Post nasal drip is an unpleasant condition that can cause real misery to sufferers. It occurs when mucus is discharged from the nose, post nasally, and down the throat. This can result in a sore and irritated throat, bad breath, and a recurrent cough. Because this coughing can get worse at night when the sufferer is in a recumbent position, it can also make life difficult for partners as well. By finding the underlying cause of the post nasal drip, however, effective treatment can be found. It can be useful to seek help from a specialist otolaryngologist. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes.
Cold And Flu-Like Illnesses
Cold and flu are very common complaints, and they bring with them a myriad of debilitating conditions, from streaming eyes to a hacking cough. They are also a major cause of post nasal drip. Sufferers may find that they have excess mucus coming both down the front of the nose, in the form of a runny nose, and behind it down the throat. This creates further unpleasant conditions such as a constantly tickly throat, and a need to swallow or spit more often than usual. When symptoms persist, medical evaluation should be sought.
People who are attacked by allergens produce excessive amounts of histamine, which in turn leads to increased mucus production. For this reason, allergic reactions are a common cause of post nasal drip. Hay fever is one of the most obvious allergies that can create post nasal drainage, but there are many others, from food and drinks to fabrics, dust, or pet hairs. You don’t have to suffer the debilitating effects of an allergy. Your ear, nose and throat specialist will be able to carry out quick and safe allergy tests that can pinpoint the cause of the problem. It’s then possible to avoid the allergen or take appropriate treatments to minimize the negative effects.
Sinusitis occurs when there is inflammation of the nose and paranasal sinuses. Sinusitis is itself often caused by cold, allergens, upper respiratory infections, or environmental irritants that cause the sinuses to swell. This can be very unpleasant, and sufferers will often feel pain around their nose, eyes and forehead. Sinusitis can pass on its own within a few weeks, although the symptoms can be very unpleasant during this time. Other sufferers of sinusitis can find that the condition lasts for many months, or keeps recurring. During the time that the sinusitis is active, post nasal drip will be a common occurrence, as the paranasal sinuses produce excessive amounts of the mucosa.
Treating Post Nasal Drip
As you can see, there are many potential causes of post nasal drip, as well as others such as GERD, often known as acid reflux, a deviated septum, or even eating hot and spicy food. Your otolaryngologist will be able to tailor the treatment to the particular cause of your complaint. These treatments vary widely and are most effective after an otolaryngologist has heard your story and performed a thorough exam which will allow for the formation of a focused and individualized treatment regimen.
About The Guest Blogger
Dr. Samuel S. Becker is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a board-certified specialist in otolaryngology. He practices as an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor in New Jersey and Philadelphia.