Post nasal drip (PND) refers to the sensation of mucus or secretions coming down from the back of one’s nose into their throat. PND is classically seen in people with allergies and sinus disease, but it is also one of the most common symptoms of Throatburn reflux.
The body normally produces between 1-2 liters of mucus a day from the nose and sinuses. This fluid, typically unnoticed, is distributed over a 24 hour period and is generally swallowed without incident. However, if there is blockage in the nose, sinuses or throat, the “drip” sensation becomes noticeable and complaints invariably ensue.
The drip sensation occurs frequently in people with Throatburn reflux because the back portion of the larynx swells in response to constant acid exposure, either from acid coming up from the stomach or from activation of pepsin receptors in the throat directly from acidic foods (processed foods, sugary soda, citrus, tomato, vinegar) which in turn will cause swelling of throat tissues.
The treatment of PND is directed towards relieving the areas of obstruction, In the case of a nose/sinus source of the drip, often a food and an environmental allergy investigation is warranted. Occasionally, an imaging study of the paranasal sinuses, either a CT scan or an MRI, is carried out so the anatomy of the nose and sinuses can be figured out.
In the situation where there is no significant nose and sinus disease, and there is swelling of the larynx, then treatment of acid reflux disease – diet, lifestyle and occasionally medications – should take place.