Post-nasal drip due to allergies, which is also called allergic rhinitis, is commonplace and affects more than 60 million people in the United States. Coming close behind is chronic nonallergic rhinitis, which affects up to 30 million people, and it occurs for a number of reasons, from age to hormones.
Cecil Yeung, MD, and Marcus Hershey, MD here at Houston Sinus Surgery have a singular goal when it comes to post-nasal drip — help our patients find relief from this bothersome issue. As part of this effort, we believe that education is key. In better understanding where the problem stems from, it can help us find the appropriate remedy.
With that in mind, here’s a look at how your hormones may influence post-nasal drip.
Hormones and rhinitis
The first point we’d like to make is that medical researchers have yet to identify the exact link between hormonal changes and rhinitis. That said, we do recognize that a link exists.
Another point to consider is that hormone-induced rhinitis is considered nonallergic, which may be a misnomer. Researchers believe that the post-nasal drip that develops on the heels of hormonal changes is, in fact, an allergic reaction, but this one is to your own hormones.
The hormones in question are largely your sex hormones. For example, as women progress through life, they can encounter wild swings in their sex hormones, especially during pregnancy and as they pass through menopause.
It’s these women who often develop post-nasal drip during these hormone changes. In fact, even during a woman's regular menstrual cycles, she can become hyperreactive to histamines when her estrogen peaks, which can lead to post-nasal drip.
The reason behind this is that your sex hormones not only control reproduction, but they also influence your immune system to a large degree by triggering your inflammatory processes.
Treating hormone-induced rhinitis
When it comes to treating post-nasal drip brought on by hormonal changes, we typically use the same techniques that we apply to those who suffer from allergic rhinitis. Since we’re unable to control the hormonal changes in your body, our goal is to manage the symptoms as best we can.
In some cases, over-the-counter medications can do the trick, but if your post-nasal drip is severe, we may turn to more aggressive medications, such as steroids, to address the inflammation that’s causing the excess mucus production.
If you’re struggling with post-nasal drip, we can give you a thorough examination and see if hormones may be playing a role. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Houston Sinus Surgery today.