How Do You Get Rid of Postnasal Drip?

Reviewed on 2/23/2021

What Is Postnasal Drip?

Postnasal drip is a symptom of many different conditions; treatment of the underlying condition may resolve it, such as with viral respiratory infections. Tissue malformations, hormonal imbalances and other causes may make your case of post-nasal drip trickier to treat.
Postnasal drip is a symptom of many different conditions; treatment of the underlying condition may resolve it, such as with viral respiratory infections. Tissue malformations, hormonal imbalances and other causes may make your case of post-nasal drip trickier to treat.

Postnasal drip (also called upper airway cough syndrome, or UACS) is a condition that occurs when excess mucus accumulates in the back of the nose and drips down the back of the throat.

What Are Symptoms of Postnasal Drip?

Symptoms of postnasal drip include: 

  • Feeling of mucus draining into the throat
  • Feeing of wanting to clear the throat
  • Frequent swallowing
  • Raspy or gurgling speech
  • Sore irritated throat
  • Feeling a lump in the throat
  • Cough that is often worse at night

What Causes Postnasal Drip?

Causes of postnasal drip include: 

  • Allergies
  • Viral infections such as colds, the flu, or COVID-19
  • Bacterial infections
  • Sinusitis
  • Vasomotor rhinitis (overly sensitive nose)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)
  • Airborne irritants such as dust or pollution
  • Swallowing disorders (such as an esophageal motility disorder)
  • Side effects of medications (including birth control pills and high blood pressure medications)
  • Age
  • Irregular nose cartilage that can cause increased mucus production
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain foods or spices
  • Cold temperatures
  • Hormonal changes
  • Dryness in heated spaces, such as during winter
  • Something stuck in the nose (in small children)

QUESTION

Allergies can best be described as: See Answer

How Is Postnasal Drip Diagnosed?

Postnasal drip is diagnosed with a patient history and an ear, nose, and throat exam, and tests to help determine the cause, such as:

What Is the Treatment for Postnasal Drip?

Treatment to get rid of postnasal drip depends on the cause. 

Treatment for postnasal drip caused by infections includes: 

Treatment for postnasal drip caused by allergies includes:

Treatment for postnasal drip caused by gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) includes:

Treatment for postnasal drip that allows mucus secretions to pass more easily includes:

  • Drinking more water
  • Eliminating caffeine
  • Avoiding diuretics 
  • Mucous-thinning drugs 
  • Saline nasal irrigations 
  • Nonprescription saline nasal spray (Ocean, Ayr) to moisten the nose

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

From WebMD Logo

Reviewed on 2/23/2021
References
https://www.uptodate.com/contents/treatment-of-subacute-and-chronic-cough-in-adults?search=upper%20airway%20cough%20syndrome&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~45&usage_type=default&display_rank=1#H4

https://www.enthealth.org/conditions/post-nasal-drip/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/treatments-for-post-nasal-drip