In this blog, we will see the relation of postnasal drip and associated chronic symptoms of asthma and how asthma may improve with improvement in postnasal drip.
Chronic cough is one of the important symptoms in the patient with chronic asthma in association with wheezing and shortness of breath. More than one-third of patients with chronic asthma have associated postnasal drip and/or sinus congestion, which is present most of the days in a week. There may be a variation in seasonal pattern where it may exacerbate more in the spring and the fall, and may be less in the summer. Any associated infection, exposure to chemicals, dust, or perfumes may exacerbate the nasal symptoms and may further increase the need of rescue inhaler for a patient with chronic asthma.
The treatment of postnasal drip may vary from use of inhaled steroids to simple measures like Neti Pot, sinus rinse, or saline spray. Many patients have allergies to cats, rugs, birds, pollen, etc., and avoiding the allergens may further help decrease the sinus symptoms.
Many patients have associated constipation or irregular bowel movement or may have GERD-like symptoms. With improvement in regular bowel movement, the gastrocolic reflex decreases and thereby many chronic asthmatic patients may experience some improvement in the sinus symptoms.
The association of postnasal drip and GERD has a relation with control of asthma symptoms. In the previous blog, the relationship of GERD symptoms and asthma has been discussed. If one is experiencing either of these symptoms or its combination, the control of one of these symptoms may further help to control asthma. There is a significant relation between persistent postnasal drip and difficulty controlling asthma symptoms with increase need of a rescue inhaler.
Some simple breathing techniques like alternated nostril breathing, slow deep breathing exercises, and healing breath exercises may help to improve nasal symptoms and thereby improve the airflow through both nostrils, which improves the sense of well being in many asthmatic patients because of improvement of breathing. This will further help in decreasing the chest symptoms, nighttime wheezing and cough.
In a patient with chronic asthma, if they get a sinus infection, this
needs to be treated on an urgent basis and many may require 2 to 3 weeks of
antibiotics. Regular use of Neti Pot or sinus rinse in many patients with chronic sinus congestion may help keep the nasal passages open and thereby decrease asthma flareup. Many factors exacerbate asthma, and nasal sinus congestion or postnasal drip is among them so by improving the symptoms it may help in controlling asthma.