*cough* *mmhmm* Is Your Throat Still Not Clear?
You've had that annoying tickle in the back of your throat for weeks and no matter how often you cough, clear, hack, and swallow, you can't get relief. It’s mucus building in your throat, which could mean chronic post-nasal drip! But before we get into that let's talk mucus...
Now raise your hand if you're interested in mucus!
No? No takers?
Yeah, mucus isn't that exciting, is it? In fact, thinking about mucus probably either makes you giggle, or grosses you out. The thing is, we don't need to spend a lot of time thinking about it at all. It's there. It does its thing. It's just part of the body's everyday mechanics that happen on autopilot.
But when you have that tickle that just won’t go away...you know that drippy, drain-y, naggy feeling in the back of your throat. That feeling just seems like it's never going to go away. It’s post-nasal drip, a common ailment that most people mistake for allergies.
To understand where post-nasal drip comes from and how to fix it, we first need to understand the importance of mucus—why we have it and what it's good for.
What is Mucus?
It's more than a funny little word you don't hear every day (unless maybe you're an ENT.) It's most easily defined as the thick and slimy substance that is produced by the glands in your body. Its primary function is to moisten and protect your lining and tissue. It also filters foreign debris and fights off invaders. The most important area it protects is the area we refer to as The Breathing Triangle®, the space behind your nose and mouth where your nasal passages and throat connect to your airway.
When your body is producing healthy amounts of mucus, it's producing about a quart per day. Yep...and guess what? You're continuously swallowing it without even noticing!
It becomes a problem and more noticeable when your body produces too much. This is when you start to experience the symptoms of post-nasal drip.
Post-Nasal Drip Symptoms
The most common symptom of post-nasal drip is a tickle in your throat.
Other common symptoms of post-nasal drip include:
- Bad breath
- Increased cough
- Need to clear your throat or swallow
- Sore or scratchy throat
The glands in your nose and throat are constantly producing mucus to moisten the nose, catch unwanted dirt or particles and fight infections. You'll typically swallow it without even noticing it.
When your glands produce extra mucus, it may accumulate and drip down the back of your throat from your nose, making your throat tickle. This is what we call postnasal drip. You’ll most likely feel like you need to swallow more frequently like you have a lump or drainage in your throat. You may also feel the urge to cough or need to clear your throat often. (Ugh! Annoying right? And not only to you but to everyone around you!)
Long, untreated bouts of post-nasal drip can turn into more painful issues like sinusitis or an ear infection.
Causes of Post-Nasal Drip
Post-nasal drip can be caused by anything from the common cold, a change in weather to a deviated septum. The increase in mucus is typically caused when the nasal lining is inflamed, irritated, or in fight mode.
Common causes of post-nasal drip include:
- Change in weather or seasons
- Deviated Septum
- Side effects of some medications
- Spicy food
So, is there a magic cure for post-nasal drip? Let’s take a look...
Getting Rid of Post-Nasal Drip
There are a handful of temporary-fixes and home remedies you can try to alleviate your post-nasal drip symptoms, such as:
- Over-the-counter decongestants (pseudoephedrine)
- Cough and cold relievers (dextromethorphan)
- Non-drowsy antihistamines (allergy medications)
- Saline nasal spray
- Sinus irrigation (neti pot, sinus rinse)
- Sleeping with your head elevated
- Drinking more water!
If symptoms persist and infection takes hold, your primary doctor may even prescribe a course of antibiotics.
Now, at ADVENT, we recommend a more long-lasting solution for chronic post-nasal drip: get to the root cause! Many of your sinus, allergy, and sleep issues can be resolved or improved by fixing the rook of the problem inside of your nose.
With simple, in-office procedures, we can correct the causes of post-nasal drip.
In-Office Solutions for Post-Nasal Drip
One of the more permanent solutions to post-nasal drip is Nasal Cryotherapy.
This in-office procedure will freeze the nerve in your nose that causes chronic rhinitis, providing long-lasting relief1, without any downtime. It's fast, convenient, and offers the ultimate liberation from that tickling throat.
We can also do things to help your overall breathing health, like increasing the size of your tiny sinus cavities to increase the proper flow of mucus with Balloon Sinuplasty or reducing the size of your turbinates with a Turbinate Reduction.
If you think you’re suffering from post-nasal drip or other sinus issues, you may be ready to take the next step towards real, powerful relief. Schedule your appointment at an ADVENT clinic today to get started.
- Del Signore, AG, Greene, JB, Russell, JL, Yen, DM, O'Malley, EM, Schlosser, RJ. Cryotherapy for treatment of chronic rhinitis: 3-month outcomes of a randomized, sham-controlled trial. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2022; 12: 51– 61. https://doi.org/10.1002/alr.22868.