You feel a constant tickle at the back of your throat as excess mucus drains from your nose and sinuses. What starts off as an irritation can soon become more complicated as your throat becomes sore and you experience difficulty swallowing. Called post-nasal drip, this issue is typically a symptom of a problem in your upper respiratory tract.
The role of mucus
While mucus may have a “dirty” reputation, it’s certainly undeserved, because this bodily product plays a key role in safeguarding your health.
Your nose produces about 1-2 quarts of mucus per day, and its primary responsibilities include:
- Protecting the linings of your nose and sinuses
- Moistening the air you breathe
- Filtering the air you breathe by trapping dust and other irritants
- Fighting off infection
Like your skin, mucus is on the front lines when it comes to keeping foreign invaders out of your body.
Common contributors to post-nasal drip
Under normal circumstances, your nose and sinuses discreetly clear away mucus in small amounts as you swallow, and you generally don’t even notice the drainage. When your body produces excess mucus, however, the accumulation of fluids can become quite noticeable as you struggle to clear it from the back of your throat.
There are many reasons why your body may produce more mucus, including:
- Upper respiratory infections, such as colds or flus
- Structural issues, such as a deviated septum
- Cold temperatures
- Bright lights
- Vasomotor rhinitis, which is inflammation in the membranes in your nose
- Certain foods, such as spicy foods
- Certain medications
- Hormonal changes
As you can see from this list, there are a wide range of issues that can lead to post-nasal drip, which makes an accurate diagnosis important if you want to get relief.
Treating post-nasal drip
The first order of business when it comes to post-nasal drip is to identify the cause. Post-nasal drip is a symptom and usually not a primary issue, so diagnosing the underlying problem is the most important step.
Once we find the cause of your post-nasal drip, we tackle the underlying problem while also supplying you with remedies for this irritating symptom, such as decongestants, antihistamines, and nasal sprays.
As an example, if your post-nasal drip is due to seasonal allergies, we devise an allergy management plan that should prevent excess mucus from building up in the first place.
If your post-nasal drip is caused by a respiratory infection, such as a cold or flu, we can help you better manage the symptoms as your body fights off the infection. In these cases, post-nasal drip is simply a sign that your body is hard at work protecting your health.
If you have ongoing problems with post-nasal drip, we urge you to come see us so we can diagnose and treat the issue properly. To get started, book an appointment online or over the phone with Houston Sinus Surgery today.