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Chronic Post-Nasal Drip

Chronic Post-Nasal Drip

Chronic post-nasal drip can be a very annoying condition and can lead to serious health complications. This article is all about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of this problem.
Gaurav Shimpi
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
Mucus production in appropriate quantity is actually good for our health. It is a self defense mechanism applied by the body to prevent the attack of viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. Mucus also helps in keeping the nasal passage clean and free from any foreign particles. The problem sets in when the mucus production is in excess, which leads to a dripping sensation of cough in the throat. The nasal glands are responsible for producing excessive mucus. Recurring mucus production in excess quantity leads to chronic post-nasal drip. When mucus production is in normal quantity, we swallow it unconsciously. But when it is in excess, it gets stuck or drips in the throat, causing irritation.
Causes
Generally, this condition is caused due to common cold, viral influenza, or allergens like dust, pollen, mold, and bacteria. Post-nasal drip caused due to these factors can be cured in a short time, but there can be other conditions related to recurrent production of excessive mucus.
  • Nasal Septum Deviation:
    Septum divides the nose into two nostrils. It is the bony cartilage lying centrally inside the nose. When the top of the cartilaginous ridge of the septum deviates or gets deformed, either to the left or right, it causes obstruction to one of the two nasal passages. This abnormal condition can obstruct the flow in sinuses.
  • Sinus Infections:
    Sinus infection causes an inflammation of the nasal membranes and sinuses. It also causes severe breathing difficulties. Major cause of this infection are allergies caused due to small scales from animal skins or bird feathers.
  • Allergies:
    People who are allergic to pollens derived from trees, grasses, or weeds are affected with hay fever. Sometimes, this might be a reason too for this condition. Hay fever may lead to headaches and frequent nasal congestion. It generally affects people in the winter season.
  • Pregnancy:
    There is an increased blood flow in the body during pregnancy, so the blood vessels of the nasal membranes may get inflamed due to increase in blood flow. Birth control pills can also be an issue, as they lead to elevated levels of estrogen in the body.
  • Medicines:
    You must find out the exact medication that is causing this condition and substitute it with some other appropriate medicine.
Symptoms
It causes a sensation of mucus or cough dripping through the back of the throat. It causes nasal congestion, chronic sore throat, bad breath, persistent cough, nausea, vomiting, constant spitting, and swallowing. In severe cases, there is also difficulty in breathing and there is presence of yellow or white tonsil stones. The condition is so frustrating and irritating that you want to get rid of the mucus as soon as possible.
Treatment
In case of chronic nasal congestion, you must seek medical help immediately, as it can lead to further complications. The key for getting relief is finding the right cause for the recurrent occurrence of the disease. Knowing the cause will help in appropriate and effective treatment. To uncover the exact cause, the doctor will suggest appropriate diagnosis. Doctor will usually prescribe medications to reduce the severity of the symptoms. He/she may prescribe antihistamines, which prevent histamines that causes allergic symptoms, like sneezing, itching, and a runny nose. A decongestant spray can also be used to relieve the stuffiness by opening up the nasal passage. These decongestants are known to provide quick relief. In cases the infection is bacterial, antibiotic medicines, along with decongestant, can be used for effective treatment. If deviated septum is the cause, then surgery may be advised to correct it. Apart from this, avoiding contact with allergens and irritants can prove effective too. All the medicines should only be taken under medical supervision, as they may lead to fatal side effects.
Apart from this, increasing the intake of fluids will also help. Also avoid dairy products, alcohol, and caffeine. Eating a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly will also help in the long run. If the condition is left untreated, it can lead to severe sinus and upper respiratory infections. So, in case of recurring occurrences of post-nasal drip, seek medical help immediately.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.