Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Post Nasal Drip: Causes, Harmful Effects, Treatments

Post Nasal Drip: Causes, Harmful Effects, Treatments

Post nasal drip is excess mucus build-up dripping in the throat and the nose’s back.

Causes

  • Blood pressure, birth control, nasal sprays and some other medications
  • Bright lights, cold temperatures
  • During winter, heated homes and buildings become dry. This dryness thickens the mucus.
  • Foreign particles blocking the nose, especially in children
  • Head injuries
  • Hormonal changes and pregnancy
  • Sinusitis and / or chronic rhinitis trigger post nasal drip. It may also occur because of allergies, asthma, colds, flu and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease.
  • Some spices and food items
  • Sometimes structural problems, such as abnormal nasal septum, cause the drip.

 

Harmful Effects

  • It may cause chronic cough or sore throat. The cough worsens at night.
  • Secretions may block the Eustachian tube connecting the ear and the nose, creating pain and infection in the ear.
  • The drip may block the sinus passages.
  • Runny and blocked nose
  • Bad breath (halitosis) and hoarseness
  • “Tickle” in the throat



 

Treatment

If you know what caused the drip, treatment is easier. First, try to find out the reason / factors for the drip. Consult your physician before administering any medicine. A thorough ENT examination may also be required.

You may need antibiotics to treat bacterial infections that may produce yellow or green mucus.

The drip caused by viral infections and sinusitis may be treated with decongestants and antihistamines. Although antihistamines reduce the level of mucus, some of these medications may make you sleepy.

Nasal sprays and steroid medications may be used for allergy- associated post nasal drip.

Since thick secretion creates discomfort, the mucus thinning is essential. Thin mucus will reduce chances of sinus and ear blockage. Drink lot of water and fluids to thin the mucus. Alternatively, try mucus-thinning medicines. You may use nasal irrigation or saline nasal sprays to drain out the excessive discharge and other irritating particles. Moisturize room air by switching on humidifier or vaporizer.  Try special HEPA air filters for your home.

You must contact a doctor if

  • the drip has foul order.
  • The drip is one-sided.
  • Mucus color is neither yellow nor white.
  • The drip is caused by head injury.
  • The drip lasts for over three weeks.
  • Children under three years of age are suffering from the drip for over ten days.
  • Fever accompanies the drip.

1 comment:

  1. I have yet to try nasodren as I am wary of making my pnd worse as my nose runs with clear water like fluid, which I have all winter for yrs.The cough can be horrendous! Sometimes it occurs in summer but not so much. Ive had steroid sprays, but I become immune to them after a while. Also I think in the long term they make it worse. I do steam inhaling and have a humidifier. Would nasodren work for me ?

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