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What are the Most Common Causes of Chronic Post-Nasal Drip?

Chronic post-nasal drip often stems from persistent allergies, sinusitis, or deviated septum issues. Environmental irritants like smoke and pollution can exacerbate it, as can certain medications and dietary choices. Understanding the root cause is key to effective management. Curious about how lifestyle adjustments can alleviate symptoms? Discover more about the intricate connection between your habits and post-nasal drip.
Elle Jay
Elle Jay

Sufferers of post-nasal drip know the symptoms well. The dry cough, itchy, runny nose, and persistent dripping in the back of the nose and throat are unmistakable signs of irritating post-nasal drip. Allergies are one of the most common causes of chronic post-nasal drip. The main culprits can be found outside in nature, and inside a home or workplace.

Post-nasal drip is usually associated with a condition known as rhinitis, which refers to swelling and inflammation of the nasal and sinus lining. The symptoms are generally due to an inability to quickly clear excess mucus from the nasal passages. Allergies can set off rhinitis and post-nasal drip because an allergic reaction tends to produce more mucus than the body can rapidly eliminate.

Seasonal allergies can cause post nasal drip.
Seasonal allergies can cause post nasal drip.

Allergy-related causes of chronic post-nasal drip can come in the form of seasonal allergies to outdoor irritants or chronic allergies spurred by allergens found in the home or office. Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever, occur at various times of the year and are set off by allergens such as pollen and grass. Spring and summer are common seasons for this type of allergy because of the abundant pollen in the air and grass particles floating around after lawns are mowed.

A dry cough is a common symptom of post-nasal drip.
A dry cough is a common symptom of post-nasal drip.

Recurring or permanent allergies generally come from irritants found inside the home or in the workplace. Dust, dust mites, and pet dander are the biggest offenders when it comes to chronic post-nasal drip caused by indoor allergens. Some office allergy sufferers point to mold as the main cause of allergic reactions when symptoms only occur while at work.

Constant exposure to cigarette smoke may cause chronic post-nasal drip.
Constant exposure to cigarette smoke may cause chronic post-nasal drip.

Some non-allergy causes of rhinitis and chronic post-nasal drip include poor air quality, quick temperature fluctuations, and spicy foods. Irritants such as smog, pollution, and car exhaust can lead to faster blood flow in the nasal passageways and increased nasal secretions. Unlike an allergic reaction, this is a temporary response to a specific agent such as strong detergent or fragrance smells, or smoke from cigarettes, pipes, or cigars. Symptoms caused by these irritants usually go away when the annoyance is removed.

Both smokers and people who have been exposed to secondhand smoke may develop chronic post-nasal drip.
Both smokers and people who have been exposed to secondhand smoke may develop chronic post-nasal drip.

On rare occasions, post-nasal drip may be a side effect of certain medications. Drugs used to treat anxiety, high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, and some types of oral birth control have been thought to cause post-nasal drip. Drug interference is rarely the cause of post-nasal drip, however, and a physician can usually determine when a prescription medication is causing rhinitis and associated symptoms.

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Discussion Comments


I am puzzled about the term sinus drip coupled with problems of sore nostrils. I never get a runny nose and nothing ever comes out of my nose unless I forcibly blow it. I have fairly viscous clear mucus just in my throat which ranges from drippy to gluey across the day. When it is gluey I get choked and tight chest. When it is drippy, it splashes into my voice box and lungs making me cough and splutter and clearing throat in both cases all day.


I have suffered for five years now. Every morning I struggle with gagging on previous night post nasal drip. I have been to several ENTs, who prescribed different remedies to no avail. Some days are better then others, but I can tell you it is disgusting and I just wish there was some relief. Thank God I work out at night but the mornings are awful. Help!


I had a long history of allergy symptoms in terms of skin itching and sun allergies. I had a nasal allergy which started about five years ago when I moved to Mumbai for my job. Even though I was eating a proper diet, and practicing Yoga and Pranayama regularly, my issues were not getting resolved. I would have a mild pain around my right eye which started about the same time every day, then it would be unbearable pain for three or four hours. I would have a hot forehead and I wasn't able to work beyond 7 p.m. I thought initially it was because of the air-conditioning in my office, because when I got outside, the pain reduced. And when I went to lunch, the pain also receded. But the reason was none of these.

I moved to Kolkata, thinking the Mumbai climate was not suitable for me, but it didn't help me. It only made it worse. I had water retention in my maxillary sinus and it came out of my right nostril every two or three days. I visited Columbia Asia hospital here and the doctor suggested a CT scan. He told me I have a deviated septum, which is where the problem is and that has caused water retention in my maxillary sinus. He prescribed some antibiotics and I got a lot of relief.

He said he needed to test the fluid coming out of my right nostril and said whenever I felt like I had a block nose, not to blow hard, but collect that water and bring it to the lab for analysis. He said it could be CSF fluid. I looked online and found out that If I had any accident in the past or some operation of brain, then there is a chance of CSF leakage. But I didn't have any such history. So I didn't go back to the doctor, because I had already spent Rs.6000 on the CT scan. I didn't want to spend any more with that doctor. But my problem was not resolved.

I felt feverish after a few days and had breathing issues for the first time. When I had a blood test, I found I had a 16 percent eosinophil count, so I got another shot of antibiotics from a local doctor. This time I visited Apollo Hospital. The doctor again suggested I have a lot of blood tests. I had a high immunoglobulin ige test (270mg) and abs. eosinophil count (11 percent, reduced from 16 percent) and fluid in the maxillary sinus (X-ray of Paranasal Sinus) which were abnormal. He confirmed I have allergy problem and prescribed allergy medicine for six weeks and referred me to an ENT surgeon.

The ENT doctor checked my CT scan report from Columbia Hospital and suggested a FESS operation to correct the abnormality, but I didn't agree to it. But soon after I finished the allergy medicine, all the symptoms like the blocked nose and water coming out of right nostril and pain around my right eye, came back.

This time, I thought beyond allopathic medicine. My father got a homeopath practitioner in my village. He heard of all my problems and suggested a single dose of Nux Vomica 200. I took it and got a lot of relief. The pain which usually I had around my right eye was reduced to a great extent. But after two or three weeks, I had all the problems again. Then the homeopath told to take me another dose and I did. But again after two weeks, I had similar problems and additionally I also saw blood in the morning from my right nostril for the first time that winter.

I went back to the homeopath and he almost surrendered. He had no idea what was going on, and just told me to visit some other ENT specialist. This time I consulted my father and he told me to visit Baba Ramdev clinic. I paid a visit there too, but didn't have faith that it will work in my case. I was under the impression that ayurvedic medicines take a long time to work.

The doctor there listened to my problem and prescribed me laxmi vilas Ras (two tabs twice daily), Sanjeevani Vati (two tabs twice daily) and Chyawanprash. After taking these medicines for one week, I could see the result. My nose bleed was stopped, and the hay fever was gone, but I was having pain around my right eye still. Still, I had faith in it.

I completed the course for a whole month. Then for two days, I stopped the medicine. Once again I had the blocked nose and same problems. So I started it again. I did steam inhalation and shadbindu tail also. After two weeks I reduced the pills to one each, two times a day, instead of two pills. Then I didn't have any problems. After 15 days of taking it like that, I again stopped the medicine for two days. Again the problem came back with the nosebleed. So I started back on one pill each. But now I have stopped Sanjeevani Vati. I am only taking laxmi vilas Ras Vati one pill twice daily after food. It might that, after few months, I can quit taking that, too. I am absolutely fine now. I hope this will be helpful for everybody who is suffering from similar problem.


I get post nasal drip a lot, too. It makes me sick.

If I go to the doctor, he'll probably tell me it's just really bad allergies. I drink lots of water.


I am so sick of my post nasal drip,. I've had every test imaginable, over a 3 year period and here I am still sniffing and snuffleing and the noises I make are so gross. Wish I could get better. It is so annoying and I'm betting I cough at lease 300 times a day, probably more, and constantly sniffing and gagging. I feel like this is going to be the death of me.


It took me a long time to figure out what caused my post-nasal drip because I didn't have any allergies. I made sure I was tested at the doctors because my nose just wouldn't stop dripping and it was starting to drive me crazy.

I discovered that I was really responding to the poor air quality around me. My coworker loved to wear perfume and while it did smell nice, my nose would constantly drip after she had been around. On top of that, I found being around smoke really aggravated my nose.

Luckily, once the office implemented a no scent policy and my wife quit smoking the symptoms of post-nasal drip went away. I was really happy that I finally got rid of what was bothering me for so long.


Post-nasal drip is probably one of the nastiest things you can get when you have bad allergies. I always hate when spring rolls around and I spend the next few months sniffling and feeling nauseated.

A few things I find that make the post-nasal drip a bit more tolerable are using tissues that have a moisturizing element to them. These tissues are a bit more expensive but they help keep your nose from getting sore. I also drop all dairy products during allergy season and find it really lessons the severity of my post-nasal drip.

Another thing that works for me when I am tackling post-nasal drip is to drink a ton of herbal tea. It seems to keep my mucus from getting to thick.


JaneAir - I have post nasal drip because of allergies and I read that a great nasal drip remedy is to gargle with salt water.

I have tried it and it has helped me. This really works when you have a throat infection. It seems to soothe it a little.

It also helps me not clear my throat as much which tends to be annoying.


I knew a girl once who was obsessed with her neti pot. While it helped her, she used it daily, and what she really needed was a surgery. It seems to me that if you need things like that every day, it would be a good idea to go to a doctor and check for things like a deviated septum or even a tonsil issue.


I had a friend at college who said he had constant post nasal drip as part of another condition. I didn't quite understand, and wonder if he really also had an underlying allergy. I feel like I have known so many people who did not take allergies seriously enough; they are often fairly easy to treat, and there are so many cleaning-based ways you can take action to prevent them.


@lovealot - From your description, I think I have the same kind of problem as you. The phlegm that just sits in my throat drives me crazy. And the insides of my nostrils that get swollen and dry are miserable.

I use a couple of remedies that work fairly well. Those breathing strips, that you put on the top of your nose, widen the passages so you can breathe better, are pretty effective.

Then I use a netti- pot to clear out the nose and throat. A netti-pot is shaped like a little teapot. You fill it with warm water and a little saline solution. Then tip your head as you pour the solution into each nostril. It works quite well clearing out the nasal cavities and down to the throat.


I'm not sure what causes dryness in my nasal cavities and phlegm in my throat. It doesn't seem to be caused by allergies because I don't have symptoms like sneezing, headache, or runny nose. I have been told I have thin nasal cavities, so the mucus doesn't drain out well. Also, I seem to be a mouth breather; I think because I don't breathe very efficiently through my nose.

The worst part is that I always seem to have a lump of mucus in my throat, which is hard to get rid of. I have to do heavy-duty throat clearing, which I try to do when I'm by myself.


If you are like me and experience a near-constant post-nasal drip during the warm months of the year, you learn to look for the symptoms of a sinus infection. I usually get at least one a year.

When the pressure in my sinuses causes pain and I see a thick yellowish-green discharge when I blow my nose, I know that I am likely developing an infection. If I get fever, I am certain that I have one. Bad breath is also a symptom, because bacteria is present, and the constant dripping into my throat lets it incubate there. Antibiotics will knock it out.


Every few minutes, my boss does his regular post-nasal drip throat clearing. The sound has become so familiar that it just fades into the background with other noises. I feel bad for him, because it must really irritate his throat to do that all the time.

Some days, his allergies are so bad that it affects his voice, and I can hear one sneeze after the other coming out of his office. Everyone who works there has reported more sneezing and allergy issues while in the building than when at home. The place hasn’t seen a thorough cleaning in decades.


I experience the most severe post-nasal drip from allergies in spring, though it continues to flare up now and then throughout the summer and early fall. In spring, when the pollen coats everything in sight in a yellow blanket, I plan for months of misery.

I know that my coworkers are probably annoyed with my constant nose blowing and sniffing. I can’t help it. If I didn’t do those things, the mucus would be running out of my nose onto my desk!

I have found that the situation improves with Zyrtec, though it doesn’t eliminate the symptoms entirely. It really has made them more bearable than they once were.


My coworker convinced herself that black mold was growing in the ceiling of our office. She could not get the boss to check out the situation. She planned to leave work within the year anyway, because her husband had to move to a new city for his education.

She told us, the ones who were left behind, that we would likely one day become very ill from the black mold, and we might even die. She said that she had never had post-nasal drip before working there, but since she had started her job, she experienced it every day. She also said that the office was the only place she ever had to sneeze.


@JaneAir - That's terrible. I have allergies myself, so I feel your pain. My allergies are pretty well controlled with antihistamines though.

I actually had a good friend that had to quit her office job because of her allergies! Once she realized that she was only feeling experience the post nasal drip at the office she asked her office manager to arrange to have the office cleaned and the air ducts looked. The office manager refused! She said it would be too costly. So my friend got another job.


I have allergies, both seasonal and otherwise, so I'm very familiar with the symptoms of post nasal drip. It's horrible!

One other thing, besides all the post nasal drip symptoms, is that I usually get an upset stomach too! Gross as this is, my doctor told me it's from all the phlegm dripping down your throat and being swallowed into the stomach. So unpleasant.

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    • Seasonal allergies can cause post nasal drip.
      By: luna
      Seasonal allergies can cause post nasal drip.
    • A dry cough is a common symptom of post-nasal drip.
      By: Ljupco Smokovski
      A dry cough is a common symptom of post-nasal drip.
    • Constant exposure to cigarette smoke may cause chronic post-nasal drip.
      By: gcpics
      Constant exposure to cigarette smoke may cause chronic post-nasal drip.
    • Both smokers and people who have been exposed to secondhand smoke may develop chronic post-nasal drip.
      Both smokers and people who have been exposed to secondhand smoke may develop chronic post-nasal drip.
    • Recurring permanent allergies usually come from irritants found inside the home.
      By: Ilike
      Recurring permanent allergies usually come from irritants found inside the home.