Nose is the first entrance that the air passes on its way to your lungs. Glands lining the inside of nose walls produces mucus. This mucus functions as a humidifier for the air you breathe and as a trap for the bacteria, virus and foreign objects trying to pass through your nose. The mucus is produced in reasonable amounts, it warms and clears the air and then moves towards your throat through the posterior openings of the nose. Because there is only little amount of the mucus produced every day you swallow it when it reaches the throat without even recognizing your swallowing.
When you have cold the production of mucus will dramatically increase and the extra mucus usually will come out of the nostrils.
A less common condition is when the extra mucus chooses to go backwards and drip on the back of your throat then swallowed. This is called Postnasal drip and
it is caused by many reasons:
1. Common cold, flu or other infections.
3. Allergic Rhinitis
4. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Symptoms and Complications
o Chronic cough, especially at night.
o Wheezing sound heard during exhaling
o Frequent swallowing trying to swallow the mucus that is stuck on the back of your throat, which may causing discomfort due to an excessive air in the stomach,
o Rhinorrhea. This is a symptom of the condition causing postnasal drip.
o Repetitive clearing of throat and snorting in attempt to get rid of the mucus. Also frequent spitting is a very common symptom.
o Feeling that something is stuck on the back of your throat caused by mucus dripping at the back of the throat.
o Changing in your voice, you sound like your nose is blocked! Because your nose IS blocked!
o Frequent sore throat: Because in this condition your throat is in direct contact with mucus filled with bacteria.
o Bad breath (Halitosis)
o Small yellowish white masses formed on the tonsils (tonsilloliths);
What to expect when you visit your doctor?
The doctor will try to figure out what is causing your post-nasal drip. The doctor will ask questions about your symptoms then examin your nose, throat and ears. Your doctor will inquire about allergy and infection. In some cases, X-rays or even CT scans may be ordered to determine the cause of the postnasal drip.
The treatment depends on the cause.
- Infection: Is most likely caused by a virus in this case antibiotics are not required. Doctor may prescribe decongestants and pain relievers. When bacterial infection is the cause the doctor will most likely prescribe antibiotics. Usually if the produced mucus is clear the infection is viral, if the mucus is green the cause of infection could be bacterial.
- Allergies: Antihistamines can be used to help with symptoms. Avoiding substances that produce your allergy is very important.
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