Post-Nasal Drip 101

iStock-1207135394_small.jpgPost-Nasal Drip. You've probably heard the term before, most likely from a vague listing of symptoms in a medical commercial of some sort. What exactly is Post-Nasal Drip? Do you have it? How do you treat it? Let's take a look...

Causes and Symptoms

Put simply, Post-Nasal Drip is the feeling of excess mucus going down the back of your throat. Most of the time, we don't even realize that this happens because our bodies are constantly producing mucus for a variety of reasons. With that said, there are circumstances that communicate to your body to produce more mucus than normal, which is what creates the sensation of Post-Nasal Drip.

A variety of things can trigger the increased production of mucus, including cold weather, smoke, allergens (both seasonal and environmental), deviated septum, colds, viruses, bacterial infections (including strep throat and sinus infections), spicy foods, food allergies (particularly dairy), pregnancy, and some medications.

Like many issues of the ears, nose, and throat, the symptoms associated with Post-Nasal Drip are also associated with other illnesses, but the most common symptoms are a constant feeling like you need to clear your throat, cough, sore throat, headaches, and nausea. If these symptoms are accompanied by fever, wheezing, or strong-smelling mucus, you may have a bacterial infection or other issues that would require help from a medical professional. 

Relieving Post-Nasal Drip

The best way to get rid of Post-Nasal Drip is to treat the underlying cause, which may require you to see a doctor. For short-term relief, there are some things you can do at home to help, including...

  • Nasal sprays (saline & medicated)
  • Nasal Irrigation (see Dr. Ashford's Video)
  • Drink Water
  • Mucinex
  • Decongestants and Antihistamines (note - overuse can make it worse)
  • Steam showers
  • Humidifiers
  • Changing Air Filters
  • Elevating your head while sleeping

As stated earlier, if your symptoms worsen or if you experience fever, wheezing, or strong-smelling mucus, you need to see a doctor. If you're in the Athens/North GA Area, Ashford Clinic can help! Give us a call today.