Post nasal drip is a condition where thin, watery mucus discharge drips into the back of the throat from the nasal passages. The nose and throat glands produce mucus continuously to wash away dirt, fight infection, moisten the nasal passages and humidify the air. Most of the time, it is swallowed and goes unnoticed. When the mucus feels as though it accumulates in the throat or is dripping into the throat, it is called post nasal drip.
There are several causes of post nasal drip. The common cold is the primary cause of post nasal drip. The cold produces excess mucus, which fills nasal passages and drips into the throat.
Another cause of post nasal drip is sinusitis. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus cavities in the face, specifically near the nose and eyes. This inflammation may be caused by an infection of the sinuses.
An underlying mild allergy can cause the over production of mucus, which in turn may be to blame for post nasal drip. The allergy may be slight, in that it produces mucus with the absence of other symptoms. Many people suffer from allergy during certain times of the year, mostly to pollens, molds, or weeds. Year-round causes of allergies include mites, animal dander and moulds.
Post nasal drip can lead to a sore throat and swollen tonsils. Repeated use of drug medications may lead to swollen nasal passages. Over the counter medications to dry the sinuses only mask the problem and can make you drowsy.
One of the quickest and easiest ways to relieve the condition is to drink plenty of water. Water keeps the secretions thin and washes the mucus out of the throat. When the mucus is thin, it does not irritate the throat.
Another easy way to clear post nasal drip is by using nasal irrigation. This involves using a saline solution that is poured into the nasal passages to loosen the mucus. A similar and easier method is to use an over the counter saline nasal spray. The saline will thin mucus and keep membranes moist. This is especially helpful in the winter. The best thing about nasal irrigation and saline spray is that they are completely natural and therefore do not cause adverse effects.
If you suffer from chronic post nasal drip, changing your diet to exclude mucus-producing foods can improve the condition. The foods shown to cause mucus are dairy products, white flour, meat, eggs, potatoes, beans, rice, grains, fish, peanuts and fats.
You may want to reduce the intake of these foods instead of eliminating them completely from your diet. The body needs a certain amount of mucus for proper functioning.
There are other factors that can contribute to increased mucus production such as:
– eating large meals that inhibit proper digestion.
– eating when not hungry, which can cause partially digested food into the colon.
– gulping food (not chewing enough). This forces the stomach to pass larger food particles into the colon.
– eating an imbalanced diet.
Avoid these poor eating habits to prevent excess mucus production and therefore, reduce the likelihood of post nasal drip.