Postnasal drip: Introduction
Postnasal drip is a condition in which the sinuses produce excessive amounts of mucus. This excessive mucus accumulates in the back of the nose and drips into the throat. Postnasal drip is a symptom of a variety of conditions and diseases. Conditions and diseases that commonly cause postnasal drip include allergic rhinitis and sinusitis. Other causes of postnasal drip include non-allergic rhinitis, pregnancy, taking birth-control pills, laryngopharyngeal acid reflux, and esophageal motility disorders.
When sinusitis causes postnasal drip, an infection of the sinuses results in the development and discharge of extra mucus from the nose. This mucus can also run down the throat, causing symptoms of postnasal drip.
When postnasal drip is due to allergic rhinitis, allergens breathed into the nose trigger an allergic reaction. This leads to a release of chemicals, including histamine, which cause inflammation and the production of extra mucus. This mucus can also run down the throat causing symptoms of postnasal drip.
The severity and types of symptoms of postnasal drip vary between individuals. Typical symptoms of postnasal drip include a feeling of mucus in the back of the throat, sore throat, and coughing to clear the mucus. Complications include the development of a chronic sore throat and halitosis. To learn about additional symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of postnasal drip.
A diagnosis of postnasal drip begins by taking a thorough health history, including symptoms, and performing a physical examination that focuses on the nose, throat and sinuses.
If allergic rhinitis is the suspected cause of postnasal drip, allergy testing (skin patch testing) may be recommended. In a skin patch test, small amounts of common allergens are applied methodically to the skin to determine what substances are triggering an allergic response, leading to the allergic rhinitis and postnasal drip.
If sinusitis is the suspected cause of postnasal drip, diagnostic testing may include imaging tests, such as an X-ray or CT, which can confirm a diagnosis and reveal the severity of the condition.
Additional diagnostic testing may be performed for other suspected causes of postnasal drip.
It is possible that a diagnosis of the underlying cause of postnasal drip sinusitis can be missed or delayed because the symptoms can be mild enough that some people do not seek medical care. Symptoms of underlying diseases or conditions can also be similar to other diseases. For information on diseases and conditions with symptoms that mimic symptoms of other diseases, refer to misdiagnosis of postnasal drip.
Treatment of postnasal drip varies depending on the underlying cause, the severity of the condition, and other factors. Depending on the cause and severity, treatment may need to be administered by a specialist, such as an allergist or a gastroenterologist. Treatment may include nasal irrigations, medications, lifestyle changes, and surgery in some cases. For more information on treatments, refer to treatment of postnasal drip. ...more »
Postnasal drip: Draining of nasal secretions down the back of the throat.
More detailed information about the symptoms,
causes, and treatments of Postnasal drip is available below.
Postnasal drip: Symptoms
Symptoms of postnasal drip can vary in intensity, frequency, and duration among individuals. Symptoms can be minimal and include mild congestion of the nose or sinuses, a feeling of mucus or tickling in the back of the throat, clearing the throat, and a frequent need to spit.
Symptoms can also be more severe and include sore throat, coughing or snorting to clear the ...more symptoms »
Postnasal drip: Treatments
Treatment of post nasal drip varies depending on the underlying cause, the age and general health of the patient, the severity, and other factors. A common general treatment is gently irrigating the nose with a sterile saline solution.
When the underlying cause of post nasal drip is allergic rhinitis, treatment begins with the prevention of exposure to the ...more treatments »
Postnasal drip: Misdiagnosis
A diagnosis of the underlying cause of postnasal drip can be missed or delayed because in some people symptoms can be so mild or occur so infrequently that they do not seek medical care. In addition, the symptoms of underlying causes of postnasal drip can be similar to symptoms of other diseases and conditions. These include upper respiratory infection, influenza, tooth ache, tooth ...more misdiagnosis »
Symptoms of Postnasal drip
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Causes of Postnasal drip
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Misdiagnosis and Postnasal drip
Sinusitis is overdiagnosed: There is a tendency to give a diagnosis of sinusitis,
when the condition is really a harmless complication of another infection,
such as a common cold....read more »
Whooping cough often undiagnosed: Although most children in the Western world have been
immunized against whooping cough (also called "pertussis"), this protection wears
off after about 15 years.
Thus, any teen or adult with a...read more »
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Definitions of Postnasal drip:
Chronic secretion of mucus from the rear of the nasal cavity into the nasopharynx
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)
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