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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 »
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, ...more misdiagnosis »
The following medical conditions are some of the possible
causes of Postnasal drip.
There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor
about your symptoms.
Home medical tests possibly related to Postnasal drip:
Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Postnasal drip, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.
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.
Review further information on Postnasal drip Treatments.
Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Postnasal drip may include:
Symptom specific forums: The following patient stories in our interactive forums and message boards relate to Postnasal drip or relevant symptoms:
Various tests are used in the diagnosis of Postnasal drip. Some of these are listed below :
Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Postnasal drip may include these symptoms:
Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:
Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:
Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Postnasal drip:
During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Postnasal drip. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.
It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.
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Read more about causes and Postnasal drip deaths.
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...read more »
Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:
Chronic secretion of mucus from the rear of the nasal cavity into the nasopharynx
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)
The list of organs typically affected by Postnasal drip may include, but is not limited to:
The list below shows some of the causes of Postnasal drip mentioned in various sources:
This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Postnasal drip. Of the 41 causes of Postnasal drip that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:
The following list of conditions have 'Postnasal drip' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Postnasal drip or choose View All.
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Medical story forums: If you have a medical story then we want to hear it.
Depending on the seriousness of the onset of Postnasal drip, you may want to consult one of the following medical professionals.
Important:In extreme cases, always seek advice from emergency services :
Medical Conditions associated with Postnasal drip:
Throat symptoms (3410 causes), Nose symptoms (2080 causes), Head symptoms (10192 causes), Face symptoms (8109 causes), Mucus symptoms (766 causes), Mouth symptoms (6864 causes), Respiratory symptoms (5166 causes), Mucus membrane symptoms (832 causes), Breathing symptoms (3381 causes), Breath symptoms (3023 causes)
Symptoms related to Postnasal drip:
Runny nose (754 causes), Blocked nose (712 causes), Stuffy nose (106 causes), Throat symptoms (3410 causes), Cold-like symptoms (712 causes), Common cold (712 causes), Allergies, Hay fever (16 causes), Mold allergies, Pet allergies, Reflux, Heartburn (163 causes), Sinusitis (319 causes), Chronic sinusitis (28 causes)
Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:
These general medical articles may be of interest:
Medical research papers related to Postnasal drip include:
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