How to Identify Post-Nasal Drip

August 7, 2013 by Admin

It is typical for people to have fluids flowing through their throat throughout the day. What people do not realize is that we all produce up to one quart of mucus every day from our nose, sinuses, and throat. Mucus is an integral part of your immune system moistens and helps trap and destroy bacteria and viruses before they affect the body. You generally do not notice the mucus from your nose, because it mixes with saliva and drips down the back of your throat, harmlessly. Only when the body produces more mucus than usual or when the mucus is thicker than usual is when it becomes more noticeable. Continuous buildup of mucus may cause discomfort and need relief. Take notice of these instances in order to identify what triggers your symptoms and which treatments can help. Post-nasal drip occurs when nasal secretions leak down from the nose to the back of the throat. This often causes the individual to constantly clear their throat, clear their nose repeatedly and in some cases spit out the contents. Post-nasal drip may be related to sinusitis, allergies, reflux disease and more. The problem with this is not the fact that it is occurring, but because it is not able to be cleared away effectively. The increase in mucus that leads to post-nasal drip can be caused by a cold, flu, allergies, sinus infections or hormonal changes. Post-nasal drip usually becomes an issue because there is a condition in the body that caused the mucus to become excessively thick or thin. Whatever the condition the body is in, post-nasal drip will continue to feed off of it until treatment is applied. What are the Symptoms of Post-Nasal Drip? Post-nasal drip may be very tedious to work with as it often interrupts daily activities, including sleep. Most of the time people feel that the phlegm in their throat needs to be coughed up.Symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Frequent spitting
  • Feeling of mucus in the back of throat
  • Bad breath
  • Constant runny nose
  • Constantly clearing the throat
  • Chronic nasal congestion

Post-nasal drip is one of the leading causes of bad breath. The environment created for bacteria causes the foul odor and does not cease until treated. How is Post-nasal Drip Treated? Dr. Verma will need to conduct a thorough neck and head examination to determine the severity of the case. He may even need to hold a nasal endoscopy to evaluate the health of the nasal cavity. The endoscopy will examine the bones within the nose, the septum and the tonsillar tissue behind the nose. After evaluation Dr. Verma can form a plan with his patient to deplete symptoms. Multiple treatments range from nasal saline rinsing, aggressive hydrating, allergy avoidance and even topical or oral medication. Surgery may also be required in order to correct post-nasal drip. Making the mucus thinner is the first plan of attack. The patient can do at home treatments such as:

  • Drink six to eight glasses of water a day
  • Drink honey or lemon with tea
  • Gargle warm salt water to reduce sore throat two to three times a day
  • Increase the humidity in the air with a humidifier
  • Clean inside the nose with saltwater solution
  • Use over the counter saline nasal sprays
  • Use of expectorants (Robitussin and Mucinex)

Use of antihistamines may also reduce the amount of mucus, but they may make patients drowsy. Do not use over the counter nasal sprays more than three times a week, unless instructed by your doctor.

Dr-Verma - Voice and Swallowing Doctor - Sunil Verma MD is an online resource for patients and physicians to learn more about common voice, swallowing, breathing and throat disorders. Throat complaints, from cough to cancer, are a common reason for patients to seek medical treatment. This website developed as a result of Dr. Sunil Verma's passions: that of education, patient care, and interest in technology.

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