Postnasal drip (PND), is an abnormal sensation of mucus building up in the back of the throat or dripping down from the back of the nose. PND is usually from too much mucus being produced, or from problems with swallowing the secretions properly.
Glands that line the inside of your nose and sinuses naturally produce thin mucus. It is continuously pushed backwards towards the throat, where it is swallowed unconsciously. This thin layer of secretions is normal and has several important roles including: lubricating and cleaning the nose, humidifying inhaled air, trapping and clearing foreign debris, and fighting infections. Issues with post nasal drip can arise with abnormal secretions, that are more than the natural levels produced.
Abnormally increased thin secretions can be caused by many things including: colds or flu, nasal allergies, cold temperatures, bright lights, foods or spices, pregnancy or hormonal changes, birth control pills, blood pressure medications, or a deviated nasal septum. Vasomotor rhinitis is a non-allergic condition where the nose is irritated and congested; it can also be associated with increased thin abnormal postnasal drip.
Abnormally thick secretions can be caused by dry air in the house. They can also be associated with infections of the nose and sinuses, or certain food allergies. After a cold, thick green secretions can be a sign of a developing bacterial sinus infection.
Sometimes when thin secretions are abnormally decreased, a sensation of thick dry secretions can be felt. This can be caused by chronic exposure to irritants such as cigarette smoke, industrial pollution, and automobile exhaust. Another cause can be from turbulent airflow from a deviated nasal septum drying out the nose. The third cause can be advanced age, which is associated with thicker mucus that is more difficult to swallow.
Problems with swallowing normal or abnormal mucus secretions can be attributed to several things:
Appropriate post nasal drip treatment in Los Angeles depends on the cause of the problem. Accurate diagnosis is made with a thorough head and neck examination and possible lab, endoscopic, and imaging studies.
Bacterial infections of the nose and sinuses are treated with antibiotics. If the condition is not adequately addressed with the appropriate antibiotic course, there may be a chronic sinusitis that requires drainage.
The first step in addressing allergies is avoiding the causes as much as possible. The next step, symptomatic relief can be provided by various medications including decongestants, nasal steroid sprays, antihistamines. The third step, immunotherapy can be delivered via allergy shots or drops under the tongue. Each of these agents carries certain risks and benefits that must be discussed with your prescribing physician.
Elevating the head during sleep, avoiding late night meals, and curtailing alcohol, caffeine, dark chocolate, fatty foods, mint, spicy food, and citrus foods can be the first steps in addressing gastroesophageal reflux of acid. Medication options include antacids, and acid blockers.
Certain structural abnormalities can prevent smooth passage of air or proper ventilation of the sinus passageways. As a result, chronic inflammation and abnormal postnasal drip may ensue. Proper correction of the anatomic abnormality is done with the appropriate surgical procedure, including septoplasty, turbinate reduction, and endoscopic sinus surgery.
In cases without a specific cause of postnasal drip, treatment is focused on moistening and thinning the secretions so that they can go down the throat more easily. The first step is to drink adequate water (a common deficiency in elderly patients with dry throats). If possible, avoiding caffeine and diuretics can help maintain hydration. Medication options include guaifenesin and organic iodine that work by thinning the mucus.
Another way to thin secretions is to wash them down with nasal irrigation. These can be done one to six times daily. Warm water can be mixed with salt or baking soda. The salt mixture is generally ½ tablespoon for each pint of water. Alkalol is an effective over-the-counter irrigation solution as well. Also, over-the-counter nasal saline sprays such as Ocean,® Ayr,® and Nasal,® are very helpful.
Many patients who suffer from post nasal drip will complain about a chronic sore throat with discomfort and the sensation of a lump. Although repeated throat cultures in these cases usually do not show infections growing, the dripping secretions cause inflammation, swelling, and discomfort of the tonsils and throat tissues. Effective treatment will help with these throat symptoms.
For additional information on post nasal drip, you can refer to the articles below.
Causes and Symptoms of Postnasal Drip
Do you feel a tingling sensation running along the back of your throat? Chances are excess mucus is causing you to clear your throat more than normal. It can be caused by several factors. Depending on the severity, it can lead to a chronic sore throat, cough, or persistent throat clearing. We list potential causes, including:
Postnasal drip can be uncomfortable, but an ENT doctor in Los Angeles can help you to determine the root cause and the best remedies. A are several medical and home treatments that can help reduce the mucus.
Post nasal Drip: What You Need to Know
If you are prone to experiencing seasonal allergies each year, you may already be familiar with post nasal drips. Despite how many times you try it can feel impossible trying to rid yourself of it. The most important things to know are warning signs and when to seek treatment. While mucus is essential to keep our bodies functioning well, having too much of it can impact your health. Mucus can vary in color and strength to indicate when antibodies are fighting off germs. Read on to learn the reasons behind your post nasal drip and how it can impact you.
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