Jane Emanuel, M.D. Otolaryngologist
Your nose has to put out mucus, if it doesn’t then it’s dry, and the normal nose puts out a quarter of mucus a day. A lot of mucus keeps everything moist and healthy. Normally, we just swallow that mucus and we don’t even notice it’s there.
What causes us to notice the drainage?
If you have a cold, or allergies, and your nose is putting out more mucus, you are going to have the sensation of drainage or drip. One of the other reasons we see people a lot is if the drainage has changed and it’s thicker, so you have more of a sensation that something is there. People that are on a water pill, a diuretic, a lot of the blood pressure meds will make mucus thicker, and a lot of the over the counter antihistamines, so a lot of the time those are the culprits even though you think you’re treating it.
How is the throat affected?
If you do have one of those things happening, meaning there’s more drainage either from allergies or virus, etc., the throat a lot of times gets sore right along with the nose, so that gives you the sense of irritation.
Is this a serious condition?
Usually not to serious, but depending on if it’s a short term thing, the same way you would with a cold, wait and see if it goes away., If it’s something persistent and more of a chronic problem, we really need to see people to see if it really is related to your meds or there may be more serious things like chronic sinus disease going on.
Are there ways to prevent post-nasal drip?
Moisture, which is drink more, get a humidifier going, and saline, salt water nose washes and salt water nose spray. All those things help hydrate your nose. They thin the mucus, rather than dry it up and that’s going to make you more comfortable.
Nasal drainage down the throat is a normal, healthy process that often goes unnoticed. Dr. Jane Emanuel, Board Certified Otolaryngologist at the Boys Town Ear, Nose & Throat Institute, explains when post-nasal drip becomes a problem, how the throat is affected and how to prevent it from occuring.