Why does post-nasal drip cause a sore throat?

Written by chris sherwood
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Why does post-nasal drip cause a sore throat?

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Cold and flu seasons vary throughout the world. However, a stuffy nose crosses all international boundaries when it comes to getting sick. When you get a runny nose, whether it be from a cold or flu virus, you can usually expect a sore throat to be not too far behind. This is largely due to a phenomenon called post-nasal drip.

Post Nasal Drip

A runny nose, also commonly referred to as rhinorrhea, is your body's natural defence system against invading allergens and pathogens. This is largely due to the production of mucus. As mucus builds up into the nose, it often starts to leak back down the throat; it has nowhere else to go because the nose is clogged. This is called post-nasal drip.

Sore Throat

As the mucus drips down the back of the throat, you naturally swallow it. A sore throat can develop in two different ways. The first is that the mucus acts as an irritant on the throat. The body reacts by inflaming the throat tissue, which can cause soreness.

Tissue Damage

The second way that post-nasal drip can cause a sore throat is through coughing. As the mucus runs down your throat, you likely feel the need to clear your throat by coughing. The first few times you cough shouldn't cause much irritation. However, after days of mucus running down your throat and forcing coughs, the tissue inside your throat can become damaged and sore.

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