Get rid of sinus drainage in the throat without going to the doctor

how to get rid of sinus drainage in throat
Medically reviewed by Dr. Mandy Liedeman

Overview

Sinus drainage causing post-nasal drip can lead to throat irritation. Post-nasal drip is a condition where excessive mucus accumulates in the back of the throat and nose, leading to a sensation of mucus dripping down the throat. Various factors, including allergies, sinus infections, colds, flu, and certain medications can cause it. To alleviate sinus drainage in the throat, prescription medications like corticosteroids, antihistamines, or decongestants may be recommended by a healthcare professional. Over-the-counter options such as saline nasal sprays, decongestants, and antihistamines can also provide relief. Home remedies like staying hydrated, using a humidifier, nasal irrigation, and consuming spicy foods can help thin mucus and reduce symptoms. The causes of postnasal drip are discussed in this article, along with home methods for treating it.

What is post-nasal drip?

The discharge of mucus into your throat or pharynx from your sinuses or nose is called postnasal drip. Post-nasal drip often leads to a cough and sore throat due to the irritation caused by the excess mucus. Mucus is produced daily by glands lining your stomach, digestive system, throat, and nose. About one-quarter of it is made daily by your nose alone. A mucus is a viscous liquid that hydrates these tissues and aids in trapping and eliminating external intruders, such as bacteria and viruses, before their ability to cause illness.

A typical sign of infections, allergies, and colds is postnasal drip. You can find relief with a range of over-the-counter drugs and home treatments. 

The mucus from your nose usually goes unnoticed because it combines with saliva, slides down the back of your throat without causing any harm, and then gets swallowed.

Mucus is more evident when your body generates more of it or when it thickens more than usual. Runny noses can release surplus through their nostrils. Postnasal drip is the term for mucus that drips from the back of your nose to your throat. 

The sensation of something dripping down your throat is frequently experienced when dealing with illnesses, including allergies, sinusitis, and the common cold. It may result in a cough or sore throat.

Postnasal drip may accumulate due to nasal channel edema or inflammation. Congestion may also result from the extra mucus, or snot, in that situation. Postnasal drip is a frequent symptom of being unwell. It may seem unsettling and disgusting. Postnasal drip can occasionally develop into a persistent cough or another issue.

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What causes postnasal drip?

Several reasons can lead to postnasal drips, such as:

Allergies

The body releases histamines in reaction to allergens such as dust mites,  pollen or pet dander, causing allergic rhinitis. This can cause mucus production, sneezing, and nasal congestion.

Sinus infections

The inflammation or swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses is known as sinusitis. A fungal, bacterial, or viral infection can bring it on. Blockages in the sinuses caused by infections can hinder normal drainage and result in mucus buildup that drips down the throat.

Cold or flu

Common colds and influenza are viral illnesses that can inflame the sinuses and nasal passages, increasing mucus production. An overabundance of mucus can cause postnasal drip, a leak down the back of the throat.

Certain medications

Certain drugs, like decongestants and antihistamines, can dry the nasal passages. In addition to causing mucus production and postnasal drip, this dryness can irritate the nasal lining.

Weather changes

The nasal passages can become irritated by dry or cold air, resulting in inflammation and increased mucus production. Postnasal drip may ensue from this, particularly in those with sensitive nasal passages.

Certain foods and beverages

Caffeine, dairy products, and spicy foods can occasionally irritate the nasal passages and thus increase mucus production, which sometimes results in postnasal drip.

Structural issues

Postnasal drip and mucus buildup can result from structural problems with the nose or sinuses, such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum, which can impede normal drainage. To address these problems, medical intervention may be necessary.

How do you get rid of sinus drainage in the throat?

There are several ways to treat nasal discharge in the throat, including over-the-counter and prescription drugs:

Prescription medication

Antibiotics

Your doctor could recommend antibiotics to treat the infection if bacterial nasal discharge is the cause. These include amoxicillin/clavulanate, azithromycin and Doxycycline. These are usually treatments of bacterial post-nasal drip. 

Corticosteroids

Nasal corticosteroid sprays, beclomethasone or triamcinolone, are post-nasal drip medicines that can aid in lowering sinus and nasal channel inflammation, reducing mucus production and discharge.

Antihistamines

To stop coughing from sinus drainage, try using saline nasal sprays or antihistamines to reduce mucus production and irritation. Prescription-strength antihistamines can help reduce mucus production and relieve symptoms of allergies contributing to sinus drainage. E.g. Diphenhydramine, as in Benadryl, chlorpheniramine, as in Chlor-Trimeton, Loratadine, as in Claritin or Alavert, Fexofenadine (Allegra), cetirizine (Zyrtec) and desloratadine (Clarinex). You can get a prescription for antihistamines via telemedicine platforms. 

Your post-nasal drip may be caused by a bacterial cause. Consult now

Over-the-counter medications

Decongestants

Unfortunately, there’s no magic cure for post-nasal drip, but treatments such as saline nasal irrigation and decongestants can help alleviate symptoms. Oral decongestants or nasal sprays, e.g. oxymetazoline, can help reduce nasal congestion and improve drainage. The use must be weighed as it can sometimes cause more harm than good. 

Saline nasal sprays

These can help flush out mucus and allergens from the nasal passages, reducing irritation and drainage.

Antihistamines

The best medicine for sinus drainage is typically an over-the-counter decongestant or antihistamine. Over-the-counter antihistamines can help reduce mucus production and relieve symptoms of allergies.

Postnasal drip home remedies

Postnasal drip can be lessened using home remedies. These natural cures are efficient, reasonably priced, and simple to apply. Most of these therapies are most likely already in your home. Above all, they are effective regardless of the reason behind your postnasal drip.

One disadvantage is that using home cures won’t stop postnasal drip. It would help if you determined the exact cause of your postnasal drip to achieve that. To eliminate your postnasal drip and prevent it from returning, you must address the underlying reason. 

At home remedies, however, you can maintain your comfort as you work for a long-term cure and cause.

Run a humidifier

Devices called humidifiers increase the amount of moisture in the air. More moisture thins your mucus, making breathing easier via your throat and nose. Specific symptoms of postnasal drip, such as stuffiness and the need to constantly clean your throat, may be alleviated by doing this. More approachable, moistened air helps relieve a scratchy or irritated throat caused by postnasal drip.

Humidifiers come in various styles, and you may get one online or at your neighborhood drugstore. Since no “best” brand of humidifier exists, you can use whichever one is most affordable, easiest to store, and maintains the cleanest appearance.

Consider using Steam instead of a humidifier if you don’t have one. Run the hot water in your shower for ten minutes, sit on the tub or toilet’s edge, and inhale the steam. Additionally, you can place open bowls of water on desks and shelves. As the water vapor evaporates, the humidity in your home will rise. This happens very slowly; therefore, the effect is delayed compared to that of a humidifier or steam generator. However, it can be advantageous in the long run.

Drink warm fluids

A warm beverage, such as soup or hot tea, can help reduce most symptoms of postnasal drip. They produce steam that you breathe in when you consume them due to their warmth. This works similarly to a humidifier in that it thins mucus and relieves irritation in the nose and throat. According to some evidence, Warm liquids assist patients with nasal congestion and help them feel as though they can breathe more readily. 

Additionally, fluids keep you hydrated, and your mucus retains this hydration. A hydrated mucus is more straightforward to clear. Additionally, drinking plenty of water supports optimal immune system function in warding off bacteria or viruses that might be the source of your postnasal drip. Additionally, chicken soup is nutrient-dense and may contain vitamins that strengthen your immune system.

Take some honey

One of the best natural medicines is honey. Studies have shown that honey not only has antibacterial qualities but also relieves the symptoms of cough and sore throat. Even faster recovery from postnasal drip caused by bacteria or viruses might be possible with a tablespoon of honey.

If your cough is bothering you or your throat is highly scratchy, you can take a spoonful of honey by mouth. Adding a tablespoon of honey to some hot tea can also mix two postnasal drip home treatments.   A honey overdose is not possible. But be aware that honey has a high natural sugar content if you have diabetes or are attempting to cut back on sugar. Thus, consider using caution when determining how much.

Change your sleep position

Postnasal drip tends to worsen at night, as you may have noticed. You might even be sleeping through it at night. Your mucus may slide into your upper airway while you sleep and become lodged there before you can swallow it. You may cough or gag, which will keep you from sleeping. It may be simpler to fall asleep if you adjust your sleeping posture. Consider sleeping with your head raised. To begin, simply add more pillows. Aim to raise your upper chest, neck, and head. If this is insufficient, you might need to sleep in a chair or reclined position to raise your entire torso. You can modify the angle of your bed till it feels comfortable if it is adjustable.  

When your body is raised, gravity helps, as you have during the day. Gravity slows down how fast mucus drips down the back of your throat. This gives your body more time to clear it out so it doesn’t drip into your upper airway. 

Use nasal saline rinses

Your nasal passages’ mucus can be cleared with a saline nasal rinse. You’ll feel much more at ease until that mucus builds up again. Saline rinses are available in pharmacies. Additionally, you can prepare your saline solution at home and use a Neti pot to flush your nose with it.

Make your saline solution with distilled, sterilized, or boiling water alone. Use purified tap water instead. Using regular tap water can cause serious diseases that can even be fatal. 

The frequency of saline rinse applications is infinite. You can use them as often as necessary to keep yourself comfortable. It is advisable to use one just before bed to remove any excess mucus that could drop down at the back of the throat.

Drink plenty of water

Water, herbal tea, or clear broths are good sources of fluids that can help thin mucus and facilitate draining.

Warm water pump

Warm compresses applied to the face can aid mucus discharge and relieve sinus congestion and inflammation.

Spicy foods

Eating spicy foods like chili peppers or horseradish can help clear sinuses and reduce mucus production.

Avoid irritants

Avoiding cigarette smoke, air pollution, and strong odors can help reduce mucus production and irritation in the nasal passages.

Stay indoors on pollen days

If your postnasal drip is caused by allergies, staying indoors on high pollen days can help reduce exposure to allergens.

Stay away from cold Air

Breathing in cold air can worsen postnasal drip, so stay warm and avoid sudden temperature changes.

Stay away from allergens

If you have specific allergies, try to avoid those triggers as much as possible to reduce postnasal drip.

A persistent post-nasal drip may be due to an underlying medical cause. Consult Now

How long does post-nasal drip last?

Depending on the underlying cause, post-nasal drip might last for different lengths. When the illness clears, post-nasal drip brought on by a cold or flu usually goes away in a week to ten days. Depending on how long the allergen was exposed, post-nasal drip caused by allergies may endure longer. Without treatment, chronic sinusitis results, which can result in persistent post-nasal drip, can linger for weeks or months.

When should I see a doctor?

  • You should see a doctor if you experience the following:
  • Post-nasal drip lasting longer than a few weeks.
  • Post-nasal drip accompanied by fever, facial pain, or headache.
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
  • Blood in the mucus.
  • Symptoms that interfere with daily life or sleep.
  • Recurrent or persistent symptoms despite home remedies or over-the-counter medications.

FAQs about sinus drainage in the throat

What can you avoid when you have a post-nasal drip?

Steer clear of dehydration-inducing substances like alcohol and caffeine since these can exacerbate your symptoms. Steer clear of common irritants like cigarette smoke.

Is Mucinex suitable for sinus drainage?

Yes, guaifenesin, or Mucinex for post-nasal drip, helps thin and loosen mucus in the airways, making removing it simpler. This makes it a good option for sinus drainage. 

Can you feel sinus drainage in your throat?

Indeed, nasal drainage can generate a feeling of mucus running down the back of your throat so that you can feel it there. This may result in a lump in the throat, coughing, and discomfort.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Jones, H. Morus. “Some orbital complications of nose and throat conditions.” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 74.6 (1981): 409-414.
  • Yonkers, Anthony J. “Sinusitis—inspecting the causes and treatment.” Ear, nose & throat journal 71.6 (1992): 258-262.
  • Messerklinger, W. “On the drainage of the normal frontal sinus of man.” Acta oto-laryngologica 63.2-3 (1967): 176-181.
  • Rains, Susan G. “Sinus, Mouth, Throat, and.” Pediatric Primary Care: Practice Guidelines for Nurses (2013): 229.

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