There are a variety of reasons why someone may suffer from excess sinus drainage. Allergies as well as the common cold virus can lead to sinus drainage. The sinus cavities in your head are narrow passages. An excessive amount of drainage can be more than an annoyance. It can lead to painful sinus infections if the fluid builds up in these narrow passages and becomes infected.
You can use several techniques to reduce drainage. Some people believe that certain foods, such as dairy products, increase the amount of drainage that you produce. While there is little science to back this up, you may give it a try. Dairy products are one food product that many people are sensitive to, so cutting back may decrease the amount of drainage.
Drinking plenty of water is another cure that may help reduce sinus drainage. While the effectiveness of this is not proven either, in general, drinking plenty of water helps thin sinus secretions. This can lead to less noticeable drainage.
If you are suffering from sinus drainage severe enough to keep you awake at night or interfere with your eating habits, you may want to visit a physician. A simple antihistamine may be all that is required to dry up your sinuses. While many of these medications are available over the counter, a visit to the doctor before you begin long term use of any medication is generally a good idea.
Antihistamines are effective whether you are suffering from excessive drainage from a cold or allergies. They are generally considered safe, but can have side effects. Antihistamines are made to dry you out, and they are effective at that. Not only will they dry out your nose, but they can also dry out your mouth and eyes as well. These side effects are more of a nuisance than a real health threat.
Antihistamines can cause more significant health concerns in people that have elevated blood pressure or are taking other types of medications. For this reason, it is important that you tell your physician any over the counter or prescription medication that you are taking. If he believes that antihistamines will help treat your condition there are several he can try, and he can also monitor your condition.
What Causes Sinus Drainage and Postnasal Drip?
Sinuses are air pockets around the nose, forehead, and eyes that filter and regulate inhaled air temperature. Glands in the nose and throat produce mucus to moisturize and cleanse the sinuses. When glands produce extra mucus, you might feel it dripping from your nose down the back of your throat, a condition called postnasal drip. Excessive mucus could drain into your stomach, causing upset and health problems. In addition, having acid reflux or eating spicy food and dairy products can worsen sinus drainage.
Mucus helps protect the body’s respiratory and immune systems from viruses, allergens, pollutants and other foreign particles. For example, an irritant such as smoke may trigger a sneeze, which can expel debris from the nose. If you're allergic to animal dander, your nose and sinuses could react if a cat closely crosses your path.
Dealing With Excessive Mucus
Mucus can be thick or thin. When your sinuses become congested, mucus can cause breathing difficulty and areas of sensitivity around the nose and eyes. Congestion may be a temporary situation, but sometimes the mucus may not drain properly, resulting in more complicated symptoms.
As your body produces excessive mucus, you might need to clear your throat more often, which can lead to a sore throat, a hoarse voice and a sick feeling. You may try a range of home remedies and various over-the-counter medications to ease symptoms from excessive mucus, whether it’s in your sinuses and nose or has been draining into your stomach. If you’re troubled by chronic congestion, sinus drainage, nausea or other symptoms, ask a professional health care provider for treatment options.
Understanding Postnasal Drip
Throughout the day, mucus that drains through the nose or slides down your throat is hardly noticeable. Producing mucus and swallowing it are involuntary normal daily functions, and postnasal drip as a problem is common.
Conditions leading to postnasal drip include hay fever, rhinitis and infections, among other medical diagnoses. Humidity, indoor settings and weather are factors that affect your nasal and sinus systems, too. Postnasal drip also could be a side-effect of prescribed medication. A health care provider can decide on treatments when excessive mucus symptoms are tied to pregnancy, gastroesophageal reflux disease, infections or other medical conditions.
Can Sinus Drainage Cause Upset Stomach and Diarrhea?
Sinus drainage can lead to excessive mucus in your stomach, which is uncomfortable and disruptive to everyday activities. This condition may cause an upset stomach and diarrhea. More serious illnesses with postnasal drip, such as a cold, sinus infection or bacterial and viral infection, may also include vomiting and diarrhea.
Can Sinus Drainage Cause Nausea?
When you swallow thick mucus, it can cause nausea and even vomiting. Nausea from sinus drainage can be worse at night and in the morning when the stomach is empty. Antacids may ease an upset stomach.
Treating Sinus Drainage Symptoms
Drinking water can help thin mucus and is among the many benefits that staying hydrated provides to increase and sustain well-being. Some other home remedies to address postnasal drip, sinus drainage and related nausea include:
- Drink warm, thin liquids such as herbal teas, chicken soup or broth to soothe your throat
- Use nasal sprays to avoid congestion
- Sleep with your head slightly elevated to encourage mucus to flow out of your nose
- Use a humidifier or a vaporizer to keep the air clean
- Use a neti pot to rinse your sinuses
- Steam your nasal passages in the shower or over a bowl of hot water while draping a towel over your head to clear your nose
Using Over-the-Counter Remedies
Some symptoms of postnasal drip, sinus drainage and nausea can be eased with changes in diet and lifestyle. For some, various foods may trigger sinus irritations. You can focus on reducing your symptoms by avoiding stress, adjusting your diet or trying antihistamines, decongestants or other over-the-counter medications. Antihistamines will help relieve a runny nose, itchy eyes and sinus issues, though following directions is important to avoid overuse.
Reactions to certain changes vary, so you should check how your body reacts to certain medicines, monitor the impact of beverages and drinks you consume and review your exposure to changes in environmental conditions. This process may take time. Remember that medical attention is appropriate in instances of persistent, chronic symptoms, including sinus drainage and stomachaches, as well as in cases of high fever.
If problems persist, with or without trying some home-based care, it’s time for you to check in with a physician or other health care professional.