Postnasal drip is one of those health problems that can be filed under habitable conditions, but completely annoying. After all, swallowing regularly, clearing your throat, and even choking on mucus in the back of your throat isn’t exactly what dreams are made of.
You have probably dealt with postnasal drip to varying degrees throughout your life. But while you can probably identify the symptoms as soon as it increases, you may have some questions about what exactly is happening in your throat. Below, the doctors explain everything you need to know, including how to stop the postnasal drip as soon as possible.
Postnasal drip begins in the paranasal sinuses, which are air-filled cavities located below the bony base of the cheeks, behind the forehead and eyebrows, on either side of the bridge of the nose and behind the nose directly in front of the brain, according to American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI)
Her breasts are covered with a thin layer of mucus, which clings to dust, germs, and anything else that may be floating in the air, explains the ACAAI. Small hair-like projections on the sinuses help move the mucus (and anything that hangs on it) to the back of the throat. From there, it slides down and into the stomach.
Postnasal drip is actually a continuous process that is normal body function, he says. George Scangas, MD, a sinus surgeon at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and an instructor in otorhinolaryngology – head and neck surgery at Harvard Medical School. “The average person produces about a quarter of mucus in the nose, sinuses and mouth per day, and we all swallow that mucus,” he says. “While everyone has a small degree of postnasal drainage, we don’t all feel it.”
But postnasal drip may be more noticeable when it produces more mucus than normal, such as when allergies flare up, Do you have a Cold or fluor are you dealing with a Sinus infectionsays Purvi Parikh, MD, an allergist with Allergy and Asthma Network.
Although postnasal drip occurs all the time, you may experience other symptoms when it is more noticeable than usual, Dr. Parikh says. These include:
You also likely have symptoms of any conditions that are causing your postnasal drip in the first place, says Dr. Scangas. “If it’s an overproduction of the nose and sinuses, you’ll see that the symptoms get worse when allergies get worse, when your eyes itch more, and when your nose is more stuffy,” he says. “On the other hand, with chronic sinusitis, it’s often a more constant postnasal drip. This may present with increased sinus pressure, decreased odorand nasal congestion. “
However, if you don’t have any nasal symptoms with your postnasal drip, it could be more of an acid reflux problem, says Dr. Scangas. This occurs when the end of the esophagus does not close as it should, allowing the contents of your stomach to escape and cause irritation, often in the form of acidity.
It really depends on what is causing it, says Dr. Scangas. “The best way to make it go away is to try to differentiate what underlying causes are at the root of the problem, and then treat acid reflux, chronic sinusitis, or allergic rhinitis,” he says.
While the timeline may vary, if your postnasal drip is caused by allergies—Which usually is – can last “as long as there is continuous exposure to pollen,” he says Aaron Clark, DO, a family medicine physician at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. For colds, it’s usually seen in seven to 10 days, he says.
Technically, this is not something you want to stop altogether, since postnasal drip helps flush the sinuses. But, if it’s particularly intense, there are a few things you can do to lighten the flow:
“Identify what triggers it and treat the trigger,” says Dr. Parikh. So if it’s seasonal allergies, visit an allergist and find out what’s causing your symptoms and the best course of treatment. If you suspect you have a sinus infection, talk to your doctor to ensure a proper diagnosis.
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If allergies are the problem, nasal steroids like Flonase or Nasacort and long-acting antihistamines like Allegra, Claritin, Zyrtecor Xyzal can help, says Dr. Parikh. If you think reflux may be a problem, consider trying over-the-counter stomach acid reducers, such as INCH or Pepcid, when heartburn breaks out.
If you suspect acid reflux as the problem, Dr. Scangas also recommends doing everything you can to avoid spicy foods (or other food triggers like coffee, tomato-based sauces, or chocolate), eat at least two or three hours before bedtime. and sleeps with his head elevated.
However, if these changes don’t help or over-the-counter medications don’t offer relief, talk to your doctor, who can offer you prescription medications if you have a severe form of reflux, known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Postnasal drip begins in the sinuses and cleanses them with a sinus rinse It can help alleviate the attack, says Dr. Parikh.
If you’re tempted to use a decongestant, keep this in mind: They can cause a rebound effect and make your underlying problem and postnasal drip worse if you use them for more than three to five days. “I generally don’t recommend them,” says Dr. Parikh.
Bottom line: If you’ve tried the tips above and still seem to be dealing with a severe postnasal drip, Dr. Parikh says it’s a good idea to go to your doctor. They should be able to do an evaluation and recommend a personalized treatment plan for you.
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