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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rhinitis (Runny Nose) & Post-Nasal Drip

Learn something new as often as you can...

Rhinitis, commonly known as a runny nose, is the medical term describing irritation and inflammation of some internal areas of the nose. The primary symptom of rhinitis is nasal dripping. It is caused by chronic or acute inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose due to viruses, bacteria or irritants. The inflammation results in the generating of excessive amounts of mucus, commonly producing the aforementioned runny nose, as well as nasal congestion and post-nasal drip (PND) --- {Does 'PND' equal 'Dried Mucus'?} Rhinitis has also been found to adversely affect more than just the nose, throat, and eyes. It has been associated with sleeping problems, ear conditions, and even learning problems. Rhinitis is caused by an increase in histamine. This increase is most often caused by airborne allergens. These allergens may affect an individual's nose, throat, or eyes and cause an increase in fluid production within these areas.

Post-nasal drip (PND) occurs when excessive mucus is produced by the sinuses. The excess mucus accumulates in the throat or back of the nose. {Ok, maybe 'PND' does NOT exactly equal 'Dried Mucus', or does it? Hmm...} It can be caused by rhinitis (allergic or non-allergic), sinusitis (acute or chronic), laryngopharyngeal acid reflux (with or without heartburn), or by a disorder of swallowing (such as an esophageal motility disorder). It is frequently caused by allergies, which may be seasonal or persistent through the year, depending on the allergen(s) involved. Birth control pills or pregnancy can also cause post-nasal drip because of the elevated levels of estrogen hormones.

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