Allergy, Nose & Sinus
Mucous in your throat or back of your nose? You may have postnasal drip!
February 10, 2020
Postnasal drip (PND) refers to the feeling of mucous (secretions) from the nose dripping from the back of the nose or accumulating in the throat. Many people are unaware that our nose and sinuses produces about 1-2 litres of mucous every day! Majority of the mucous flows down our throat seamlessly and we swallow most of it without being aware of its presence. However, when there is an overproduction of mucous or when the consistency of the mucous becomes thick, a person may then suffer from PND.
What causes Postnasal Drip?
Amongst the common causes of PND include:
1. Sensitive nose (Medically known as Rhinitis which can be Allergic or Non Allergic)
2. Sinusitis (infection of the sinuses)
3. Laryyngopharngeal reflux (Acid reflux from the stomach to your voicebox – this does not technically cause PND but can result in a similar feeling of something stuck in the throat, commonly mistaken as a “PND”)
5. Medications (e.g blood pressure and birth control medications)
Why bother about PND?
It is an irritating symptom that can cause irritation and inflammation of the voicebox. The voicebox is a very sensitive organ and once inflamed, it is prone to cause other symptoms like a feeling of something stuck in the throat (globus sensation), cough, sorethroat, frequent throat clearing and in some cases, hoarse voice.
As the nose and sinuses are the gateways to the lungs, constant dripping of unhealthy mucous from the nose can also cause inflammation of the lungs. Conditions such as sinusitis and Allergic Rhinitis have been shown to worsen Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD).
How do we treat PND?
The treatment of PND depends on the underlying cause. For more information on the treatment of specific causes, click on the following link:
- Sensitive nose – https://www.drganent.com/blog/sensitive-nose-rhinitis/
- Sinusitis – https://www.drganent.com/blog/sinus-and-sinusitis-what-is-the-difference/
- Laryngopharyngeal reflux – https://doctorxdentist.com/really-causes-sore-throat-eat-much-heaty-food/
Some other general measures that can be taken to reduce or eliminate PND include:
1. Ensure adequate hydration – Drink enough water throughout the day (recommendation is at least 8 glasses/day, however this is not evidence based)
2. Stop smoking and avoid second hand smoking
3. Use a nasal douche (this involves washing your nose with salt solutions to help clear the thick mucous and to promote self-cleansing function of the nose and sinuses)
4. Use a mucous thinner (e.g. guaifenesin)
If you are unsure, do visit a GP or an ENT Specialist for further assessment!