post-nasal drip will usually clear up these throat symptoms.
Causes of post-nasal drip can include:
- Bacterial infections
- Vasomotor rhinitis (overly sensitive nose)
- Medications that thicken mucus
- Gastroesophageal reflux
Thin clear secretions can be due to colds and flu, allergies, cold temperatures, bright lights, certain foods or spices, pregnancy, and other hormonal changes. Various drugs (including birth control pills and high blood pressure medications) and irregular nose cartilage can also produce increased mucus.
Thick secretions in winter often result from dryness in heated spaces. They can also come from sinus or nose infections and allergies, especially to foods such as dairy products. If thin secretions become thick, and turn green or yellow, it is possible that a bacterial sinus infection is developing.
Diagnosing post-nasal drip may include a detailed ear, nose, and throat exam, endoscopy (using a camera to look inside the nose and throat), or X-rays. Post-nasal drip can be difficult to cure, and treatment varies according to the cause:
- Bacterial infections are usually treated with antibiotics, nasal spray, decongestants, and nasal saline irrigations. For chronic sinusitis, surgery to open the blocked sinuses may be required.
- Allergies are best managed by avoiding the causes. Antihistamines, decongestants, cromolyn and steroid nasal sprays, or oral steroids may offer relief. Some older, sedating antihistamines may dry and thicken post-nasal secretions more; newer non-drowsy antihistamines do not have this effect. Immunotherapy (desensitization) using allergy shots or drops under the tongue may help. Talk to your doctor before starting any of these medications.
- Gastroesophageal reflux treatment includes elevating the head of the bed six to eight inches, avoiding food and beverages for at least three hours before bedtime, weight loss, and eliminating alcohol and caffeine from the diet. Antacids such as TUMS®, Mylanta®, and Gaviscon®, or acid blockers such as Zantac® or Pepcid® also provide benefit. If the reflux does not get better, you should see your primary care provider, or an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist, or otolaryngologist.
- Measures that allow mucus secretions to pass more easily may be recommended. Many people, especially older persons, need more fluids to thin out secretions. Drinking more water, eliminating caffeine, and if possible avoiding diuretics (medications that remove fluid from the body by increasing urination) will help. Mucous-thinning agents such as guaifenesin (Mucinex®, Robitussin®) make secretions thinner. Saline nasal irrigations alleviate thickened secretions. Nonprescription saline nasal spray (Ocean®, Ayr®) is a natural way to moisten the nose.
Several other conditions may feel like post-nasal drip but are swallowing problems caused by a backup of solids or liquids in the throat. Conditions that may be related to post-nasal drip include:
- Sinus conditions
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
During cold and flu season people experience a myriad of annoying symptoms. Chief among them is post nasal drip — when mucus from your nose runs into your throat.
Post nasal drip can trigger a tickling or blocked feeling at the back of your throat, causing a sore throat, cough, or the continuous need to clear your throat.
It’s normal for your nose to produce mucus — about one quart a day on average, says Christopher Thompson, MD, an ear, nose and throat specialist and otolaryngologist with Mission Hospital.
“Mucus is important to humidify the upper airways and trap foreign particles such as allergens, irritants, viruses, and bacteria,” he says.
However, infection, allergies, and gastrointestinal reflux can all cause the mucus to become more pronounced, leading to post nasal drip. Learn more about this uncomfortable symptom and the various remedies to treat it.
What causes post nasal drip?
Post nasal drip occurs when nasal glands either secrete more mucus than normal, or thicker mucus. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including the following:
- A common cold: A common cold causes excess mucus to fill your nose, which often leads to post nasal drip.
- Allergies and irritants in the air: Allergens and other irritants can cause more mucus in your nose, which is linked to postnasal drip.
- Reflux: Post nasal drip is a major symptom of laryngopharyngeal reflux, a condition where stomach acid rises into the throat, Thompson says.
- Sinus infections: Runny and stuffy noses are common symptoms of a sinus infection and can cause post nasal drip.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the increase in hormones can trigger swelling of the nasal glands, causing roughly one-third of women to experience post nasal drip.
- Spicy foods: In response to spiciness, many people’s bodies release extra mucus, which can lead to post nasal drip.
Post nasal drip treatment
The treatment for your post nasal drip will depend on what’s causing it. For example, it’s easier to resolve postnasal drip caused by spicy foods than it is to kick a sinus infection. It’s important to address the underlying condition in order to treat post nasal drip.
In addition to treating the cause, some remedies can help specifically with post nasal drip, Thompson says. Here are a few common remedies:
1. Try nasal irrigation
Nasal irrigation with saline is highly recommended to combat post nasal drip. “Saline irrigations help flush out excess and thick mucus,” Thompson says. “Also, saline irrigations moisturize the nasal cavity and reduce the symptom of post nasal drip.”
Using a neti pot, flush one side of your nose, then the other, with distilled or boiled water (that’s been cooled). Be sure to follow instructions carefully so that you don’t increase your risk of infection by flushing your nose.
2. Breathe in steam or a humidifier
Steam or a humidifier can help clear mucus from your nose. “Humidifier and steam inhalation can help moisturize the air and thin the mucus so that it passes more freely,” Thompson says.
That’s why chicken soup or a cup of tea can also be great remedies — the hot liquid and steam help clear your nasal passages.
People with post nasal drip related to allergies might want to skip this solution. “Humidifiers can increase indoor allergens, such as dust mites and mold,” Thompson says. “Many people are allergic to dust mites, so a humidifier may lead to increased allergy symptoms.”
3. Stay hydrated
Drinking enough water can help thin mucus, preventing the irritating postnasal drip feeling that something is stuck at the back of your throat.
“Drinking plenty of water can help thin out the mucus by preventing dehydration,” Thompson says. Aim for at least the recommended 15 cups a day for men and 11 cups a day for women.
4. Sleep on propped up pillows
Sleeping with your head raised on propped up pillows is particularly helpful if your postnasal drip is linked to reflux, Thompson says. Keeping your head raised can reduce the amount of stomach acid that gets into your throat, and lessen the feeling of post nasal drip.
5. Take oral decongestants
If your post nasal drip is also accompanied by congestion — as is often the case for people with a common cold — a decongestant like Sudafed can help, Thompson says. These medications work by constricting the blood vessels in the nose. That allows mucus to move more freely, he says.
However, oral decongestants also cause blood vessels to constrict throughout the body, so they shouldn’t be used by people who have high blood pressure , since they can make the condition worse.
Mucus thinners, like Mucinex, help thin the mucus in the upper respiratory system, Thompson explains. However, they are not considered effective at clearing nasal congestion.
6. Use nasal decongestants
Nasal decongestants, like Afrin, are sprays that constrict the blood vessels just in the nose. However, they shouldn’t be used for more than three days at a time, Thompson says, because they can cause rebound congestion, where mucus builds up when the medication wears off.
“This can lead to worsened congestion, post nasal drip, and nasal obstruction,” he says.
7. Consider prescription medications
If your post nasal drip is caused by allergies, a prescription nasal spray is a first-line treatment, Thompson says. Corticosteroid nasal sprays and nasal antihistamine sprays both decrease inflammation and reduce allergic response. With less mucus in your nose, you’ll have less post nasal drip.
When to see a doctor
If you have a persistent post nasal drip, a doctor can help you identify the cause of the condition and treat it.
If you have tried over-the-counter and home remedies for a few days without improvement or you have post nasal drip that lasts longer than a week, you should seek medical attention, Thompson says.
Likewise, you should see a doctor if you have a fever since that can indicate an infection.
“If post nasal drip is accompanied by facial pain or pressure and loss of smell then you may have a sinus infection requiring antibiotics . If you have indigestion or heartburn then you may have acid reflux.
If you have itchy eyes and nose then you may have seasonal allergies ,” he says.
Post nasal drip is a symptom of conditions ranging from the common cold to allergies, to gastrointestinal reflux.
If you are suddenly experiencing post nasal drip, at-home remedies like proper hydration, sleeping on propped up pillows, and using a neti pot can all help.
If you have persistent post nasal drip you might have an underlying medical condition — like allergies or reflux — that needs independent management.