Post-nasal drip is an unpleasant symptom that feels as though mucus has accumulated in your throat or is dripping down from the back of your nose. It can be caused by a handful of issues, including the following:
If you have post-nasal drip, you may also experience other frustrating symptoms such as a sore or scratchy throat and coughing. You might also have trouble swallowing or develop an ear or sinus infection.
What causes post-nasal drip?
Post-nasal drip is defined as mucus that drips from the back of your nose into your throat. Mucus is continually produced by the body and is necessary for normal sinus function. It helps trap and clear out foreign particles including bacteria and viruses and protects the membranes within the nose. When it’s produced in normal amounts, mucus drips from the nose into the throat, where it’s easily swallowed. It’s only when a trigger sets off increased production of mucus or causes it to become too thick that the symptom known as post-nasal drip can emerge in a recognizable way.
Several issues can trigger an excess production of mucus or a mucus drainage problem leading to post-nasal drip. These include the following:
- Sinusitis – inflammation or swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses
- Common cold – a viral infection of the nose and throat
- Flu – a respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses
- Allergies – an abnormal immune system reaction to a foreign substance such as dust, pollen, or mildew; in response, the body produces histamines that cause symptoms such as a runny nose
- Environmental irritants – including smoke, chemicals, or perfumes
- Changing weather – including temperature changes, cold weather, or dry air
- Deviated septum – an abnormal placement of the wall that separates the two nostrils, which can cause issues with proper mucus drainage
- Spicy foods – consuming spicy foods can trigger the production of excess mucus
- Pregnancy – elevated estrogen levels can cause post-nasal drip
- Certain medications – including birth control pills and the long-term use of antihistamines and decongestants
What are the best ways to stop post-nasal drip?
Post-nasal drip can be extremely bothersome, but the good news is that there are numerous effective treatment options. In order to stop post-nasal drip, it’s important to determine the underlying cause of the condition.
Treatments for short-lasting symptoms
Short-lasting post-nasal drip symptoms may be caused by allergies, sinusitis, or viral infections and can often be improved through conservative treatments such as:
- Drinking lots of fluids
- Taking decongestants
- Taking antihistamines
- Using nasal sprays
- Taking antibiotics (for bacterial sinusitis)
An experienced Houston ENT will be able to accurately diagnose the cause of your post-nasal drip and determine the best treatment options based on your unique needs. However, if post-nasal drip is a long-lasting or chronic problem, it may be caused by an underlying condition or structural issue that needs to be fixed.
Procedures to address the root cause of post-nasal drip
If necessary, Dr. Yeung may recommend a procedure in order to fix the root cause of your post-nasal drip and provide long-term relief. Depending on your particular needs, he may recommend one of the following procedures:
- Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) – This surgery is performed using camera-guided imagery. It may be recommended for patients with structural issues such as a deviated septum or problematic sinus structure that makes them more likely to develop sinusitis and post-nasal drip. The procedure enlarges the drainage pathways of the sinuses so mucus can properly drain.
- Balloon Sinuplasty – This minimally invasive sinus procedure may be advised if blocked or narrow sinus openings are the underlying cause of mucus build-up and improper drainage that lead to post-nasal drip.
Looking to see a doctor for post-nasal drip treatment in Houston?
A mucus drip in the throat is not something that you have to suffer with. Numerous effective treatments are available to help manage your symptoms or stop post-nasal drip once and for all.
If you’re dealing with post-nasal drip and are looking for treatment in Houston, Dr. Yeung is here to help. Take the first step toward relief by filling out our appointment request form. Dr. Yeung will determine the root cause of your symptoms and develop a treatment plan to stop your post-nasal drip.