Sinus drainage may be an annoying problem. But when you
have chronic sinus drainage, it could mean that a sinus infection is the cause.
Chronic Sinus Drainage
Sinus drainage to some extent is a natural part of life. The cells that line
the sinuses normally make mucus and fluid in order to protect it from drying out. The mucus and fluid pass through
holes in the sinuses and end up in the back of the throat and in the nose. Most of the time, we swallow the mucus
and it is no problem.
If, however, the sinus drainage becomes severe and chronic, it can build up or drain out of the
nose or back down the throat and can become irritating. There are several things that can cause sinus drainage to
build up or become excessive:
- Sinus infection
- Bacterial infections
- Viral infections
- Fumes that are irritating
You can get an increase in sinus drainage by eating spicy foods or by taking in an irritating
smell through your nose. The glands in the nose that react to irritating chemicals increase the production of
watery fluid that is a lot like saliva in terms of its texture. These glands do this in order to try and wash away
the irritant chemical so inflammation doesn’t occur. You feel this fluid run down the back of the throat or pass
through the nose. When the irritant is not present anymore, the drainage stops.
There are two major types of sinuses that can cause sinus drainage. These include the ethmoid
sinuses and the maxillary sinuses.The ethmoid sinuses are located in the area above and between your eyes and drain
into the upper nasal passages. The maxillary sinuses are located in the cheeks on either side of the nose.
They drain into the middle and back of the nose and drain into the back of the throat or through
the front of the nose, depending on your positioning and the amount of sinus drainage.
The maxillary sinuses are much bigger than the ethmoid sinuses and you feel pain in your cheeks
if they become irritated.
If any one of the ethmoid sinus becomes inflamed, you experience pain between your eyes and just
above your eyes.
Bacterial or Viral Infections
Other causes of sinus drainage that is excessive are bacterial infections or viral infections,
such as when you have the cold, flu or bacteria in the sinuses. The sinus drainage in these cases can be thick and
may not drain properly. The drainage might become infected with bacteria and will stagnate in the sinuses or in the
nasal passages. If a bacterium is the cause of the infection, there will be a bad odor to the nasal drainage and it
will be yellow or green in color. It can drain into the back of the throat and can get into the lungs, causing
pneumonia or tracheitis. Tracheitis is an infection of the trachea or wind pipe.
Allergic Reactions that cause Sinus
Allergens, including those like pollens or dust particles, can cause abnormal drainage from the
sinuses. The nasal passages become inflamed or just irritated because of the allergic substance. It is a natural
response of the body to an allergen to make the irritation occur. The throat can swell in certain circumstances. If
the throat swells, the drainage has no place to go and it comes out of the nose or is spit out of the mouth. It can
contribute to blockage of the airways and death. Excessive mucus production can contribute to a sinus headache,
sneezing and drainage from the nose, which is usually clear.
Sinus Drainage Treatment
There are several medications available for excessive sinus drainage. What you use depends on
the type of sinus drainage you have. If you have allergies as a cause of sinus drainage, you can try taking an
antihistamine like Claritin, Zyrtec, or Benadryl. These slow down the allergic process and prevent you from making
mucus in response to the allergen. You can also take guaifenesin.
This is a mucolytic agent that thins the mucus in the sinuses so you drain the drainage from
your sinuses easier. Decongestants are used to dry up the nasal mucus. One of the problems with taking
decongestants is that it can just thicken the nasal congestion or sinus congestion, making it harder to drain out
the mucus. Bacterial infections can take over when the nasal congestion is stagnant. It could backfire on you.Pain
relievers like Tylenol, ibuprofen or naproxen can take care of the pain associated with sinus backup and sinus
Home Remedies for Sinus Drainage
You can also use a Neti Pot, which uses saline solution to drain the nasal passages and sinuses
of nasal and sinus drainage. It is used by tipping the solution from the pot into one nostril and tipping the head
so natural sinus drainage flows out of the other nostril. The solution thins the mucus
and allows it to drain nicely from the nasal passages.