How to stop sinus drainage is a topic that would interest anyone who knows only too well the discomfort of a never ending cycle of nose blockage and sinus drainage. Read on to discover how to get rid of this problem as well the various medicines and medical procedure commonly used. Home remedies are also listed.
What to Do for Sinus Drainage
What to do for sinus drainage is a question that you may have if this common problem afflicts you.
Intervention revolves around relief of sinus irritation and inflammation and thinning out of mucus that clog the sinus cavities in order to facilitate its outflow through the nose while taking care of other symptoms such as pain. You will also want to eliminate any potential trigger from your environment.
We will discuss specific intervention measures in subsequent sections of this guide.
How to Stop Sinus Drainage and How to Get Rid of Sinus Drainage
Sinus drainage is usually not a health concern but it can make you uncomfortable when it causes throat irritation (sore throat), bad breath, stomach upset, constant cough, or even interferes with your sleep pattern. Here is how to stop sinus drainage should it become intolerable:
Take lots of fluids
Drinking a lot of water and other fluids such as tea, broth, juice etc. is a powerful defense against sinus drainage as it helps to moisten your nasal lining which in turn helps to thin out the offending mucus.
Caffeinated drinks e.g. coffee are however not recommended neither are alcoholic drinks as they can thicken mucus and worsen the condition.
Rest and sleep with your head slightly elevated
Keeping your head propped up while you sleep helps to stop sinus drainage at night. You can either place pillows below your head or place a book or block of wood beneath the legs of your bed. Most people also find sleeping on their side more comfortable than sleeping on their back.
Avoid spicy foods
These foods are known to be common culprits for sinus drainage e.g. garlic. Such foods may offer temporary relief from sinus drainage but they are also known to trigger sinusitis and may be counterproductive in the long run.
Irrigate your nasal passages
Rinsing your nasal passages with a mild salt solution also helps to thin out mucus and relieve symptoms of sinus drainage.
Start by adding a tsp. of salt to a glass of warm water and then transfer it into a Neti pot (or infant aspirator). Next, tilt your head over a sink and pour the solution gently into one of your nostrils while closing the other. Repeat with the second nostril and then finish by blowing your nose.
Stay away from dairy products
Some doctors hold the opinion that taking lots of dairy products when suffering from sinus drainage makes it worse by encouraging excessive mucus production.
Should you stop using dairy products and realize that the problem has completely cleared, chances are that you are allergic to dairy products. Talk to your health care provider about it.
Take lots of rest
Taking lots of rest and avoiding sudden movements will also help in your bid to stop sinus drainage. And don’t forget to keep your head titled by placing a pillow beneath it as you lie down.
Run a humidifier
Keeping the air around your house moist also helps to relieve the symptoms of sinus drainage. This works by keeping the air passages moist which then helps to thin out the mucus in your nasal lining. It is especially important to run a humidifier during winter months.
Clean the air
Sinus drainage caused by allergies can be controlled by purifying the air around your home. Opt for a purifier fitted with the TRUE HEPA filter and a rating of more than 100. It is advisable to place the purifier in your bedroom at night while you sleep.
If allergy induced by environmental allergens such as dust mites is suspected to be the underlying cause for sinus drainage, here are some ways to stop it:
- Cover your pillow case(s) with dust mite-proof covers.
- Wash your beddings regularly in hot water
- Dust and vacuum your floors and mats regularly.
When to see a doctor
It is advisable to schedule an appointment with your doctor in case you:
- Have a green or yellow discharge that last more than 10 days
- Develop signs of infection such as high fever, chills, severe headache, ear pain etc.
- Sinus drainage has resulted after a traumatic injury to the head e.g. from a fall
- The discharge has a foul smell
- The discharge is coming out of one nostril only
Acupressure for Sinus Drainage
Acupressure pressure points have long been used to clear sinus drainage without taking pills or irrigating the nasal cavities. Acupressure points help to drain the lymphatic fluid from congested sinuses.
Common acupressure points used for relief of sinus problems are:
- Either sides of the nose – the small triangle-like area where the cheekbone meets the nasal bone
- Below the cheekbone – move your fingers along the lower edge of the cheekbone until you find a tender, indented spot.
- Lower forehead – the small indentation just above the inner edge of the eyebrows
Just apply pressure on these points for 3 minutes each and you will feel an improvement in sinus drainage.
Sinus Drainage Surgery
Sinus drainage surgery is often required for chronic sinus congestion and related problems. This may for example be necessary to combat triggers such as chronic sinusitis, nasal polyps, deviated septum, etc.
Sinus surgery is usually spared to a treatment of last resort when all other medical interventions have failed. The overall goal of sinus surgery is to restore or improve sinus drainage. The most common procedure is referred to as Endoscopic Sinus Surgery whereby a surgeon inserts a tiny microscope-fitted instrument called endoscope into the patient’s nose.
The instrument allows a clear view into the inside of the nose, allowing the surgeon to remove any blocking tissues as necessary without being as much invasive as is typical of traditional surgical procedures.
Another newer procedure known as balloon catheter dilation involves inserting a tiny balloon into the nostrils after which it is then inflated and finally deflated after it has pushed open the blocked sinuses.
How to Treat Sinus Drainage in Ear or Treatment, Relief of a Draining Sinus
Thick mucus not only causes congestion in the sinuses but may also cause blockage in the Eustachian tube of the ear. This can then lead to ear infections. As for how to treat sinus drainage in ear, taking decongestant medications coupled with ear drops is always a great bet.
Should your ears not respond to these interventions, consider scheduling an appointment with your doctor immediately as you might have already suffered a bacterial infection. Antibiotic medications are usually needed and will most likely be prescribed for such cases.
What to Take for Sinus Drainage or Best Medicine for Sinus Drainage
As for what to take for sinus drainage in as far as medicines are concerned, the best treatment option will vary depending on the underlying cause of the problem. Here are some of the most common medications for treatment of sinus drainage:
If allergy is suspected to be the underlying cause of your sinus drainage, your first step should obviously be to eliminate any suspected allergens from your environment. Potential culprits include pet dander, dust mite, chemicals, and smoke. You can then take over-the-counter antihistamines to alleviate the symptoms.
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is a classic example of an antihistamine medication, but the WebMD website says that it is not the best choice for sinus drainage (post-nasal drip).
Instead, they recommend using the newer antihistamine medicines such as Desloratadine (Clarinex), Fexofenadine (Allegra), Cetrizine (Zyrtec), Loratadine (Alavert) and Levocetirizine (Xyzal). Ask at your local drugstore.
You may also want to take decongestants for sinus drainage. Taking decongestants for more than 3 days is however advised against since it can make the condition worse.
Children under the age of 2 years should also not take decongestants as it makes them prone to a rare, fatal condition that is characterized by swelling of the liver and brain called Reye’s syndrome.
If you have glaucoma, heart disease, high blood pressure, or irregular heartbeat, you should talk to your doctor before taking decongestants. Keep in mind also that decongestants can cause sleeplessness as they act like stimulants.
If bacterial infection is involved, antibiotics are generally used for treatment of sinus drainage. This is true of cases with green or yellow discharge that lasts more than a week.
Keep in mind though that green or yellow color is not necessarily an indication of bacterial infection; common cold (which is a viral infection) can as well make the color of mucus turn to green or yellow.
Saline nasal drops or sprays
Saline nasal sprays are also commonly used for relief of sinus discharge symptoms. They are sold over the counter in most local drugstores. Be sure to follow the instructions provided on the packaging to ensure correct usage. In principle, you will want to close one nostril as you apply the drops to the other.
Mucus thinning medications the likes of Guaifenesin (sold as Mucinex) can also help.
Bringing it all together:
The WebMD website recommends:
- Antihistamines and decongestants for sinus drainage triggered by sinusitis (sinus infection) or viral infection (e.g. common cold).
- Antihistamine, decongestants, and nasal sprays (or steroid medications) for sinus drainage caused by allergies.
Sinus Drainage Remedies, Best Natural Home Remedies
In addition to the treatment and home care measures highlighted in previous sections of this article, you may as well want to try one of the following natural sinus drainage remedies to relieve the symptoms:
Ephedra, peppermint, Goldenseal, Chamomile, Barberry, and Eucalyptus are all excellent natural remedies for sinus discharge. These are typically sold in capsules, tablets, and tinctures, but if you like, you can as well use the herbs to brew hot tea.
Both ways, the ingredients in the herbs work to get rid of the mucus trapped in your throat and sinuses faster and hence stop sinus drainage.
Steam also works wonders for post-nasal drip. This works by warming the air around the nasal and sinus cavities which in turn thins the mucus trapped in there out. The simplest way to achieve this is to spend some time in hot shower.
Alternatively, you can drape yourself with a towel over a basin filled with hot water and then breathe in the air flowing up from the hot water. For even better results, you may consider adding essential oil like eucalyptus oil into the hot water.
For the latter option, you can as well get one of those steam vaporizers that are sold in drugstores.
Finish by blowing your nose to clear it of the accumulated mucus.
Further Recommended Reading on Drainage of Sinus
- Drainage of the Sinus Symptoms, Chronic, Constant Draining with a Cough
- Drainage of Sinus Sore Throat, Symptoms, Infection and Treatment
- Nasal Drainage Symptoms, Causes, Post Nasal, How to Stop this Condition
- Drainage in the Sinus Causes, Green, Yellow, Bloody and Drainage in Ear