Post Nasal Drip (PND) is the sensation of mucus accumulation in the back of the throat. We all have mucus throughout our nose and throat passageways. It is usually swallowed unconsciously, but abnormally sensing it quite bothersome. There is usually a good explanation for it. Glands in your nose and throat continually produce mucus. Mucus moistens and cleans the nasal membranes, humidifies air, traps and clears inhaled foreign matter, and fights infection. This sensation can be caused by excessively thick secretions or by throat muscle and swallowing disorders.
Post Nasal Drip is caused by either thick or thin secretions. These can be caused by illnesses such as colds and flu, allergies, chronic sinus inflammation or environmental issues such as cold temperatures in the winter, dryness in heated buildings and homes, bright lights, certain foods/spices, pregnancy, and various drugs and other hormonal changes. Nasal structural abnormalities, such as a deviated septum can also produce increased secretions. If the secretions become thick, and turn green or yellow, it is likely that a bacterial sinus infection is developing. In children, persistent dripping from one side of the nose can mean that something is stuck in the nose such as a bean, wadded paper, or piece of toy.
Post-nasal drip often leads to a chronic sore, irritated throat. Although there is usually no infection, the tonsils and other tissues in the throat may swell. This can cause discomfort or a feeling that there is a lump in the throat. Successful treatment of the post-nasal drip will usually clear up these throat symptoms.
In New Jersey, doctors see sinusitis as one of the main causes of a post nasal drip. The sinuses are air filled pockets in the skull beneath the eye. These can become infected due to swelling that occurs with a cold or flu. This will generally lead to post nasal drip. If the infection persists thena condition known as chronic sinusitis may develop, with swelling of tissue in the nose and sinus membranes. If this occurs, it is advisable to see a doctor for medical treatment, which may include the use of antibiotics In New Jersey, doctors have seen environmental allergies as a source of chronic sinusitis. We can diagnose chronic by using fiber-optic scopes, cat scans, or X-rays.
General measures that allow mucus secretions to pass more easily may be recommended when it is not possible to determine the cause. Mucous-thinning agents such as guaifenesin (Humibid®, Robitussin®) may also thin secretions. Nasal irrigations may alleviate thickened secretions. Many people, especially older persons, need more fluids to thin out secretions. Drinking more water, eliminating caffeine, and avoiding diuretics (medications that increase urination) will help.