Post Nasal Drip

Post nasal drip symptoms and info to help with coughing and excessive phlegm in the back of the throat

post nasal drip symptoms - info on excessive phlegm & coughing

Select a Topic

  1. What is Post Nasal Drip?
  2. What Causes Post Nasal Drip?
  3. Diagnosing Post Nasal Drip
  4. How to Stop Post Nasal Drip
  5. More Information on Post Nasal Drip

What is Post Nasal Drip?

Post nasal drip (PND) is a condition in which an excessive amount of mucus accumulates in the back of the throat or nose and produces a feeling of mucus running down the throat, often resulting in a post nasal drip cough due to phlegm in the throat.

What Causes Post Nasal Drip?

It may occur as a result of colds, flu, sinusitis, rhinitis, hay fever, allergies, laryngopharyngeal acid reflux or throat disorders. Certain factors such as inhaling irritants (smog, perfume, dust or smoke), living in a dry environment, dairy products, coffee, alcohol and excessive use of nasal sprays may also contribute to post nasal drip. Also, post nasal drip has been known to be worse upon waking in the morning as gravity causes the mucous to drain down into the throat and lower respiratory passages whilst you are lying asleep.

This condition tends to be very uncomfortable, and if left untreated can lead to an ear or sinus infection, sore throat, upper respiratory infection as well as halitosis.

More common causes of post nasal drip

  • pregnancy
  • anxiety
  • stress
  • high blood pressure
  • menopause
  • sinus infection

Post Nasal Drip Cough

Since the mucus accumulates in the back of the throat, one of the main symptoms of post nasal drip is constant coughing. This cough can worsen with the mucus causing foods listed above and become quite irritating to you and the people around you. Along with foods worsening the cough, you may find you are being kept up at night by post nasal drip coughing. Drinking large amounts of clear liquids (especially water) can help to quell post nasal cough.

Diagnosing Post Nasal Drip

The diagnosis of a post nasal drip is based on your symptoms, a thorough examination of your ears, nose and throat as well as a review of your medical history. Your doctor will want to know if you are experiencing allergy symptoms and will therefore ask you a range of questions.

If you have symptoms of an infection, the type of mucus in your nose will help to determine the cause of the post nasal drip. Certain tests such as x-rays and CT scans may also be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

The symptoms and signs of post nasal drip include:

  • Constant Coughing & Throat Clearing
  • Phlegm
  • Upset Stomach, Stomach Ache or Pain
  • Itchy Throat, Sore Throat or Tickling in the Throat
  • Breathing Problems & Difficulties or Shortness of Breath
  • Swollen Glands
  • Blood in Mucus
  • Chest Pain
  • Hot Flashes
  • Nausea & Vomiting
  • Aches & Pains
  • Bloating
  • Cramps & Body Aches
  • Dizziness
  • Exhaustion
  • Face Tension
  • Itchy Chest
  • Loss of Voice
  • Runny Nose
  • Swallowing Constantly
  • Feeling of Mucus In The Back of the Throat
  • Bad Breath or Halitosis

Post Nasal Drip in Children

Children can also  suffer with post nasal drip. The symptoms that surround post nasal drip including sore throat, persistent cough, phlegm and upset stomach can affect children just like they do an adult. The problem is, young children can’t tell you when something hurts.

Relieving a child of post nasal drip symptoms may include taking them to your bathroom and using it as a steam room to reduce congestion. Also, using a nose syringe can help to rid the nasal passages of excess mucus to ensure the mucus doesn’t drain into the throat and cause more difficulties.

For children, you will need to keep them away from irritants such as cigarette smoke, perfumes, and aerosol sprays. Also, placing a humidifier in your child’s room can help them to get a full night’s sleep without constant coughing. Alternatively, older children may be able to tell you what is ailing them and you will find solace in knowing you are helping them to feel better.

How to Stop Post Nasal Drip

The treatment of post nasal drip generally depends on the cause and its severity to treat symptoms and achieve reduction in coughing up phlegm. Your doctor will recommend that you wash or irrigate your nasal passages with a saline solution to soothe sinus cavities and nasal lining – do this a few times throughout the day. Drink plenty of water during the day to prevent mucus from thickening and avoid irritants such as pollen, cigarette smoke, perfume, pollution and animal dander.

Medications that may be commonly prescribed include nasal sprays, antihistamines, decongestants, anti-allergy drugs and nasal steroids. If you have developed an infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. In cases where medications do not relieve symptoms, surgery may be required to drain the sinuses properly.

Help for Post Nasal Drip during Pregnancy or while Breastfeeding

Pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding may find it hard to come up with safe solutions for common ailments such as post nasal drip. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure feeling better and not causing harm to your baby. Steam from a hot shower can definitely help expectant or new mothers.

You should not be taking a shower during this time due to potential burning of the skin; however, you should be sitting in the bathroom with the doors closed while it steams up. Turn your shower on as hot as the temperature can go, and turn off any fans that may be in the bathroom, feel the effects as the steam relieves your congestion. 

More Information on Post Nasal Drip

Post Nasal Drip Remedies

There are several things you can do to prevent or relieve the onset of a post nasal drip, including:

  • Always blow your nose regularly but gently to get rid of post nasal drainage
  • Inhale hot steam to decongest the airways
  • Use salted water to irrigate nostrils and wash away clogged feeling as well as bad breath
  • Apply a warm, moist cloth onto the face, over the nose and cheeks to loosen the thick phlegm that is stuck in the passageways
  • Drink lots of water and juice to help clear the mucus
  • Reduce your intake of wheat and processed foods that stimulate the production of mucus
  • Increase your intake of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamins A and C, zinc and iron
  • Be sure to get plenty of rest
  • Drink comfrey tea to control the body’s production of histamine
  • Reduce stress by practicing deep breathing exercises, meditation and having regular massage
  • Avoid irritants such as pollen, dust, mold, certain foods and animal dander that may cause allergies and as a result aggravate nasal problems
  • Use a humidifier in your bedroom to moisten the air and open nasal passages


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