The post nasal drip treatment, or postnasal drip (or post-nasal), English post-nasal drip, corresponds to the presence of excessive mucus sensation in the back of the nose and throat, caused by the glands present in this area. People with post-nasal discharge usually feel the need to clear the throat and then swallow more than usual. Excess mucus can also lead to other symptoms. Here you will get a complete guide about post nasal drip treatment.
What is post-nasal drip?
Postnasal discharge refers to the uncomfortable feeling of mucus accumulation in the back of the throat. The nose, throat, and sinuses constantly produce mucus. Mucus is a thick, moist substance that helps moisturize the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract.
The air we breathe is, in fact, full of germs, pollen, and other environmental pollutants. When air enters the body, these particles, if not filtered by our body, can cause health problems. It is precisely the mucus that has the task of trapping and eliminating these foreign bodies.
Usually, the presence of mucus is not perceived. It constantly mixes with saliva and is automatically swallowed or blown out of the nose. However, if the body produces excess mucus, we begin to perceive this substance’s accumulation much more. When this happens, you may experience a dripping sensation of mucus from the nose to the throat: this is post-nasal drip.
Postnasal drip treatment
The symptoms of the postnasal syndrome are similar to those of a common ARVI. These are nasal congestion, coughing up phlegm, difficulty in nasal breathing. Headache and soreness in the sinuses are possible. Constant coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing in the lungs are also common. But the main symptom is the accumulation of mucus in the posterior parts of the nasal cavity, and it is flowing down the posterior wall of the nasopharynx. The mucous clots can sometimes be orange-brown in color.
Symptoms are worse in the morning. Often people with postnasal syndrome wake up with a feeling of discomfort in the throat. Pharyngitis symptoms are sometimes noted. This is due to the drainage of the mucous discharge along the back of the pharynx, breathing through the mouth, and the abuse of vasoconstrictor drops.
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In addition to the sensation of dripping, other symptoms may occur, including:
- Sore or scraped throat
- The feeling of nausea caused by excess mucus in the stomach
- Excessive swallowing or the need to expel mucus
- Cough that gets worse at night
- wheezing in the chest
- pain in the nose
- coughing up phlegm
- mucous discharge
- runny nose, nasal congestion
- difficulty in nasal breathing
- pain in the nose
- mucous discharge
- decreased sense of smell
- wheezing in the chest
- coughing up phlegm
Postnasal discharge is often caused by allergies, such as the so-called “hay fever.” Postnasal discharge is most often caused by certain changes in the environment or the human body.
One of the most common causes of postnasal discharge is allergy. The seasonal allergies caused by pollen of plants in flowering can also cause the postnasal drip, since the body, for reaction, produces more mucus to eliminate or take away the spores of pollen. Even the cold or dry air may cause the post-nasal drip. Breathing cold or dry air can irritate the nose and throat; the body then tries to humidify and warm the respiratory tract with mucus production to relieve this irritation.
Cold is most often associated with viral infections, such as the flu, sinusitis, or the common cold. These infections cause many symptoms, including postnasal drip. The body reacts to germs that invade the body, producing more mucus that can capture and transport them away; it is an annoying reaction and a signal that the body is reacting to fight the disease.
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Other causes of postnasal discharge include:
- a diet based on foods that are too hot or spicy
- foreign objects in the nose
- irritating chemicals, such as perfumes, cleaning products, environmental fumes
- medicines, such as birth control pills or to regulate blood pressure
- chronic respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Also, the deviation of the septum, when the nasal septum (the “wall” that divides the nostrils) deviates or damage,d can slow down or make it more difficult to drain the mucus correctly. Most cases of postnasal drip resolve on their own. However, depending on the cause, complications can also emerge if not treated properly.
This condition was first described in 1794 by Frank. He called it “the pharyngeal form of chronic catarrh.” And in 1886, Dobell found out that postnasal catarrh can be acute and chronic, but this is not an independent pathology but a manifestation of other diseases. At that time, this condition was also called “American Qatar” since it was more common in America than in Europe. M. McKenzie and J. McDonald believed that the dry and dusty American climate was to blame. In 2005, the UK coined rhinosinusitis for this condition.
The postnasal syndrome often develops with vasomotor rhinitis, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, rhinitis caused by the pathology of the structure of the nasal cavity, rhinitis of pregnant women. The cause of postnasal flow syndrome can be Torvaldt’s bag – a cyst-like formation near the pharyngeal tonsil.
In any inflammatory process in the upper respiratory tract, the mucous discharge flows down the pharynx’s back into the laryngopharynx. Moreover, the effect of this depends on the position of the person’s body. So, when a person is in a horizontal state, the mucous discharge, flowing down, falls into the zones that stimulate coughing. And in an upright position, this does not happen. The mucus flows down, but the person reflexively swallows it. It almost does not get on the epiglottis, the receptors that stimulate the cough reflex do not irritate, and cough, respectively, does not cause.
Doctors often mistake this condition for chronic bronchitis. And to correctly diagnose and prescribe treatment, a thorough examination of the ENT organs is necessary. The diagnosis of “postnasal leakage syndrome” is made based on a physical examination, the patient’s characteristic complaints (drainage of secretions along the back of the pharynx), and the result of an x-ray examination.
Postnasal drip treatment
To get rid of the postnasal syndrome, it is necessary to cure the underlying disease. And there are many methods of treating diseases accompanied by postnasal flow syndrome. Steroid therapy (for allergic rhinitis) and long-term antibiotic therapy are often used. Sometimes surgical intervention is also necessary since there is a need to restore the nasal cavity’s normal anatomy and normalize the aerodynamics in it. This is necessary, for example, with a deviated nasal septum. If Thornwaldt’s bag is present, it is removed under the control of an endoscope.
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Prevention of postnasal syndrome consists in the prevention or, if already ill, timely post nasal drip treatment of the diseases that cause this syndrome. Allergy sufferers, depending on the cause of the allergy, need to follow the flowering calendar of plants, the presence of pets in the environment, nutrition, or cleanliness in the house. Those who catch a cold easily need to temper, take vitamins, in general, strengthen the body and, of course, dress warmer.
Also, if there are any defects in the structure of the nasal cavity, it is better to correct them so that in the future, due to these defects, postnasal flow syndrome does not develop.
Over-the-counter remedies, drugs, and medical devices
There are several remedies for the post nasal drip treatment:
Eliminate the mucus
Over-the-counter decongestant medications such as phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine can help clear mucus. However, these may work for many, but not everyone. These drugs can, in fact, eliminate mucus but also cause dryness and discomfort in the nose. Others experience nervousness or lightheadedness and thus avoid them due to these side effects.
Some new drugs, such as loratadine and cetirizine, called non-sedating antihistamines because they less frequently cause tiredness and sleepiness typical of previous generation antihistamines; they are perfect in those cases where the person is forced to work or drive while still suffering from the symptoms of postnasal discharge. Each of these drugs has side effects and can have contraindications when combined with other drug therapies.
Another home remedy for postnasal drip is to reduce the mucus. There are special over-the-counter medications, such as Guaifenesin, but there are also non-pharmaceutical solutions:
Humidify the air
Increasing ambient humidity can reduce postnasal drip and allow mucus to flow more easily through the airways. Therefore, using a humidifier or vaporizer can reduce post-nasal discharge, especially if congested sinuses accompany the discharge.
Use nasal sprays and irrigations (washes)
Nasal sprays and nasal irrigation ( nasal wash ) based on saline help remove and expel excess mucus. These systems clear the respiratory tract and reduce the presence of mucus in all upper respiratory tracts.
Raise your head during sleep
If mucus accumulation gets worse at night, you can find relief and, therefore, sleep better by lifting the head slightly above the body during rest.
Using a pair of pillows under the head and shoulders can help ease the drainage of mucus and reduce mucus’s feeling in the throat and airways.
Drink lots of fluids
Due to the nasal drip, the body loses a lot of fluids. Drinking plenty can help reduce mucus, make it easier to remove, and prevent dehydration. Hot tea and broth can relieve pain and other symptoms, such as a sore throat; moreover, the steam helps decongest the sinuses.
When to see your doctor: Post Nasal Drip Treatment
When yellow or green mucus is present that does not regress independently, you should see your doctor, as there may be a bacterial or viral infection in progress. Postnasal drip caused by a battery infection may require the use of antibiotics. Viral infections, on the other hand, cannot be cured with antibiotics.
Anyone with very strong or pungent odors, or other symptoms accompanied by a high fever, should consult their doctor to get a careful and correct diagnosis. The same is true for those who have suffered from postnasal discharge for 10 days or more. Doctors may request a further investigation to rule out other causes, such as acid reflux (gastroesophageal or laryngeal pharyngeal).
What are the causes of rhinosinusitis?
“We don’t know them all yet; certainly, the temperature change is a shock for our body and also for the nasal sinus environment. Several factors are known, but we do not yet have the complete picture regarding the diagnosis and treatment of rhinosinusitis, especially in the more complex forms. The picture is complicated because the nasus-sinus environment can be complicated both from an anatomical point of view and from the presence of important cofactors (such as spring, with the arrival of allergies, as well as the end of the summer period or the ‘pollution) favoring inflammation of the nose and paranasal sinuses ”.
When to see a doctor?
“Typically, the common cold passes on its own without the need for any therapy. However, it is important to make patients and family doctors aware of the repetition of symptoms over the course of the year and the years and the continuity of the symptoms themselves. Therefore, it is advisable to contact the specialist when the cold occurs with yellow mucus, when it recurs several times during the year or if it lasts for a long time, beyond 12 weeks.
Today, chronic rhinosinusitis and recurrent rhinosinusitis are considered more important diseases than in the past, also because they are related to other problems of our body: very frequently, rhinosinusitis is related to an inadequate immunological panel or pathologies of the lower respiratory tract; in fact, the link between upper and lower respiratory tract is vital, as is the link between chronic rhinosinusitis and asthma, on which the population needs to be sensitized ”, explained Dr. Malvezzi.
How is rhinosinusitis treated?: Post Nasal Drip Treatment
“If the rhinosinusitis is bacterial (and therefore we no longer have just a viral cold), antibiotic therapy is required, to which in some cases cortisone must be added. The communication between the nose and paranasal sinuses is, in fact, very close, here the mucosa becomes congested and swells, preventing the entry of air into the paranasal sinuses with a consequent impediment in the drainage of the mucus, and therefore, the anti-edema effect of cortisone helps to have a faster evolution towards healing ”.