Ok, you have just been diagnosed by your doctor that you have a post-nasal drip – an overproduction of mucus which drains into the throat. As a singer or someone who uses their voice as a work tool this is a nuisance as it can affect your voice particularly if you are constantly clearing your throat or your irritated, uncomfortable or sore throat causes you to cough a lot. Postnasal drip can impact the quality of your voice by irritating the vocal folds, increasing the stiffness of the vocal folds and altering the resonance of your voice. It can also increase the thickness of your mucus, which may lead to throat clearing. Not good, as excessive clearing of the throat can lead to vocal fold swelling and irritation.
Now you question how to manage this condition so you have optimum vocal health and have quality of life in general. Your doctor will help you understand the causes of your symptoms and help to find the best care for you and your voice.
I would like to share what has worked for me personally and for my pupils who have a post nasal drip as some of the medications are too drying in the mouth, sinuses and throat .
Firstly, every morning when my post nasal drip is particularly bad I do a steam inhalation treatment (head over a bowl filled with boiling water and 2 drops of eucalyptus oil - a towel over my head and the bowl). The eucalyptus scented steam helps to break up mucus in your nose and throat, allowing you to expel it from your body. After a few minutes, expel as much of the mucus as possible by blowing your nose and doing deep coughs / splitting mucus out. Although it can be loud, gross, or embarrassing, letting the mucus out of your body is the best way for getting rid of it.
The next step is what has helped me tremendously – after the steam inhalation I finish with a Betadine Throat Gargle (dilated solution of Iodine – antiviral and antibacterial agent) as warm, moist mucus can be a great environment for bacteria to grow. You can learn more about Betadine Throat Gargle at http://www.betadine.com.au/sore-throat
DO NOT USE THIS GARGLE IF YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO IODINE!
I hope this short article helps you if you do suffer from a post nasal drip. And remember, do see your doctor for a correct diagnosis if you suspect a post nasal drip – this is a vital step towards good vocal health!