Do you feel like your throat is scratchy and you get the urge to clear it frequently? What you may be experiencing is called postnasal drip. Let’s find out more about it. 

The glands in your nose and throat continually produce mucus (a thick slippery fluid) that moistens and cleans your nasal lining and helps fight infection. Postnasal drip is a common condition in which you feel that the mucus is dripping at the back of your nose and throat. 

Due to various reasons, your body can make extra mucus which can trickle in the back of your throat and make you cough. Postnasal drip can be very unpleasant and may disrupt your daily life. It can lead to a chronic sore throat or cough. 

Here are some insights into postnasal drip and how to deal with it efficiently.

Causes of Postnasal Drip

Postnasal drip is usually caused by allergies, especially from food items with gluten and dairy. Other causes of a postnasal drip are:

  • Viral infections (like the common cold).

  • Allergies from dust and smoke.

  • Nasal septal deviation (change is the place of the thin wall between the nostrils).

  • Sinus infections (infection in the hollow spaces inside the skull).

  • Pregnancy.

  • Certain medications.

  • Dry and cold weather.

  • Spicy food.

  • Vasomotor rhinitis (overly sensitive nose).

  • Objects stuck inside the nose (common in children).

Postnasal drip can be easily managed at home. However, if your symptoms do not improve after some time, you may require to see a doctor. 

Home Remedies For Postnasal Drip

You can follow these home remedies to relieve your symptoms of postnasal drip.

  • Raise your head while lying down. Elevating your head helps in draining mucus from your nose with the help of gravity. You can put some pillows under your head while sleeping at night, for better sleep. This will keep the mucus from collecting at the back of your throat.

  • Avoid food or substances that may contain allergens. Certain allergens like gluten, dairy, smoke, or dust can irritate your body and stimulate more mucus production. Avoiding such triggers can make your nose feel better. 

  • Use air purifiers and humidifiers. Dirty and dry air can irritate your nose. Using an air purifier and humidifier reduces the risk of excessive mucus formation. These devices clean and add moisture to the air which is soothing for your nose, especially in winters.

  • Drink plenty of water. Keeping yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water helps to thin the mucus. Thin mucus is less uncomfortable and drains out easily. Try drinking warm water as it will clear out mucus gently.

  • Gargle with saltwater. Rinsing your mouth thoroughly with warm salt water reduces swelling and irritation in the back of your throat. Do it 2 to 3 times a day to feel better.

  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Beverages like alcohol and caffeine cause dehydration. This makes the mucus thick, which can make you uncomfortable. Avoiding such beverages can improve your postnasal drip.

  • Inhale steam. Inhaling hot vapours is very effective for managing postnasal drip. Steam helps in thinning the mucus, which can easily be coughed out. It also increases blood circulation, which boosts the healing process.

  • Clean your nose. Rinse your nasal passages to remove excess mucus from the nasal cavities. This could be done with the help of a squirt bottle or a Neti pot as they can loosen thick mucus.

Postnasal drip is usually treatable at home. However, if your postnasal drip worsens or does not go away, consult a doctor. If you have any additional symptoms like fever, difficulty in swallowing, or bloody or smelly mucus, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.