Post-nasal drip is an extremely common symptom that can have many triggers and cause a variety of symptoms.
In this blog, the board-certified ear, nose, and throat specialists at DFW Sinus Select explain why post-nasal drip is so common.
What is post-nasal drip?
Mucus produced by glands in your nose and throat perform important functions such as moistening and cleaning the nasal membranes, humidifying the air you breathe in, and trapping foreign matter that you’ve inhaled. Most of the time, the one to two quarts a day of mucus that’s produced can be swallowed, and you don’t even notice it.
However, when your mucus is unable to drain well enough, it can feel as though it’s building up in the back of your throat or dripping from the back of your nose. This sensation is what’s known as post-nasal drip.
What are its symptoms?
Post-nasal drip can cause the following symptoms:
- Feeling that mucus is dripping down the back of your throat
- Needing to frequently clear your throat
- Feeling like you have a lump in your throat
- A sore, irritated, scratchy throat
- A chronic cough, especially one that gets worse at night
- An ear infection, if mucus blocks your Eustachian tube (which connects your throat to your middle ear)
- A sinus infection (sinusitis), if mucus blocks your sinus passages
How common is post-nasal drip?
This is an extremely common symptom and is one of the most frequent complaints that ear, nose, and throat doctors hear from their patients. It can have many different causes – including colds, the flu, sinus infections, a deviated septum, and pregnancy – so it’s unfortunately quite common.
What are some effective treatments?
Treatment depends on what’s causing it. The following are some common causes and their respective treatments:
- Antibiotics – for sinus infections that are caused by bacteria
- Septoplasty – surgery to reshape and reduce the size of a deviated septum
- Antihistamines and decongestants – for sinus and viral infections
- Steroid nasal sprays, and immunotherapy (allergy shots) – can be used – sometimes with antihistamines and decongestants – to treat allergies
- Self-care – drinking more water can help thin your mucus, and saline nasal sprays and irrigation can help flush mucus, bacteria and other irritants from your sinuses.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of post-nasal drip, make an appointment today with the ear, nose, and throat specialists at DFW Sinus Select. We combine experience and expertise with compassionate care and will help you get relief from your symptoms.