Post-nasal drip occurs when thick or excessive amounts of mucus drip into the back of the throat. The inflammatory substances in the drip coupled with trying to clear the excessive mucus, causes irritation and discomfort. Excess mucus running down the throat may cause hoarseness and lead to a cough. In fact, post-nasal drip is the most common cause of coughs. Other common symptoms include tickling in the throat, snorting, constant clearing of the throat, and difficulty breathing. A sore throat results due to the continual attempts to clear the excess mucus. While post-nasal drip is not normally painful, the sore throat caused by it can be quite unpleasant. When post-nasal drip is left untreated, the risk of developing a sore throat is greater than when it is treated promptly.
Sore throats are caused by several different conditions such as the common cold, respiratory flu, and strep throat, an infection that causes the throat to hurt severely and requires an antibiotic. Some people get sore throats when allergies flair up or from environmental irritants. One of the most common reasons for a sore throat is post-nasal drip. All of these cases can be treated with proper medication and typically clear up within a few days. Post-nasal drip sore throat is not as severe, however, it tends to linger as long as the constant dripping sensation is present in the back of the throat.
Post-Nasal Drip Causes
Common causes of post-nasal drip are colds, respiratory flu, sinus infections, nasal allergies, food allergies, chemical fumes, and smoking. Sometimes, a person can develop post-nasal drip from living in an arid climate or from dry air in winter months. Pregnancy, birth control pills, swallowing problems, and gastric reflux disease (GERD) are additional underlying causes.
Post-Nasal Drip Symptoms
While a sore throat, coughing, and clearing the throat are common symptoms, the following additional signs may indicate you are suffering from post-nasal drip.
- Upset stomach due to mucus flowing into the digestive system
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Dry mouth (xerostomia)
- Sneezing and coughing up mucus especially in the morning
- Tonsil stones
Post-Nasal Drip Sore Throat Treatment
To alleviate sore throat associated with post-nasal drip, you need to stop the drip first. Identifying the underlying cause (e.g. allergies or illness) is the first step. Once the cause is determined, you can select the most effective treatment for you. Treatment options include:
- Nasal sprays
- Throat lozenges
- Cough syrup
- Surgery in severe cases
Post-nasal drip is not life-threatening nor contagious, but it can be irritating and uncomfortable. If left untreated, a person has a greater risk of developing a severe sore throat, laryngitis, fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. Excess mucus can block the Eustachian tube between the nose and ear, resulting in a serious ear infection and pain. With so many easy to use over-the-counter remedies available at your local pharmacy, it doesn’t make sense not to treat it.
Post-Nasal Drip Sore Throat Tips
It is essential to attempt to clear mucus without constantly clearing the throat. Certain mouth rinses can help rid the throat of excess mucus, but even warm salt water or hot tea with honey can be helpful. An arid environment and allergens in the air can exacerbate post-nasal drip and sore throat. A humidifier is effective at moisturizing dry air, while an air filter or purifier is a great way to clean the air.
If you have post-nasal drip, it is a wise idea to avoid certain things. It is essential to stay away from certain dairy products including milk, because these tend to attract more mucus, making it much harder to swallow. Staying hydrated with plenty of water and some fruit juice will also help keep the mucus from getting worse.
There are several simple, inexpensive remedies you can try at home to alleviate post-nasal drip and sore throat, including the following.
TheraBreath PLUS Nasal-Sinus Drops provide a sinus-cleansing formula that effectively eliminates anaerobic bacteria often concealed in hard to reach sinus passages.
TheraBreath Fresh Breath Throat Spray has a patented 6.9 centimeter nozzle capable of reaching the farthest anterior areas of the throat. The “extinguisher” spray combats the hard-to-reach areas where post-nasal drip tends to accumulate.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.