Thick secretions of mucus on your nose and throat give you the feeling of dripping from the back of your nose, which is irritating so you need a post nasal drip treatment. Mucus glands in the nose and throat produce one to two quarts of mucus each day to keep the nasal membranes moist and clean. Mucus also traps and clears foreign matters that you inhale, humidifies the air and helps fight infection. Mucus is usually swallowed unconsciously but when it thickens, it causes irritation and swallowing problems.
What Causes Post Nasal Drip
Sore throat, cough and irritation in the throat can all be caused by post natal drip. It is important to know the post nasal drip treatment to help ease the symptoms of this condition. Possible causes of mucus buildup in the throat and nose are colds, flu, inflammation of the sinuses or sinus infection, allergies, stuck object in the nose, pregnancy, medications such as birth control pills and blood pressure medications. Other triggers include anatomical problems affecting the sinuses such as deviated septum (the wall that separates the two nostrils are placed abnormally), foods that trigger mucus flow such spicy foods and milk products and irritants such as fumes from chemicals, perfumes, smoke and cleaning products.
Sometimes, the problem is not the production of excessive mucus, but rather the inability to clear the mucus buildup in the throat. Swallowing problems can be due to age, gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD and blockage in the throat.
Treating Post Nasal Drip
Post nasal drip treatment depends upon what caused it. Antibiotics can be used to treat post nasal drip caused by bacteria. But not all yellowish and greenish mucus is caused by bacteria. This can also be due to colds which are caused by virus. Post nasal drip due to viral infections or sinusitis can be treated with decongestants or antihistamines. These are also effective for post nasal drip due to allergies when combined with nasal sprays or steroid medications. It is best to consult with your doctor before taking any medications as they may have side effects such as dry mouth and dizziness.
Post nasal drip treatment is possible at home:
- Gargling with 1 cup of water mixed with ½ teaspoon salt will help relieve the irritation caused by post nasal drip.
- If you’re really annoyed with the mucus buildup, you may try mixing a cup of warm water with a pinch of baking soda and a teaspoon of salt. Squirt the mixture into your nostril using a nasal syringe. Make sure to keep your throat and the back of your palate closed. Tilt your head back, forward and to the sides to let the solution through your sinus cavities. Blow your nose gently after swishing the solution to your nose. You can do this up to six times.
- This is very obvious post nasal drip treatment. Drink at least eight ounces of water every day to keep your body and nasal passages hydrated. Drinking enough water also helps thin your mucus.
- Keep away from allergens. Know which triggers your allergy and keep away from them. If dust is the culprit, then keep your house clean and stay away from dusty places.
- Place boiling water in a small basin and inhale the steam to help thin the mucus and widen your nasal passages.
- Stay away from smog because it contains nasal irritants. Make sure to go out on quality air day and stay indoors as much as possible.
- Whether you are a smoker or not, keep away from the smoke. Second hand smoke has the same bad effect to your sinuses throat and nasal passages as first hand smoke does.
GERD or acid reflux also causes post nasal drip. This is the condition where the stomach acid bounces back to the esophagus. Stomach acid irritates the esophagus and the throat which causes post nasal drip. If this happens, post nasal drip treatment can be over-the counter antacids. Instead of lying flat, lay down on an elevated position to prevent the acid from your stomach to reflux. GERD is usually triggered by chocolates, spicy foods and carbonated drinks, so stay away from these trigger foods. Refrain from eating before bedtime so the risks of acid reflux is minimized. If your acid reflux persists, please consult your doctor.
In case of anatomical abnormalities such as deviated septum, enlarged turbinates or other structural abnormalities that involve the sinuses and the nose, a visit to the otolaryngologist (eye, ear, nose and throat specialist) is a must to determine if corrective surgery is possible and what should be done to manage your post nasal drip until surgical correction can be done.
Hormonal changes can also cause post nasal drip. During pregnancy, do not attempt to use medications for post nasal drip treatment without consulting your doctor as it may harm your baby. Use saline mist, neti pots or humidifiers to safely reduce the symptoms of post nasal drip.
When you experience post nasal drip, stay away from dairy products as they promote mucus production. Drinking lots of water will help clear your throat and nasal passages. To smoothen the post nasal drainage, drinking hot tea with honey and lemon will help.
Post Nasal Drip Symptoms
Post nasal drip causes an annoying feeling that makes you feel like clearing your throat all the time. It causes cough due to the liquid mucus on your throat that also contains inflammatory substances. Chronic cough is most commonly caused by post nasal drip. Excessive mucus flowing down your throat can cause irritation and hoarseness that result to sore throat.
It can also cause ear infection when the mucus clogs up the tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the nose (Eustachian tube) which can be painful and irritating. Your sinus passages can also be blocked due to excessive causing sinus infection.
Knowing the proper post nasal drip treatment can lessen the symptoms and reduce the pain and irritation caused by this condition.