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Post-Nasal Drip

July 15, 2019

 

It seems rare to see many patients for whatever they come in with as a chief complaint who do not also say they “have post-nasal drip”.

It would not be a stretch to wonder if it is a normal symptom of aging, but we believe it should have a proper assessment.

Firstly, it needs to be clarified as a symptom: does this mean there is a “sensation in the throat? Do you hear something in the throat? Do you feel phlegm?  Is it a sense of throat clearing? Is it not something you can feel at all, but a medical provider saw mucus?

We believe post-nasal drip is a feeling, described by the patient, of mucus in the throat. Meaning, the mucus may be seen or unseen: it is a symptom and not a sign (ie not the name of the sight of mucus in the throat by an examiner).

Secondly, it should be looked for. Sometimes, the mucus is not there at all during the medical visit, or there really is no mucus and it is a sensation of mucus alone (without mucus physically present). If it is seen, the color and consistency often play a role in what diagnoses underlie the symptom.

Thirdly, there are many diagnoses that can relate to mucus.  Allergies, rhinitis, sinus problems, and yes acid reflux all come to mind. The last one seems so strange to many, but is very often the cause. (c.f. https://www.hudsonent.com/single-post/2017/10/11/Why-Do-I-Clear-My-Throat-and-Cough)

Perfect treatment of any kind would be complete eradication, but sometimes patients are quite happy when it can at least be tamed in some way. To that end, allergy treatments, nasal medicine, sinus treatments (e.g. sinuplasty), acid reflux medicines or diet can all help and they depend on your specific diagnosis. Sometimes, we see patients with ALL of these diagnoses at once!

Lately, there is a new procedure where, for thirty seconds per side, liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the nerve that controls much of the mucus production. The statistics on success are very good across nearly all diagnoses, and this is typically a one-time procedure done here in the office by Dr. Michael Kortbus. (c.f. https://www.hudsonent.com/single-post/2018/12/14/Office-based-minimal-procedures-for-the-nose-and-sinuses)

Do you or someone you know have post- nasal drip? Allergy problems? Do you carry a box of tissues or one in the sleeve? Give us a call at 845-758-1456.

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