Post-Nasal Drip

How to Relieve Post-Nasal Drip

February 5, 2020

6 minutes

Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD

There’s knowing how to temporarily get rid of post-nasal drip, and then there’s knowing how to relieve post-nasal drip long-term. Depending on your body and what causes your post-nasal drip, what may work as a permanent solution for some people might do nothing for you. Perhaps the easiest way to discover which remedies work for you is to try a few at home, but if that doesn’t work, then what?  

Let’s discuss the different methods of how to relieve post-nasal drip, as well as treatment options that are meant to make long-term relief more likely. 

What is post-nasal drip? 

Before delving into how to relieve post-nasal drip, we should do a brief overview of what post-nasal drip is and the typical causes of post-nasal drip. 

At the heart of post-nasal drip is your body’s production of mucus. While even the mention of mucus can make some of us queasy, mucus is actually an extremely helpful element of our body’s preventative health system. Specifically, mucus lines certain cavities of the body—including your sinuses—as a means of catching and filtering out potentially harmful substances such as allergens, germs, etc. Mucus also helps keep these same systems lubricated. 

At the end of the day, your body needs away to get rid of old mucus and replace it with new mucus. It does so in two ways: out through your nose, and down the back of your throat. When your body is producing normal amounts of mucus, you don’t even realize this process is happening. (For more information on healthy sinus drainage, check out our article Where Does Sinus Drainage Go?)

However, certain things can trigger your body and tell it to produce more mucus. The sensation of this excess mucus going down the back of your throat is what we call post-nasal drip. 

Causes of post-nasal drip 

Post-nasal drip can be caused by many things. Keep in mind that your post-nasal drip might be caused by a combination of the following:

  • Allergens and seasonal allergies (pollen, mold, dust)
  • Smoke 
  • Issues swallowing (often caused by GERD)
  • Cold weather
  • Pregnancy 
  • Certain medications (including some contraceptives) 
  • Deviated septum
  • Food allergies, especially to dairy 
  • Eating spicy food 
  • Post-nasal drip during pregnancy
  • Strep throat
  • Rhinitis
  • Sinusitis 
  • Colds

In other words, post-nasal drip is rarely if ever the primary problem, but rather a symptom of an underlying issue. Because of this fact, post-nasal drip isn’t contagious in and of itself, but an illness that causes post-nasal drip very well might be. 

Symptoms of post-nasal drip 

The symptoms of post-nasal drip may share some attributes to the symptoms of the underlying condition. However, many patients who have post-nasal drip typically experience: 

If you experience post-nasal drip with wheezing, very strong-smelling mucus, a fever, your post-nasal drip may be caused a bacterial infection. Under these circumstances, it’s best to visit the doctor in order to receive antibiotic treatment. 

How long does post-nasal drip last? 

Dost post-nasal drip go away? Yes, thankfully, post-nasal drip almost always recedes when the underlying illness or issue has been treated or dealt with. However, if you have chronic conditions such as chronic sinusitis, chronic allergies, and GERD, you may also have chronic post-nasal drip and/or severe post-nasal drip

How to relieve post-nasal drip

By now, you’re likely thinking…  OK, so how do you get rid of post-nasal drip naturally? What dries up sinus drainage in the throat? How can I stop coughing from post-nasal drip at night?

The following is a list of potential home remedies for relieving the symptoms of post-nasal drip. However, do note that the best way to treat post-nasal drip is to treat its underlying cause. If you have a severe or long-term condition, these solutions may only provide you with short-term relief. 

  • Drink water (thins mucus)
  • Neti pots 
  • Decongestants and antihistamines (use with caution; overuse may thicken mucus) 
  • Mucinex (thins mucus) 
  • Medicated and saline nasal sprays 
  • Use a humidifier 
  • Take a steam shower 
  • Avoid allergens and smoke 
  • Sleep with your head elevated 
  • Change your air filters

In some cases, the key to how to relieve post-nasal drip lies within a more proactive approach.

For example, individuals whose post-nasal drip is caused by a deviated septum (which makes one nostril smaller than the other, constructing proper drainage) may want to ask their doctors about septoplasty for deviated septum repair. Patients whose post-nasal drip is caused by chronic or seasonal allergies may want to explore allergy testing.

That said, one treatment, in particular, can help relieve post-nasal drip caused by a deviated septum, allergies, and even sinusitis. This treatment, known as balloon sinuplasty, is an in-office, minimally invasive treatment that can provide patients with long-lasting post-nasal drip relief in less than 20. Unlike traditional sinus surgeries, balloon sinuplasty doesn’t require any cutting of bone or cartilage, and can now be performed with IV sedation if patients have anxiety surrounding medical procedures. 

Meet with a doctor who knows how to relieve post-nasal drip

Need to know how to relieve post-nasal drip? Kaplan Sinus Relief has you covered. When you meet with us, we can make recommendations based on your experiences and symptoms and help you find a treatment that really works.

If home remedies simply won’t cut it, not all is lost. Kaplan Sinus Relief is one of the top providers of balloon sinuplasty in the country. Dr. Michael Kaplan has spent years pioneering this procedure and teaching it to other ENTs across the country. 

Put post-nasal drip in the past. Contact Kaplan Sinus Relief online or call us at 713-766-1818 to set up an appointment today. 

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