Post Nasal Drip

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

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  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, producing a feeling of mucus running down the throat. This accumulation of mucus and phlegm in the throat can often result in what is known as a post nasal drip cough.

What Causes Post Nasal Drip?

Post nasal drip may occur as a result of colds, flu, sinusitis, rhinitis, hay fever, allergies, laryngopharyngeal acid reflux or throat disorders. Certain factors may also contribute to post nasal drip, such as inhaling smog, perfume, dust, smoke or other irritants, living in a dry environment or consumption of dairy products, coffee or alcohol. Excessive use of nasal sprays may also contribute to post nasal drip, although other products, such as Mucus-Clear™, may help alleviate the condition.

Post nasal drip has been known to be at its worst when waking up in the morning. This is because gravity causes the mucous to drain down into the throat and lower respiratory passages while you are lying down in sleep.

Not only does post nasal drip tend to be very uncomfortable, but it can lead to more serious conditions if left untreated. Untreated post nasal drip may result in a sore throat, halitosis or infections in the ear, sinus or upper respiratory tract.

Additional common causes of post nasal drip

Post Nasal Drip Cough

Because mucus accumulates in the back of the throat, one of the main symptoms of post nasal drip is constant coughing. Dairy, coffee, alcohol and other mucus-causing foods and beverages can worsen the cough, resulting in extreme irritation to both yourself and those around you.  

Post nasal drip coughing can become severe enough to keep you awake at night, impacting the duration and quality of your sleep. Drinking large amounts of water and other clear liquids may help to quell post nasal drip cough, as may aiming to reduce the amount of mucus with products such as Mucus-Clear™.

Diagnosing Post Nasal Drip

Diagnosing post nasal drip generally consists of three steps: an analysis of your symptoms, a thorough examination of your ears, nose and throat, and areview of your medical history. Doctors also ask a range of questions to determine if your symptoms may be related to allergies.

If an infection is present, the type of mucus in the nose area can help determine the cause of the post nasal drip. X-rays, CT scans and other tests may also be performed to confirm the post nasal drip 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

Post nasal drip is not limited to adults, as children can suffer from the condition as well. Children’s symptoms of post nasal drip may also be the same as adult symptoms, with issues that include sore throat, persistent cough, phlegm and upset stomach. The main difference between an adult with post nasal drip and a child with post nasal drip is the fact that younger children can’t always express or explain their symptoms.

Alleviating post nasal drip symptoms in children can include transforming the bathroom into a steam room by running hot water and closing the doors. This can help relieve a child’s congestion. A nose syringe can also be used to help rid the child’s nasal passages of excess mucus. Removing excess mucus can help ensure the mucus doesn’t drain into the child’s throat and cause more difficulties.

Keeping children away from cigarette smoke, perfumes, aerosol sprays and other irritants can help. Placing a humidifier in your child’s room can help reduce the constant coughing that disrupts a full night’s sleep.  Children may also find relief with products such as Mucus-Clear™. Children 12 and older can take the same amount as adults, while children under the age of 12 can take half the amount suggested for adults.

How to Stop Post Nasal Drip

Treatment of post nasal drip generally depends on its cause and severity. The aim of a post nasal drip treatment plan is to alleviate symptoms and reduce the amount of coughing and phlegm.  Doctors may recommend washing or irrigating nasal passages with a saline solution several times a day to soothe sinus cavities and the nasal lining.

Drinking plenty of water during the day can help stop post nasal drip by preventing mucus from thickening. You’ll also want to avoid pollen, cigarette smoke, perfume, pollution, animal dander and other irritants. Natural products like Mucus-Clear™ may provide relief from post nasal drip. Additional medications that may be prescribed are nasal sprays, antihistamines, decongestants, anti-allergy drugs and nasal steroids. Antibiotics may be prescribed in cases where an infection has developed. If medications do not relieve symptoms, surgery may be recommended to properly drain the sinuses.

Help for Post Nasal Drip during Pregnancy or while Breastfeeding

Pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding want to talk to their doctor before using any type of medication or natural products. They may try creating a steam room in the bathroom to alleviate congestion. While sitting outside the tub or shower stall, close the bathroom doors and turn on the hot water until the room steams up, then allow the steam to loosen and relieve 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. These include:

  • Regularly yet gently blowing your nose to eliminate post nasal drainage
  • Inhaling hot steam to decongest the airways
  • Using salt water to irrigate nostrils, alleviate the clogged-up feeling and eliminate bad breath
  • Applying a warm, moist cloth onto the face, placing it over the nose and cheeks to loosen the thick phlegm  inside the passageways
  • Drinking lots of water and juice to help clear the mucus
  • Reducing your intake of wheat and processed foods that stimulate the production of mucus
  • Increasing your intake of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamins A and C, zinc and iron
  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Drinking comfrey tea to control the body’s production of histamine
  • Reducing stress with deep breathing exercises, meditation and regular massages
  • Avoiding irritants such as pollen, dust, mold, certain foods and animal dander that may cause allergies and, as a result, aggravate nasal problems
  • Using a humidifier in your bedroom to moisten the air and open nasal passages
  • Using products such as Mucus-Clearand Mucus-Clear™ Nighttime to relieve the symptoms of post nasal drip
The content provided is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have a health condition, please consult a medical professional and do not use this information to self-diagnose or self-treat.
Reviewed by Master Herbalist, Mary Ellen Kosanke


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