What is postnasal drip?

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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.

Continue Learning about Nose Disorders

Nose Disorders

Nose Disorders

Your nose plays a very important part in maintaining your health. As you breathe it filters out the bad stuff in the air like dust and germs. It also moistens the air as you breathe so that your lungs stay hydrated and healthy. Yo...

u can be miserable if your nose is injured or irritated, whatever the cause. Nose disorders can range from a simple nosebleed or a runny nose that can be treated at home to more serious disorders such as nasal polyps (growths) or a deviated septum (a twist in the wall that separates the two sides of your nose) that may require surgery. Whatever the cause of your nose problem, it's important to know that you can usually be helped by seeing an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor.
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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.