The breathing channels start from the nose and end inside the lung. The breathing channels or “airways” are lined with cells that produce mucous in certain amount required to keep them lubricated. But when there is excess production of mucous, it drips at the back of the throat causing coughing and throat irritation, it is called Post nasal drip.
Post nasal drip is a symptom indicating presence of some illnesses.
Symptoms of post nasal drip
- Sensation of liquid trickling in the throat
- Tickling sensation in the throat or itchiness
- Frequent throat clearing
- Coughing (in an attempt to remove the mucous)
- Hoarseness of voice/ Raspy or gurgling voice.
- Sore throat
- Feeling of a lump in the throat
- Allergies are the commonest cause
- Deviated nasal septum (the soft bone called cartilage in the center of the nose becomes crooked).
- Cold and Flu
- Sinusitis (inflammation/infection of the sinuses).
- Bacterial infection
- Weather change, dry and cold air
- Chronic acid reflux in stomach
- Irritants in the air like dust, fumes
- Others (bright light, spicy food, pregnancy amongst others)
A detailed medical history and focused exam can help determine the triggers. In certain instances, nasal endoscopy is performed. Also some other investigation might be ordered by your physician to diagnose causes of post nasal drip.
Post nasal management is related in treating the cause. Some of the common cause’s treatment are:
Identify the factors causing allergies and avoid or minimize the exposure
Nasal steroid & decongestants (nasal sprays/ tablets)
- Deviated nasal septum
This is usually corrected surgically by ENT surgeon. This procedure is call Septoplasty.
- Infections/ Sinusitis
Nasal and oral decongestant in the form of nasal spray or oral tablets
Endoscopic sinus surgery
- Acid reflux
Taking antacid and acid blockers
Improving dietary habits.
Post nasal drip is not a life threatening condition but indeed affects the quality of life. This requires a visit to a physician, who can thoroughly assess the cause and provides you a relief from this irritating condition.