Postnasal drip is extra mucus felt in the back of the nose and throat caused by the glands in these areas. People with postnasal drip usually feel they have to clear their throat more than normal. The excess mucus can also cause associated symptoms and discomforts. There are many home remedies to treat postnasal drip, though sometimes a visit to the doctor is necessary. Postnasal drip is when the sensation of mucus build-up at the back of the throat causes discomfort. The nose, throat, and sinuses are all constantly producing mucus. Mucus is a thick and slippery substance that helps to keep the airways from drying out throughout the day. The air people breathe is full of germs, pollen, and other environmental pollutants. When the air enters the body, these particles can create problems if they are not filtered out. It is the job of mucus to trap these foreign bodies and help eliminate them. Mucus usually goes unnoticed. It harmlessly mixes with saliva throughout the day and is swallowed or blown from the nose. However, if the body produces too much mucus, it becomes much more noticeable.
When this happens, a person may feel mucus dripping down the back of their throat. This is what is known as postnasal drip.
Signs & symptoms
Mucus dripping down the back of the throat
- sore or scratchy throat
- frequently clearing the throat
- excessive spitting up or swallowing mucus
- foul smell of breath
- a cough that gets worse at night
Allergies such as hay fever may trigger postnasal drip, as the body produces extra mucus to try and eliminate the pollen spores.
- Cold weather
- Dry air
- Infections like the flu, sinusitis and the common cold
- Eating overly spicy food
- Objects stuck in the nose
- Irritating chemicals from perfumes, cleaning products, or environmental fumes
- Medications, including oral contraceptives and antihypertensives
- Chronic respiratory conditions, such as COPD
- Deviated nasal septum, which occurs when the nasal septum
Postnasal drip (PND) is the drainage of secretions from the nose or paranasal sinuses into the pharynx. The exact pathophysiology is not known but hypersensitivity of immune reactive cells is believed to be a part of it. Nasal endoscopy revealing rhinitis and mucopurulent secretions is suggestive, although not diagnostic. The issues when attempting to diagnose PNDS, is that there are no objective sensitive or specific tests and no way to quantify the amount of mucus discharge.
Physical examination with a detailed history
Blood tests and skin tests to determine allergic reactions and immunity
There are remedies available to treat postnasal drip, including:
Decongestant medications such as phenylephrine (Sudafed PE Congestion) and pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) can help dry out the mucus.
Non-sedating antihistamines such as loratadine (Claritin) fexofenadine (Allegra) levocetirizine (Xyzal) and cetirizine (Zyrtec) are called, meaning they are less likely to cause fatigue.
Mucus thinning medications such as guaifenesin (Mucinex).
Using Saline nasal sprays or irrigation pots with warm salt water
Most postnasal drip is benign, but annoying. In most cases, it will get relieved on its own. Any additional symptoms alongside the postnasal drip should be examined well for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Complications from postnasal drip are minor in most of the cases and depend on the cause. However, left untreated, postnasal drip can lead to serious complications. In rare cases, postnasal drip is caused by nasopharyngeal cancers, complications being those related to spread of the cancer.
Disease & Ayurveda
Causative factors for the vitiation of Kapha and Vaata
Clear watery fluid discharge from nose
Excess at night time
Saadhya in new cases
Asaadhya in chronic & complicated cases
Lepanam with Rookshana dravyas
Nasyam – with choorna
Commonly used medicines
Dabur India Ltd
- Indoor herbal fumigation with guggulu, turmeric, neem, garlic etc
- Saline nasal sprays or drainage using a Neti pot
- Sleeping with the head slightly elevated can promote proper drainage.
- Staying hydrated by drinking warm or hot liquid
- To be avoided
Heavy meals and difficult-to-digest foods – cause indigestion.
Junk foods- cause disturbance in digestion and reduces the bioavailability of the medicine
Carbonated drinks – makes the stomach more acidic and disturbed digestion
Refrigerated and frozen foods – causes weak and sluggish digestion by weakening Agni (digestive fire)
Milk and milk products – increase kapha, cause obstruction in channels and obesity
Curd – causes vidaaha and thereby many other diseases
- To be added
Light meals and easily digestible foods
Green gram, soups, honey
Freshly cooked and warm food processed with cumin seeds, ginger, black pepper, ajwain etc
Protect yourself from cold climate.
Better to avoid exposure to excessive sunlight wind rain or dust.
Maintain a regular food and sleep schedule.
Avoid holding or forcing the urges like urine, faeces, cough, sneeze etc.
Avoid sedentary lifestyle.
Yoga and regular exercises are helpful to improve immunity & to maintain proper metabolism and water-electrolyte balance. So, in postnasal drip, regular stretching and mild cardio exercises are advised. Also, specific yogacharya including naadisuddhi pranayama, bhujangaasana, pavanamuktasana is recommended.
Regular exercise helps improve bioavailability of the medicine and food ingested and leads to positive health.
Yoga can maintain harmony within the body and with the surrounding system.
Simple exercises for lungs and heart health
All the exercises and physical exertions must be decided and done under the supervision of a medical expert only.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, United States. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please consult your GP before the intake.
Dr. Rajesh Nair, the co-founder and chief consultant of Ayurvedaforall.Com, is a graduate of prestigious Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda College (affiliated with the University of Calicut), Kerala, India. Additionally, he holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy from Annamalai University.
Dr. Nair offers consultation at two busy clinics in and around Haripad, Alleppey, Kerala, the southern state famous worldwide for authentic ayurvedic treatment and physicians. While offering consultation on all aspects of ayurvedic treatments Dr. Nair has a special interest in Panchkarma, Yoga, and Massage.
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