Do you know that Postnasal Drip is a common condition that affects when you have a sore throat or a sinus infection?
Postnasal Drip is a common occurrence and affects almost anyone at some point in life.
Moreover, the glands in your nose and throat continually produce mucus to fight off infections, moisten nasal membranes, and filter out foreign matter.
Most often you swallow the mucus without even realizing it.
When your body starts producing extra mucus, you might feel it accumulate in the back of your throat.
You may also feel it dripping down your throat from your nose.
This is a postnasal drip. Some of the common symptoms of Postnasal Drip are:
Feel that you need to constantly clear your throat or swallow, a cough that worsens at night, sore, scratchy throat, bad breath, and nausea from excess mucus.
Let’s discuss it in detail.
Symptoms of Postnasal Drip
If you have postnasal drip then you have a feeling that you need to clear your throat frequently.
Moreover, mucus contains immune-system molecules that can irritate the tissues and cause a sore throat, cough, and hoarseness.
You may also notice postnasal drip more obviously at night especially when lying down.
Some of the other symptoms are:
A sore or scratchy throat, feelings of nausea due to extra mucus, frequently clearing the throat, excessive spitting up or swallowing mucus, bad breath, and cough that may worsen at night.
Furthermore, you may also develop complications that can lead to other symptoms.
For instance, excess mucus can clog the Eustachian tube, the canals that connect the throat to the middle ear, or the sinus passages.
Painful infections can also develop.
Causes of Postnasal Drip
A number of conditions can cause postnatal drip and one of the common ones is Allergies.
If you get tested for allergies, you can better avoid your triggers or premedicate if you know that you will be exposed.
Another common cause of postnatal drip is deviated septum.
This means that the thin wall of cartilage between your nostrils or spetum is displaced or leans to one side.
Moreover, this makes one nasal passage smaller than the other cancan prevent proper mucus drainage, thus, resulting in postnatal drip.
Other causes of a postnatal drip are:
Cold temperatures, viral infection in the cold or flu, sinus infections, pregnancy, and dry air.
Furthermore, spicy foods, and using certain medications like that for blood pressure and birth control prescriptions can cause it.
However, in some cases, the problem causing postnasal drip is not the excessive mucus, but the inability of your throat to clear it.
Swallowing problems or gastric reflux can cause liquids to build up in your throat, which also feels like a postnasal drip.
Now, let’s discuss how you can treat postnasal drip.
Postnasal Drip: Home Remedies
It is possible to naturally reduce postnasal drip at home.
You can do:
Prop up your Head
Elevate your head to let the gravity drain the excess mucus from the nasal passages and avoid laying down while reading or watching television.
Moreover, at night, keep your head slightly elevated and you can do as by propping your pillow against your headboard or by stacking 2 pillows.
However, make sure to avoid placing your head too high as it can cause neck and shoulder pain.
Drinking a lot of fluids especially hot fluids can thin out the mucus and the thinner it is, the easier it can pass through the nasal cavities.
Drinking fluids also helps to moisten your nasal lining. Hot drinks like tea or broth are the best choice as the warmth of these beverages will thin your mucus.
While it is important to note that you should avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee or soda as it has a diuretic effect that may lead to dehydration.
Gargle Salt Water
In order to use this remedy, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of warm water. Gargle for as long as it feels comfortable and then spit it out.
Make sure to repeat this remedy twice a day.
Steam inhalation can also help to ease postnasal drip by thinning the mucus.
The steam will also moisten your nose and throat, thus helping the mucus to pass through.
You can also inhale steam during a hot shower or bath. Another option is to try steam inhalation therapy.
For this, pour hot water in a large heat-safe bowl, drape a towel over your head, hover your face 8 to 12 inches above the water and inhale deeply and slowly.
Other Home Remedies
Some of the other remedies you can try at home are:
A humidifier adds moisture to the air and can help to reduce mucus. This can be particularly helpful in soothing your nasal passage during the winter when indoor air is dry.
Make sure to regularly clean the humidifier, as harmful germs might grow inside of it.
A nasal rinse can loosen thick or excess mucus and is also known as sinus rinse, sinus flush, or nasal irrigation.
Certain products are also available at the drugstore for this purpose. Neti pots and squeeze bottles are common options.
Make sure to avoid using tap water as it may contain germs.
Instead, you can use distilled, sterile, or previously boiled and cooled water.
Avoid Alcohol and Cigarette Smoke
Avoid alcohol as it can lead to dehydration and even worsen postnasal drip.
This is important if your postnasal drip is due to GERD as alcohol can worsen the symptoms.
Moreover, you should avoid cigarette smoke including secondhand smoke can it can increase mucus secretion and irritate your nose and throat.
While you may find quitting smoking difficult, your doctor can help you build a quit smoking plan that works for you.
Home remedies for GERD symptoms are:
- avoid spicy foods
- limit the use of caffeine
- lose weight
- prop your head when you lay down
- smoking cessation.
Make sure to see a doctor if GERD is interfering with your quality of life.
Using Essential Oils for Postnasal Drip
Essential oils are concentrated liquids that come from the extraction of plants.
Moreover, you commonly use them for a number of ailments. Some oils like eucalyptus and peppermint il may offer relief from postnasal drip.
According to a review, eucalyptus oil contains 1,8-cineole and it can reduce mucus by controlling genes that take part in mucus production.
It has anti-inflammatory properties which may also soothe irritation.
Furthermore, peppermint oil contains menthol that can also help to improve the sensation of congestion and mucus buildup.
According to another study, inhaling menthol does not have true decongesting properties.
However, it has cooling effects that can help your nasal passages feel more open.
The best way to use essential oils for postnasal drip is through inhalation. This is a form of aromatherapy.
You can breathe in essential oil directly from the bottle, add a few drops to a tissue or cotton ball and then inhale.
Additionally, you can also add the essential oil to a diffuser, add several drops of diluted essential oil to a hot shower or bath, or add several drops of essential oil to a bowl of hot water for steam inhalation.
Over-the-Counter Medications for Postnasal Drip
In addition to using home remedies, you can also use certain over-the-counter treatments.
These remedies are available at the drug store or grocery store without a prescription.
Decongestants help to reduce production by making blood vessels smaller, however, avoid using them too often as it can worsen congestion.
Expectorants can help to reduce the viscosity or thickness of mucus and this makes it easier to cough out and clear your nasal passages.
Saline Nasal Sprays
Saline nasal sprays moisturize nasal passages, thus, making it earlier for mucus to drain.
Moreover, the spray can also clear out dust or pollen that may be causing irritation.
In case your postnasal drip is due to allergies, then using antihistamines can help. Moreover, they can also alleviate congestion, sneezing, and nasal swelling.
However, make sure to avoid sedating antihistamines as they can thicken the mucus even further. Thus, choose non-drowsy antihistamines that will not produce such an effect.
Postnasal Drips Remedies along with other Cold Symptoms
In case our postnasal drip is due to a cold, the above remedies can help you treat it.
Moreover, it is important to rest, hydrate, and eat healthy to help your body fight infections.
Some of the remedies are:
Remedies for Postnasal Drip and Cough
In case of cough and postnasal drip you can try:
- elevating your head
- drink fluids
- saltwater gargle
- use a humidifier
- avoid alcohol and cigarette smoke.
Home Remedies for Postnasal drip and Sore Throat
Moreover, in case of sore throat you can:
- Drink fluids
- avoid alcohol and cigarette smoke
- gargle with saltwater
- use a humidifier
Learn more about Sore Throat Remedies here.
Can you use Apple Cider Vinegar?
According to anecdotal evidence, apple cider vinegar can help with postnasal drip.
Some individuals breathe in AVC by sniffing the bottle while others drink diluted apple cider vinegar in tea or warm water.
The idea is that the strong odor and taste of it can loosen mucus.
However, there is no evidence that this method works.
Apple cider vinegar for postnasal drip has not been studied. Additionally, drinking apple vinegar can also damage your teeth, especially when you take it in undiluted form.
If you do want to use this remedy, do so with caution.
Visiting a Doctor
In case home remedies do not improve your postnasal drip, make sure to visit your doctor.
If you have:
- trouble swallowing
- bloody mucus
- chest pain
- smell mucus
These symptoms may indicate a more serious cause of postnasal drip.
In most cases, you can treat postnasal drip at home. You can elevate your head to drain excess mucus, gargle saltwater, inhale steam, use a humidifier, and drink warm liquids. These remedies will help to make the mucus thin and moisten your nasal passages.
However, you can use OTC remedies along with home remedies. Hut if your postnasal drip gets worsen or does not go away, you can seek medical help if you have a fever, difficulty swallowing, and bloody to smelly mucus.