When you have a cold, you certainly can’t fail to notice that you have a problem with mucus in your nose. What you may not know is that the human body produces mucus everyday, even when you’re not sick. Mucus is produced in the linings of your nose airways, throat, stomach, and intestinal tract. So much mucus is produced that your nose alone is response for about a quart of it each day.
Having mucus in these areas isn’t actually a bad thing. The body produces mucus as part of its defense system. Mucus traps and helps destroy invaders like viruses and bacteria before they can do damage and cause infection.
A Runny Nose and Postnasal Drip
So you may not notice that you have mucus in your nose during most days. The mucus can mix with your saliva, and this can go down the back of your throat without causing any trouble.
But you will notice it when you have a medical condition like a cold and there’s so much more of it than usual or it’s thicker than normal. If there’s so much of it that it starts to run out of your nostrils, then you have a runny nose. But it’s called a postnasal drip when the excess mucus runs down the back of your nose and into your throat.
What happens when you have postnasal drip? When you have this problem, it feels like something is obstructing your throat and you tend to want to clear your throat constantly. This can lead to a cough, which can get worse during the night. Postnasal drip is in fact one of the more common causes of stubborn cough that won’t go away. When you have too much mucus running down the back of your throat, you may cough a lot and you’ll feel hoarse. You can end up with a sore throat.
The mucus you swallow can also obstruct your Eustachian tube, which connects your middle ear to your throat. This can lead to an ear infection, which can get very painful. If those passages become clogged, you can also get a sinus infection.
Causes of Postnasal Drip and Potential Treatments
Excessive mucus that can lead to postnasal drip can be caused by many potential conditions. The specific cause can determine the right treatment for the problem.
These possible causes can include the following:
- Allergies , also called allergic postnasal drip
- Certain foods most especially spicy dishes
- Certain medications, including blood pressure medications and birth control pills
- Changing weather, cold temperatures, or really dry air
- A deviated septum, which refers to the crooked placement of the wall that separates the two nostrils
- The flu
- Fumes from irritants like smoke, perfumes, chemicals, or cleaning products
- An object stuck in the nose which can happen with children
- Sinus infection or sinusitis
Once the cause has been determined by your ENT doctor, the appropriate treatment can then be suggested. If you suffer an ENT problem, it is suggested to consult an ENT doctor for the appropriate ENT services. Please contact us for an appointment of our ENT services and consulation at 3100 0555.
HK ENT Specialist Ltd.
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