Post nasal drip is an excess of mucus produced in your nose or sinuses which drips backwards down the throat instead of through the nose. Mucus can also be produced within the mouth, throat and lower airways as well to further contribute to the condition. Post nasal drip typically accompanies a runny nose and sinusitis but may occur on its own. As with common nasal and sinus problems, a post nasal drip may be due to allergies or acute viral infections. More serious cases may be a result of bacterial infections.

Changes in hormone levels like pregnancy, a foreign object stuck in the nose, a deviated septum or nasal polyp, changes in weather, certain foods and air pollution can also cause post nasal drip. It is always advisable to consult with a doctor for a post nasal drip that is persisting or getting worse. Ideally an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist should attend to the condition.

Diet and Lifestyle

  • Have a blood or skin prick test to identify allergens (inhaled or ingested) that may be triggering allergic post nasal drip. Common inhaled allergens include pet hair, pollen and house dust mite.
  • Avoid foods that trigger and irritate post nasal drip, like spicy foods, cold drinks, dairy or nuts. Irritants like cigarette smoke, strong perfume and wood fires need to be avoided. These are irritants and not allergens.
  • Washing out the sinuses with a saline nasal spray or neti pot may be be helpful in some cases.
  • Inhaling steam several times in a day may be a better option for clearing the nasal passages. Menthol oil or crystals can be added to the hot water to create a strong-smelling vapour.
  • Use a humidifier to increase the moisture of the air in a room and avoid air conditioning.
  • Drink at least 2 litres of water daily to keep the mucus thin so that it can drain out easily.

Herbal Remedies

  • Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)
  • Elder (Sambucus nigra)
  • Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia)
  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
  • Nettle (Urtica urens) – allergic post nasal drip

Homeopathic Remedies

  • Allium cepa
  • Hepar sulphuricum calcarea
  • Kali bichromium
  • Natrum muriaticum
  • Mercurius solubilis
  • Pulsatilla