Post-nasal Drip

What Is Post-nasal Drip

The glands in your nose produce mucus in order to fight infection, filter foreign substance, and moisten nasal membranes, and you swallow mucus without realizing it.  When excess mucus is produced, it accumulates in the throat you can feel it dripping down the throat from your nose, also known as Post-nasal Drip.  This is a common occurrence and describes the feeling mucus moving down the back of your throat, and it typically results in a cough because it can make swallowing difficult.  This condition can be attributed to a variety of reasons, the most common of which include the common cold, allergies, sinus infections, or airborne irritants.  

Signs Of Post-nasal Drip

The symptoms of Post-nasal Drip can almost make it feel like you have to constantly swallow or clear your throat.  Symptoms can also worsen in the evening or during cold weather.  Common symptoms of this condition are listed below:

  • Cough
  • The need to clear throat frequently
  • Excess mucus in the throat
  • Blocked or runny nose
  • Nausea from excess mucus entering the stomach
  • Bad breath
What Causes Post-nasal Drip

There are several causes of Post-nasal Drip, allergies being one of the most common ones.  Getting tested for allergies can help you better avoid triggers that may cause excess mucus production.  If you have a clogged nose or some form of sinusitis, the mucus will typically run down your throat to drain.  Alternatively, Post-nasal Drip can be attributed changes in humidity or temperature, which affects the thickness of mucus in the nose or throat.  Other causes are listed below:

  • Cold temperatures
  • Sinus infections
  • Viral infections (resulting in cold or flu)
  • Dry air
  • Certain medications (occasionally from birth control or blood pressure prescriptions)
  • Upper airway cough syndrome
  • Rhinitis

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • A saline nasal rinse can help moisten nasal passages and reduce the symptoms of Post-nasal Drip.  This home remedy is especially beneficial if allergens or irritants are causing excess mucus production.  You can use a Neti Pot or another vessel with a spout to effectively clear the sinuses.  Make sure that you are over a sink, your ear is parallel to the ground, and that you are breathing in an out of your mouth as the water enters one nostril.  Rinse each nostril with about 1 cup of saline solution (about 1 cup of water and 1/2 teaspoon non-iodized salt).
  • Just like when you have a cold or cough, staying hydrated is essential to help loosen and thin mucus.  Drinking plenty of water is the best choice for avoiding dehydration, but you can also drink a variety of caffeine-free herbal teas, especially if you are experiencing a cough or sore throat alongside the Post-nasal Drip.  It is ideal to avoid alcohol, caffeine, dairy products, and sugary drinks to avoid inflammation and increased mucus production.
  • Using steam to loosen mucus and clear nasal passages can be a great home remedy to alleviate symptoms of Post-nasal Drip.  If you don't have access to a steam room, you can make a facial tent by pouring boiling water into a bowl and adding a 3-5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil, for example.  Place your face about six inches above the bowl and drape a towel over your head and the bowl, tenting the aroma and steam to reduce congestion. 
  • Most people don't know that Post-nasal Drip can be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux, which occurs when acid from the stomach comes back up into the esophagus.  This can occasionally irritate the back of your throat and cause mucus production.  Try propping up the head of your bed about six inches above the ground to ensure that stomach acid does not flow back into the esophagus while you sleep, keeping Post-nasal Drip symptoms at bay. 
  • This can be hard to hear, but it is best to eliminate dairy products from your diet if you are suffering from Post-nasal Drip.  Yogurt, milk, cheese, and other dairy products increase mucus production, which is not ideal if you have this condition.  People who cut out dairy products reported that they produced less mucus than when they consumed dairy products.
  • Consider using a cool mist humidifier to increase moisture levels in the air.  Dry conditions can often worsen Post-nasal Drip symptoms, so experiment with establishing a more humid environment in your home or bedroom to see if your condition improves. 
Things you should eat
  • Water
  • Raw Honey
  • Ginger
  • Pineapple
  • Citrus fruits (mandarins, oranges, lemons, limes)
  • Berries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Bell Peppers
  • Leafy Greens (spinach, kale, chard, and collards)
  • Broccoli
  • Kiwi
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Garlic
  • Celery
  • Watercress
  • Parsley
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