Postnasal Drip

What is postnasal drip?

Postnasal drip results from mucus from the nose slowly dripping toward the throat into the pharynx, the area at the back of the mouth.

What are the causes of postnasal drip?

The mucus is produced by the tissues inside the nasal passages. Large amounts of mucus are produced in response to an allergic reaction or due to an infection. This mucus either flows outward from the nose or inward toward the throat, resulting in postnasal drip. Some of the causes of mucus production include:

  • Allergic reaction (cat hairs, dust, pollen)
  • Nasal irritants (pepper, strong odors)
  • Infections (common colds, bacteria)

How can postnasal drip be treated and prevented?

In most cases, treatment is focused on alleviating symptoms such as pain and fever. Decongestants and mucolytics are also given; however, antibiotics are only given if cases are suspected to be bacterial in origin.

What are the complications of postnasal drip?

Postnasal drip irritates the throat. Some people have difficulty eating or have decrease appetite. Coughing is also an effort of the body to clear this mucus from the throat. Since the presence of mucus in the throat presents a hotbed for infection, postnasal drip may result in upper airway infections.

Can postnasal drip be prevented?

It is difficult to prevent postnasal drip. However, treating the cause of this symptom will remove the problem.

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