It’s a common diagnosis. It occurs when the nasal mucosa excessively produces mucus. The excess mucus accumulates in the back of the nose and, eventually, drains down the back of the throat. This can cause throat irritation or cough. There are several reasons why this may happen. These can include allergies, sinus infections, irritants in the air (such as fumes, dust, perfumes), viral infections (including the common cold). Some less common causes include pregnancy, some medications, certain weather conditions (especially cold air), and spicy foods. If your post-nasal drip lasts more than ten days or if the mucus is green or yellow or has blood in it, it’s time to see your doctor.
Your doctor will ask you a series of questions regarding your symptoms. An exam to evaluate your throat and nose will be performed using a small camera that is inserted into your nose to attain a view of your nasal cavity looking for any abnormalities which can cause post nasal drips like a sinus infection or nasal polyps. It may be recommended that you undergo allergy testing to see if allergies are the main cause of your symptoms.
There are several at-home remedies you may try to help alleviate post nasal drip.
- A humidifier or steam inhalation (as during a hot shower)
- Keeping well-hydrated (to keep the mucus thinner)
- Nasal irrigation (available over-the-counter)
- An oral decongestant, such as Sudafed
- An antihistamine, such as
- diphenhydramine, as in Benadryl
- loratadine, as in Claritin
- fexofenadine (Allegra)
- cetirizine (Zyrtec)