North Richland Hills, TX

North Richland Hills and Grand Prairie, TX

North Richland Hills and Grand Prairie, TX

What is Post-Nasal Drip and How can it be Managed?

woman in a bright yellow blouse looks uncomfortable and holds her throat while working on a laptop.

It can be incredibly annoying to have a constant tickle in the back of your throat. No amount of coughing or throat clearing seems to do any good, and sometimes, you develop a sore throat and hoarseness. You’re not really sick but something is definitely up. Normally, post-nasal drip is a result of an excess of mucus. This is a really common condition and it is possible to find relief from it.

How is post-nasal drip triggered?

Your nose and throat require mucus for its own protection. But post-nasal drip can be the outcome when excessive mucus is generated.

Conditions like allergies, sinus infections, and the common cold can all cause post-nasal drip. Inflammation in the nasal passages, triggered by viral or bacterial infections, allergies, or airborne irritants, can also increase mucus production, resulting in congestion and post-nasal drip.

Other things that can lead to post-nasal drip include:

  • Cold and dry air: Mucus production can be activated by these weather conditions.
  • Certain medications: Medications, including high blood pressure medicine and birth control pills, can increase the production of mucus.
  • Spicy foods: These can temporarily increase mucus production.
  • Aging: Our bodies will generate more mucus as we get older.
  • Bright lights: Some individuals might find that exposure to bright lights triggers a reflex increase in mucus.
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease): This condition can allow stomach acids to back up into the throat, increasing the production of mucus.
  • Pregnancy: Increased mucus production can be caused by hormonal changes.

While many individuals experience post-nasal drip from time to time, it can become chronic for others. If this occurs, consulting with an experienced ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist is recommended.

Prevalent symptoms of post-nasal drip

Post-nasal drip can manifest with various symptoms, the most prevalent of which include:

  • Coughing: Coughing can be especially annoying at night.
  • Sore throat: Chronic irritation in the throat.
  • Throat clearing: Needing to constantly clear the throat.
  • Frequent swallowing: Often because of excess mucus.
  • Bad breath: When mucus accumulates, bad breath can be the result.

Sometimes, when post-nasal drip mucus goes into the stomach, nausea and vomiting can happen. In addition, if the Eustachian tubes (connecting the nose and throat to the middle ear) become blocked, it can result in painful ear infections.

Effective treatments for post-nasal drip

Post-nasal drip can be alleviated by both prescription and at-home remedies.

Home remedies

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medications: Antihistamines including Claritin, Xyzal, Allegra, and Zyrtec, as well as decongestants like Sudafed, can be helpful. Other popular options include Mucinex and Benadryl.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink a lot of water and hot liquids to thin the mucus.
  • Elevate your head: You can stop mucus from pooling up in your throat by elevating your head while you sleep.
  • Use humidifiers and nasal steamers: Adding moisture to the air can prevent mucus from thickening.
  • Nasal irrigation: Making use of a saline solution can help eliminate mucus.
  • Avoid caffeine and diuretics: These can result in dehydration and thicker mucus.

Always follow the instructions for OTC medications and comply with recommended usage durations.

When to consult an ENT specialist

If at-home treatments and OTC medications don’t provide relief, it’s essential to consult with an ENT specialist. Depending on the inherent cause, treatments may consist of prescription nasal sprays or other specific therapies.

Preventing post-nasal drip

Here are some preventative measures that can help keep post-nasal drip in check:

  • Keep a clean environment: Keep your living space as clean and free of dust as possible.
  • Avoid allergens: Allergens that activate symptoms should be avoided when possible.
  • Use daily allergy medications: Consider taking an allergy pill daily.
  • Change filters regularly: Keep clean air circulating by replacing any HVAC filters when they need it.
  • Shower at night: Especially if you’ve been outside during the day, to remove allergens.

Contact us today so we can help you with chronic post-nasal drip particularly if OTC solutions aren’t helping.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

Questions? Talk To Us.