What is Post Nasal Drip?

Post Nasal Drip TreatmentIn an abbreviated form, Post Nasal Drip is also called PND. Post Nasal Drip is a condition where the nasal mucosa (mucous lining in the nasal cavity) releases access mucous, which if not expelled accumulates in the back of the nose or throat. The presence of mucus in abundance causes a feeling of dripping down the back of the throat, congestion in the throat, itching of the throat, coughing, and a constant need to clear the throat.

Nasal mucosa releases mucus to keep nasal cavities moist to trap foreign particles like dust, pollen and any other foreign matter. When foreign particles are not filtered through the nose and enters into the respiratory system they can cause severe respiratory problems. Mucus assists in combating such respiratory problems but when excess nasal mucosa is released it is called Post Nasal Drip or Upper Airway Cough Syndrome.

The accumulation of mucus in the back of the throat and nose may also cause swelling and bleeding in the nose (nasal cavity). A person suffering from Post Nasal Drip often feels the need to drain the excess mucus, which feels like they have a cold, but in fact, this is not cold.

Symptoms of Post Nasal Drip may include the following:

  • Excessive Coughing
  • A constant need to clear one’s throat
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • An excessively sore throat that is not caused by a cold
  • Nausea or vomiting

If Post Nasal Drip is left untreated, it could lead to other more serious conditions such as an ear infection or bronchitis.

A Person suffering from Post Nasal Drip may also complain about having Halitosis (bad breath) due to mucus being high in protein. Bad breath can be easily treated if it is caused by Post Nasal Drip. By controlling mucus production, bad breath is eliminated.

The side effects that may be experienced from using Conventional Nasal Sprays

Conventional nasal sprays are some of the most frequently used drugs for the treatment of common cold and sinus symptoms.  These nasal sprays are used locally by administering measured doses of medicine into the patient’s body through their nose or nasal passages (nostrils). These sprays are very effective in relieving nasal congestion and stuffiness. Different nasal sprays are also used to treat different conditions such as hayfever, sinusitis and allergies etc.

Before knowing what side effects nasal sprays can have, we must first understand how a common nasal spray works.

How it works

When a dose of medicine is sprayed into the nose, certain drugs in the spray begin to narrow the blood vessels. This constriction process helps to reduce inflammation and allows one to feel freed from stuffiness and congestion. But the draw back of these nasal sprays is that after some time the effect of the nasal spray wears down and the blood vessels expand again. Problems start from here. In order to stay sinus free one needs to use these nasal sprays again and again, with increased dosages. Repeated use of conventional nasal sprays can cause side effects.

Common side effects of using Conventional nasal sprays

The side effects of conventional nasal sprays vary from one to another depending on the drugs contained in them. Side effects range from mild to severe and it also varies from one individual to another, depending on their health condition and their usage of the nasal spray.

Here are some common side effects caused by using conventional nasal sprays:-

  • Pricking or burning sensation in the nose, which can be very painful
  • The nostrils may become extremely dry
  • An altered taste may be experienced
  • Dizziness and sleepiness are very common side effects
  • Palpitation in the arms and hands
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Prone to fungal invasion of the nose or the throat
  • Continuous coughing
  • Skin irritation may occur and it varies from mild to severe
  • Nasal blisters or ulcers also seen in some
  • Women may have very painful menstruations
  • Excessive watering of the eyes
  • Triggers some allergic reaction in the body
  • Nose bleeds

Severe side effects of conventional nasal sprays

The continuous and chronic use of conventional nasal sprays results in more severe side effects such as the examples below:

  • Increased thirstiness and urination
  • Sever skin allergy
  • Severe nasal bleeding may occur
  • Chronic Post Nasal Drip (PND) – backward flow of mucus from the sinuses to the back of the throat
  • A sensation of nausea or vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Constant painful headaches
  • Itching and swelling particularly of the face, tongue and throat
  • Continuous fits of sneezing
  • Some patients may experience a rapid and throbbing heartbeat

It is important to contact a doctor immediately if any of the above side effects are experienced when using a nasal spray.

Rebound Rhinitis/Congestion

Another common side effect of using conventional nasal sprays is a condition known as ‘rebound rhinitis or rebound congestion’. This is a condition that develops if a person is using their nasal spray for more than 3 – 5 days continuously. Besides your body becoming “addicted to” or dependent on the nasal spray, continuous use of a nasal spray can cause the mucus membranes to become excessively dry. Under normal conditions, the inside of the nose should be neither dry nor have excessive mucus. The body has a built in mechanism that combats a dry nose by telling the mucus membranes to increase its mucus production excessively. This causes a runny nose (rhinitis) or causes you to feel stuffy (congestion). The normal reaction is to use more and more of the nasal spray thereby resulting in a vicious cycle of rebound rhinitis and/or congestion.

Nasal Spray Alternatives

In order to avoid the side effects of conventional nasal sprays, there are some other alternatives that you may consider using. These alternatives are also known to treat congestion, allergies and even a blocked nose. Here are some of the options:

  • Homeopathic treatment and medicines (in tablets and nasal sprays)
  • Steam inhalation
  • Saline nasal drops
  • Certain herbal remedies
  • Essential oils like Eucalyptus, Rosemary and Lavender
  • Nasal irrigation (netti pot)

Always use these alternative medicines exactly as prescribed. Always consult with your doctor before attempting to use any medicines, alternative or otherwise especially if you have other chronic health conditions.

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Pregnancy and Post Nasal Drip

Under normal circumstances, glands in the nose and the throat routinely produce one to two quarts of mucus per day. This mucus functions to moisten and clean the nasal membranes, humidifies air and traps and clears inhaled foreign particles. It is however excess mucus that can pose a problem as it can accumulate and cause a backward flow of mucus down the throat. Pregnant women are more susceptible to developing post nasal drip as a result of hormone fluctuations and will usually experience an uncomfortable condition of severe nasal congestion and rhinitis which can occur anytime during pregnancy and can last for the entire pregnancy.

Pregnancy and Post Nasal Drip

During the first trimester, women experience hormonal changes that can cause swelling of the linings of the nose. This can result in congestion that may lead to complete nasal obstruction in severe cases.

The symptoms may differ from one pregnant woman to another. Some may experience sneezing, coughing, a runny nose (Rhinorrhea), facial pressure and headaches. Treatment of post nasal drip during pregnancy will depend on the severity of the above mentioned symptoms, as any use of medication for treatment during pregnancy should be well researched and where necessary, advised by a Physician.

Alternatively, in order to reduce the swelling of the linings of the nose a saline nasal rinse can be performed using salt water to rinse the nose; this often helps pregnant women maintain open nasal airways.

A steamy shower room can help relieve congestion as the expectant mother feels the effects of steam inhalation; just ensure the water is not hot as it can burn the skin and at times steam may cause shortness of breath.

Sinus-Pro has a natural treatment for Post Nasal Drip during Pregnancy.