What is Postnasal Drip?
Postnasal Drip; It is the occurrence of clear or inflamed fluid discharge from the nasal cavity, which connects the nasal cavity and the oral cavity, to the back of the oral cavity (nasopharynx) and towards the larynx due to various reasons.
Depending on the discharge, various levels of inflammation may develop or tissue deterioration may occur in anatomical regions such as the nasal cavity, nasal cavity, oral cavity and larynx.
Even if postnasal drip often develops due to simple upper respiratory tract infections; Some important health problems may also occur with postnasal drip.
What Causes Postnasal Drip?
It is possible to list many different factors among the causes of postnasal drip. The most common of these causes is allergic reactions, also known as allergic postnasal drip.
Another of the most common causes of postnasal drip can be defined as a deviated septum. Because in this case, the cartilage wall (septum) of the individual suffering from the disorder is displaced and begins to bend in a certain direction.
As a result, the area that has the capacity to pass through the nostrils shrinks, preventing mucus drainage. Thus, the symptoms of post-nasal drip appear.
Other causes of postnasal drip can be listed as follows:
- Cold weather,
- Sudden weather changes,
- Bacterial sinus infections,
- Humid air,
- Viral infections,
- Spicy foods,
- Blood pressure medications,
- Birth control pills,
- Cleaning products.
What are The Symptoms of Postnasal Drip?
The complaint of postnasal drip is seen together with other symptoms depending on various underlying diseases.
Excess secretion may drain through the nasal passages and may also cause a runny nose.
The high amount of secretion in the nasal cavity also negatively affects respiration and causes nasal congestion.
The postnasal drip goes to the larynx, causing irritation and inflammation, causing coughing.
In particular, inflammatory postnasal drip causes inflammatory reactions in the back of the oral cavity, pharynx and larynx, and therefore causes sore throat.
Feeling of Swelling in the Throat:
Just like in sore throat, the inflammatory reaction that occurs results in swelling in the tissues and enlargement of the lymph nodes.
Especially in cases of postnasal drip caused by reasons such as sinusitis, the nasal secretion accumulated can cause headache by causing tension in the sinus walls.
Postnasal drip can irritate the pharynx and larynx and cause nausea.
The secretions that flow to the back of the oral cavity and pharynx on the nasal cavity can become inflamed and cause bad breath.
Middle Ear Inflammation:
Since the middle ear cavity is connected to the nasal cavity via the Eustachian tube, the postnasal drip may reach the middle ear through this path and inflame it. As a result, complaints such as hearing loss, ear pain, tinnitus, and muffled hearing develop.
Who Gets Postnasal Drip Usually?
Postnasal drip is usually;
- In individuals who do not take enough fluids,
- It is seen in those who work in very dusty and dirty environments.
What are the Types of Postnasal Drip?
Types of postnasal drip are conditions that usually change depending on the disease. The causes of postnasal drip may be due to diseases such as flu and cold, or it may be caused by different reasons.
Coronavirus and Postnasal Drip
Postnasal drip is a result that is among the symptoms in people who have coronavirus. This situation may continue during the illness and may cause more discomfort after a while.
What is Chronic Postnasal Drip?
The cause of chronic postnasal drip may not be known exactly. Various tests need to be done in detail to find the cause of chronic postnasal drip. In this case, it is necessary to first see an otolaryngologist.
What is Allergic Postnasal Drip?
It is a situation that increases especially with seasonal transitions. Seasonal changes can increase nasal discharge.
What is Postnasal Drip in Babies?
Although postnasal drip in babies is related to flu and cold, it can sometimes show that they are allergic. Some foods can cause postnasal drip in babies, or breast milk can sometimes cause this condition.
How to Diagnose Postnasal Drip?
If you have one or more of the symptoms of post-nasal drip, you should not delay your examinations and consult a specialist doctor soon. During the interview, your doctor may ask some questions by first listening to your complaints. In this way, you can get detailed information about the active problem and your general health status. Then, routine ear, nose and throat examinations are performed with the help of a number of special devices. Thus, all signs of possible diseases can be clearly identified. Postnasal drip is a disease that can be easily detected during examination. However, additional diagnostic tests may be used due to additional diseases such as sinusitis and ear infection that can be seen with postnasal discharge. Thanks to the diagnosis made using appropriate methods, the most accurate treatment approach can be planned.
How to Prevent Postnasal Drip?
One of the ways to prevent post-nasal drip is to drink plenty of water, at least 2-2.5 liters of water should be drunk daily. Avoid smoking and avoid dusty-smoky, air-polluted environments. It is helpful for patients to use saline sprays or solutions in their noses. Here, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of washing the nose once again.
Those with allergic rhinitis should take precautions to reduce contact with allergens. Allergy treatments can be used periodically under the control of a doctor. On the other hand, if the main diseases that cause deterioration in the nasal mucosa and its functioning are determined, in this case, it is not necessary to take precautions anymore, but to start their treatment.
What is the Treatment of Postnasal Drip?
The most important point in the elimination of postnasal drip is the correct diagnosis of the main cause of postnasal drip. Accordingly, a detailed history of the patient should be questioned by a specialist physician and a detailed physical examination should be performed. At the end of these evaluations, additional imaging and laboratory tests may be required if the physician deems it necessary. Based on the data obtained in the light of all these, the diagnosis is finalized and the appropriate treatment is planned.
If postnasal drip is caused by upper respiratory tract infections, symptomatic treatments are preferred since it often develops due to viral factors. Anti-inflammatory drugs and nasal sprays may be prescribed to relieve inflammation of the nasal mucosa and reduce mucous secretion. Antiviral treatments can be used against some viral agents such as influenza.
Antibiotic treatment is often required in cases of bacterial infections such as sinusitis. Although drug therapy is tried first in the treatment of postnasal drip due to anatomical problems; Often, anatomical problems may need to be resolved by surgical methods. In addition to avoiding allergen factors, appropriate antihistamine and anti-inflammatory drugs are used in postnasal drip due to allergies.
Apart from these, there are various applications and measures that can be done at home in the elimination of nasal discharge:
- Nasal wash solutions containing saline or ocean water can be used frequently during the day.
- Consumption of very spicy foods should be avoided.
- Harmful habits such as smoking should be stopped.
- It is beneficial to keep the ambient air warm and humidify it frequently.
- Drinking plenty of fluids and taking hot drinks such as soup and tea in case of postnasal drip help in eliminating the complaint.
- When lying down in case of post-nasal drip, supporting the head upright or using double pillows is effective in increasing sleep quality and preventing the spread of postnasal drip to the surrounding tissues.
- In order to eliminate the reflux complaint that can be confused with postnasal drip, it is useful to pay attention to eating habits, to lose weight and to use drugs that regulate stomach acid when necessary.