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What is postnasal drip?

Mucus normally runs from the back of your nose down into your throat. Postnasal drip occurs when the secretion is thick or excessive, and it can be felt accumulating and dripping. The sensation can be unpleasant and may result in a chronic cough. Several different things can increase nasal secretions and cause postnasal drip including:
  • taking certain medications, such as birth control pills and blood pressure medicines
  • a structural abnormality such as a deviated septum
  • excessive dryness in heated buildings, especially in winter
  • allergies, including hay fever
  • viral infections including colds and flu
  • bacterial infections, such as sinus infections
  • hormonal changes, including those in pregnancy
  • eating spicy foods
  • swallowing problems
In addition to causing a chronic cough, postnasal drip can cause a sore throat and swelling in the tonsils and other tissues in the throat. Postnasal drip often improves after treating the underlying problem causing it, such as taking antibiotics to clear an infection and avoiding allergens.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.