Everything You Need To Know About Post-Nasal Drip

Unsplash - CC0 License


Every day, glands in your throat, stomach, nose, and intestinal tract create mucus, a thick wet substance, designed to provide lubrication and fend off invaders.

This is a collaborative post

Most of the time, it works perfectly, keeping you feeling comfortable, moistening sensitive areas, and destroying bacterial invaders before they can cause damage. 

Unfortunately, when you have a post-nasal drip, the system doesn’t work as well. Mucus trickles down the back of your throat, causing irritation. 

Why Post Nasal Drip Occurs

The nasal cavity produces around a quart of mucus every day to keep itself moist and lubricated. The substance helps to capture bacteria as they travel through the air before they can reach the lungs and, potentially, cause damage. 

Most of the time, the excess mucus the nasal cavity produces drips harmlessly into the throat and you swallow it. Quantities tend to be small, so you don’t usually notice them. 

However, when the body starts producing more mucus than normal, or it’s thicker than before, that’s when trouble can start. When this runs down the back of the throat, it is called post-nasal drip. 

What Causes Post-Nasal Drip?

Post-nasal drip can result from all sorts of conditions and diseases. Many people experience it after colds, flu, and seasonal allergies. These all cause mucus production to rise significantly. 

Changing weather and temperatures can also trigger an episode. If your throat hurts when waking up, it could be the result of breathing in really dry air. 

Fumes from chemical products, smoke, and perfumes can also result in post-nasal drip. These encourage the body to increase its mucus production to protect itself, leading to symptoms. 

For some people, post-nasal drip and gastrointestinal esophageal reflux disease (GERD) occur at the same time. Excess mucus production irritates the throat from above, while stomach acid damages it from below. In many cases, GERD can feel like post-nasal drip (so-called “silent GERD”). 

How Do You Feel If You Have Post-Nasal Drip

Unsplash - CC0 License

People with post-nasal drip have a constant urge to clear their throat which can get worse at night. It can also lead to a cough that won’t go away, even after many weeks of coughing and spluttering. 

In some cases, when the post-nasal drip is more severe, it can lead to hoarseness. This happens when the throat becomes sore and itchy from continual coughing, spluttering, and throat-clearing. 

For most patients, excessive mucus production is not a problem. However, it can cause secondary infections in some, such as sinusitis. Ear infections are also a risk if mucus blocks Eustachian tubes at the back of the throat. 

 Is There A Way To Treat Post Nasal Drip?

The treatment for post-nasal drip depends on the underlying cause. If the problem is a genuine bacterial infection, doctors may prescribe antibiotics. However, they will only do this sparingly, waiting to see whether the body’s immune system clears up the problem by itself. 

If it’s a viral infection, they may not prescribe any medicines at all. They will often tell you to just go home and wait it out. If you have sinusitis, they may provide a nasal spray to reduce inflammation.

For some people, post-nasal drip is the result of allergies. In these cases, you may need to use corticosteroid sprays long-term. You can also take antihistamines to reduce inflammation. Please be aware that some of these drugs can cause extreme drowsiness that makes it hard to work or concentrate on conversations. 

You can also try thinning your mucus. The best way to do this is to drink more water. This makes it less sticky over time. 

What About Chicken Soup?

People have been using chicken soup as a remedy for post-nasal drip for many centuries. It’s unlikely that the chicken component is the beneficial element though. More likely, it is the steam from the hot soup that clears the airways and makes people feel fresher, relieving them of their stuffy noses. The heat from the soup may also thin out the mucus, similar to drugs that your doctor might prescribe. 

Because of this, there may be other ways to leverage the power of steam. For instance, taking a hot shower might help. You can also try propping up your pillows at night so that mucus doesn’t collect in the back of your throat


Post-nasal drip is rarely a serious complication. However, it can be uncomfortable and lead to a chronic cough and throat clearing. To avoid post-nasal drip, steer clear of allergens, wash your hands to avoid infection, prop your head up on your pillow at night, and drink plenty of water.


Popular Posts