Post Nasal Drip 101: Everything You Need to Know
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 it 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 auto-pilot.
But the people who do think about mucus often are people who frequently deal with the annoyance of post-nasal drip. That drippy, drainy, naggy feeling in the back of your throat. That feeling just seems like it’s never going to go away.
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 foreign 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!
When it becomes a problem and more noticeable is when your body produces too much. This is when you start to experience the symptoms of post-nasal drip. Your throat will hurt, you’ll probably start to cough, and there will be that nagging sensation that won’t seem to go away…
Post-Nasal Drip Causes and Symptoms
Post-nasal drip is very common. When your body reacts to certain influences, it will produce more mucus to keep up with the maintenance of filtering viruses and bacteria, moistening the nasal membrane, and protecting you from infection.
These causes can include cold temperatures, dry air, and significant changes in the weather. Or there are other causes we have a little more control over like eating spicy food, taking certain medications, fumes, smoke, and other irritants, and even lodged foreign objects. No, really...kids love to stick things up there!
And of course illness and allergies.
When experiencing post-nasal 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 can turn into more painful issues like sinusitis or an ear infection.
So is there a magic cure for post nasal drip?
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:
- 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
- Drink 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: get to the root cause! Many of your sinus, allergy, and sleep issues can be resolved or improved by fixing what’s going on inside your nose.
With simple, in-office procedures, we can correct the causes of post-nasal drip. We can even do things like freeze and 'reset' the overactive nerves that are causing your body to produce all that mucus. We can also do things to help your overall breathing health, like increasing the size of your too-small sinus cavities to increase the proper flow of mucus with Balloon Sinuplasty or reducing the size of your turbinates with a Turbinate Reduction.
Post-Nasal Drip is Annoying, But There Are Solutions:
Get Your Free Guide:
How To Turn Off Your Post Nasal Drip
Get instant access to How To Turn Off Your Post Nasal Drip when you subscribe to our newsletter. Get your FREE copy now: