Glands found in your nose, throat, and several other parts of your body produce up to two quarts of mucus a day. Although people tend to think of mucus as an annoyance, it serves several important functions, including humidifying and cleansing air before it reaches your lungs. It also plays an important role in clearing away foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses before they can get into your body and cause an infection.
Normally, you’re not aware of this process because the mucus mixes with saliva and drips harmlessly down the back of your throat, where it’s swallowed gradually and continuously throughout the day.
When your body produces more mucus than usual, you may experience a runny nose with excess mucus coming out of the front of your nose. When the mucus instead runs down the back of your nose and into your throat to the point where you can feel it, it’s called post-nasal drip.
In this blog, the specialists at DFW Sinus Select will explain the best treatments to stop post-nasal drip.
What causes post-nasal drip?
The excess mucus production that triggers post-nasal drip has a number of possible causes, including:
- Sinus infection or sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses)
- Pregnancy or other hormonal changes
- Certain medications (including birth control pills and high blood pressure medications)
- A deviated septum (misalignment of the wall that separates the two nostrils) or another anatomical problem that interferes with the normal production and easy flow of mucus
- Changing weather fronts, cold temperatures, or excessive dryness in the air
- Certain foods, including ones that are spicy
- Environmental irritants, including chemicals, perfumes, cleaning products, and smoke
What are the symptoms of post-nasal drip?
Post-nasal drip can create several annoying symptoms, including:
- A tickling feeling that makes you want to constantly clear your throat
- Sore throat
- Coughing, which often gets worse at night. Post-nasal drip is the most common cause of chronic cough.
- Ear infection if mucus plugs up your Eustachian tube, which connects the throat and the middle ear
- Sinus infection if your sinus passages become plugged by mucus
What does treatment for post-nasal drip include?
To determine an effective treatment for post-nasal drip, it’s necessary to determine the cause of the problem. If, for example, you have thin mucous secretions that are becoming thicker and are yellow or green, that can sometimes – but not always – be an indication that you have a bacterial infection. However, colds can also cause yellow or green mucus, and they’re caused by viruses, which won’t be helped by antibiotics.
Antihistamines– which reduce or block chemicals called histamines and thus reduce allergy symptoms – can help with post-nasal drip that’s caused by sinusitis and viral infections. Decongestants – which relieve swelling in your nasal passages – may also be helpful. For post-nasal drip caused by allergies, antihistamines and decongestants may be used along with steroid medications that can reduce stuffiness and swelling and nasal sprays that help keep your nasal passages clear.
Another treatment for post-nasal drip is to thin your mucus. Mucus can have different consistencies, and if it’s thick, it can be stickier and harder to drain, causing you more discomfort. Keeping the mucus thin can help prevent blockages in the ears and sinuses, which can lead to infection.
You can do this by drinking more water and using a humidifier or vaporizer or by taking a hot shower.
Where can I find treatment for post-nasal drip in the Dallas-Fort Worth area?
DFW Sinus Select is a practice dedicated to the care, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders related to the nose and sinuses. At DFW Sinus Select, our board-certified physicians provide compassionate, state-of-the-art care that utilizes the complete spectrum of diagnostics to correctly identify the cause of your issues.
We also offer the latest minimally invasive treatments for the nose, sinuses, and allergies and will determine if one of these long-lasting treatments is appropriate in your case.
If you’re looking for relief and effective treatment of post-nasal drip, schedule an appointment with DFW Sinus Select today!