We never notice mucus until its production becomes a problem. In fact, several glands in our body continue to produce mucus throughout the day as it serves a number of protective functions. However, in certain situations like a chronic infection, allergy or an anatomic defect, this mucus production can get out of hand and start becoming problematic.
1. Sinus Infection:
The lining of the sinus is responsible for the production of mucus. This lining is quite sensitive and easily inflamed. In the presence of an infection, this lining starts to produce mucus in increased quantities. It is also important to remember that the sinus is a good place for infections to thrive since it provides a moist and anaerobic environment. Now, this mucus can either get accumulated in the sinuses or if it has a large enough opening, drain into the throat. This is what happens most commonly.
This is the most common cause of the over production of mucus in the body. Our body can be allergic to literally anything under the sun. An allergy will be accompanied by one or more symptoms like a bout of sneezing, itchiness, redness, sweating, watering of the eyes and rashes on the body. This kind of reaction will also be short-lived in nature and although it might happen more than once, it will resolve as the allergen moves out of contact.
3. Anatomic abnormalities
Certain anatomic features like a deviated septum or a small sinus opening can predispose the person to develop frequent bouts of sinusitis. The problem here is not so much of a repeated infection as it is that of inability of clearing away of the produced mucus. Once this mucus accumulates in the sinuses, it allows for secondary infection to take place as well as a post nasal drip to develop.
The treatment involves a thorough examination by the ENT surgeon. The doctor may choose to an investigative endoscopy into the sinus, which will also help in clearing away the accumulated mucus.
Steaming and the use of nasal decongestants have been found to help patients. Long term use of anti allergic medication may also be prescribed, as well as instructions to try and avoid contact with the allergen as much as possible.
If the cause is determined to be due to an abnormal anatomic feature then a surgical correction may be necessary. The doctor may also choose to do an antibiotic sensitivity test and put the patient on a course of antibiotics to help fight the infection.
These surgeries are usually minor in nature and help to establish a natural balance between the rate of mucus production and the rate of clearance.
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