The nasal passages can become blocked for a variety of reasons. Sinus inflammation is a leading cause of post nasal drip. When the nasal passages swell the sinuses become swollen and infected which will lead to stuffy nasal passages that are unable to drain properly. In addition, conditions such as allergies or upper respiratory infections are also responsible for sinus blockage that leads to post nasal drip. There are some over the counter products that are effective in treating post nasal drip.
The structure of the nose acts as a barrier between outside pollutants and the breathing passage. Mucus in the nasal passages enables the functioning of the respiratory tract by keeping the passages moist and lubricated. The sinuses are a part of the nasal cavity that are made up of four chambers. When these chambers become clogged a condition commonly known as rhinitis might develop causing over-production of mucus and congestion of the sinus cavities which leads to post nasal drip.
When there is a build-up of mucus from the nasal passages that lead to the throat, it can cause mucus to drip from the back of the nose into the throat, which leads to sore throat and coughing. Post nasal drip, according to Medicine Net, may be caused by impairment of normal mucus secretions. When the mucus builds up and becomes trapped, it can not clear properly through the nose and drains out the back of the nasal passage into the throat causing persistent cough and stomach upset. Two types of medications used in conjunction often work best to eliminate post nasal drip. Decongestants work to dry up mucus and allow it to drain by constricting blood vessels in the nasal passages, which can significantly reduce post nasal drip. Expectorants loosen and thin mucus so it is expelled more easily.
The Mayo Clinic lists a wide variety of medicines that can work to treat post nasal drip including decongestants and oral medications. Some liquid decongestants include Afrin (oxymetazoline) and neo-synephrine (phenylphrine). These over the counter nasal sprays work to decrease mucus build-up and inflammation which helps the sinuses to drain. A solution of salt and water used to flush the nasal passages is sometimes effective for mild cases of post nasal drip and does not have the same harmful side effects of some over the counter medications.
Over the counter oral medicines that help reduce sinus swelling that can lead to post nasal drip include those that contain pseudoephedrine, such as Sudafed. This medication dries nasal passages by blood vessel constriction. Another over the counter oral medication that contains pseudoephedrine is Drixoral. Mucinex is an over the counter medication that relieves post nasal drip by drying up excess mucus that leads to excessive build-up in the nasal cavities and loosening impacted mucus accumulation. Mucinex contains both Guaifenesin, which is an expectorant and pseudoephedrine. The expectorant helps to break up congestion so it can be more easily discharged.Some other over the counter products that contain Guaifenesin are Humibid and Robitussin.
These medications should not be taken during pregnancy or during nursing, since they can pass through the bloodstream or breast milk and might be harmful to a foetus or baby. In addition, the drugs are not for people who have high blood pressure or diabetes, and could worsen a thyroid condition. Oral decongestants have been associated with irregular heartbeat and glaucoma as well. Nasal sprays should be used for no more than 3 days because they can become addictive and lead to chronic congestion with overuse.