Some daily sinus drainage is normal. The sinuses produce a small amount of mucus every day, which may drain through the nose or down the back of the throat. However, when the sinuses become inflamed due to a cold, bacterial infection, or allergies, the drainage may increase significantly. Sinus drainage symptoms are easy to observe.
Sinus Drainage Symptoms
Sinus drainage normally relieves the sinuses and helps the body’s immune system fight infection. However, severe drainage may cause pain or discomfort, particularly in and around the throat and nose. Severe sinus drainage symptoms include:
- Post-Nasal Drip – Post-nasal drip occurs when mucus drips from the sinuses to the back of the throat and collects there. One of the ways your sinuses drain normally is through the throat and down into the stomach. However when mucus becomes especially thick it may stick in the back of the throat. This can cause a cough or a sore throat. If you notice a thick phlegm or mucus in the back of the throat, you’re likely experiencing a post-nasal drip.
- Coughing / Sore Throat – As indicated above, coughing and sore throats are common sinus drainage symptoms. Because your mucus may contain bacteria or allergens, your throat may become itchy or painful.
- Sneezing – Sneezing is another common symptom. When mucus collects in the nose and the smaller sinus cavities near the nose, your body will expel viruses or bacteria by sneezing.
- Runny Nose – Just like sneezing, a runny nose is one of the body’s ways of expelling mucus and the bacteria or viruses that the mucus has trapped.
- Bad Breath – Sometimes, sinus problems can cause bad breath. Your mucus traps viruses and bacteria which will begin to break down, causing a bad odor.
These symptoms can usually be alleviated or stopped altogether with over-the-counter medicines or home remedies. See my article on How to Stop Sinus Drainage for more information.