Post-nasal drip is when nasal secretions, such as mucus, drain from the nose into the back of the throat. This causes may cause increased phlegm resulting in throat discomfort or throat pain.. Patients with post-nasal drip may continually find the need to clear their throat and may need to frequently blow their nose or even resort to spitting to clear the secretions.
Post-nasal drip may be related to sinusitis, allergies, and even reflux disease.
Evaluation of post nasal drip first involves a thorough head and neck examination. A physician may perform nasal endoscopy to evaluate the health of the nasal cavity, including
- The turbinates, or bones within the nose,
- The septum, or wall that divides the nasal passages,
- The adenoids or tonsillar tissue behind the nose.
When post-nasal drip causes throat discomfort a flexible laryngoscopy may be beneficial to evaluate the entire throat including tongue, larynx, and pharynx.
Treatment of post nasal drip usually begins with nasal saline irrigations. This moisturizes the inside of the nose. Medicated nasal sprays assist in decreasing nasal inflammation. If an infection is diagnosed, antibiotics may be indicated. Allergy testing may be indicated if patients have other symptoms of allergies, including watery, itchy eyes. Reflux medication may be used as well.