Postnasal drip (PND) is a common condition frequently seen by Primary care or ENT Physicians with a prevalence of 40% in the American population. Despite such a high percentage of people suffering from it, not many effective treatment options are available. However, the availability of ClariFix, a cutting-edge, minimally invasive procedure that addresses the problem from its root, provides a promising solution.
Before we discuss how “ClariFix” works, it’s essential to review some basic concepts relating to postnasal drip and its causes.
What is a Postnasal drip (PND)?
Simply put, Postnasal drip refers to the excessive production of mucus by the nasal mucosa which may cause its accumulation in the back of the nose and throat.
Chronic post nasal drip can substantially affect the quality of life as it leads to the constant sensation of having mucus in the throat and subsequently the need for chronic throat clearing.
Some other symptoms commonly associated with PNDS:
Patients with PNDS may present with any of the following symptoms. However, individual cases may vary depending on the etiology and patient’s medical history.
- • Cough
- • Nasal discharge
- • Draining sensation in the throat
- • Constant attempts to clear the nasal passage
- • Congested nasal and sinus passages
- • Frequent spitting
- • Bad breath
- • Difficulty breathing
- • Chronic sore throat
- • Hoarseness
What are the causes of Postnasal drip (PND)?
In most cases, it occurs because of rhinitis or sinusitis, and in rare cases, due to Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or a swallowing disorder. A study was conducted on 100 patients with Postnasal drip to explore the causative factors. It showed that 31% of the cases occurred because of chronic sinusitis, 28% due to allergic rhinitis, and chronic rhinitis was responsible for 22% of the cases. In another 16% of the patients, adenoid vegetation was present while the remaining 3% concurrently suffered from chronic nasopharyngitis.
As evident, rhinitis is the most common cause of chronic postnasal drip. In the next section, we will briefly discuss the types, causes, and symptoms of rhinitis.
It is a common cause of postnasal drip, seen in 10 to 30 percent of all cases, in the United States and other developed countries. In addition to PND, these patients may also experience sneezing, runny nose, nasal itching, and nasal congestion. It occurs due to a sensitivity reaction to allergens such as pollens, dust, or certain chemicals. These allergens activate the immune system and trigger an inflammatory response, resulting in redness and swelling of the nasal membranes.
Nonallergic Rhinitis/Vasomotor Rhinitis:
Although frequently seen in patients, with a prevalence of 10-20%, its etiology is not fully known. Inflammation of nasal mucosa is seen, which usually occurs due to non-infectious agents, other than the allergens or microbes, including cigarette smoke, fumes, and occupational exposure to certain chemicals or food items. Symptoms include nasal congestion, runny nose, consistent PND, and itching that is usually not as predominant as seen in allergic rhinitis.
More than 24 million adults in the US suffer from chronic rhinitis, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is a long-standing condition that causes inflammation of the nasal mucosal lining, resulting in symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and postnasal drip. Postnasal drip is one of the most characteristic symptoms of chronic rhinitis, characterized by excessive mucus production by the nasal mucosa. The mucus keeps accumulating, finally dripping down the back of the nose and into the throat, giving rise to a constant cough or the need to clear the throat repeatedly. Chronic rhinitis is often simultaneously accompanied by sinusitis. Together, both of these conditions can result in marked discomfort, difficulty in breathing, and sleeping, severely compromising the quality of life.
Which options are available for postnasal drip treatment?
Traditionally, postnasal drip symptoms have been treated by medications such as anti-allergy medicines (anti-histamines, such as Zyrtec, etc.), saline rinses, and decongestants in the form of sprays or pills, etc. However, these therapies require daily consumption over the long term and may have side effects. Even then, these may not provide full comfort from the symptoms. Approximately, 2.5 million chronic rhinitis patients are resistant to such forms of medical therapy.
ClariFix can provide relief regardless of the cause and is indicated in all conditions causing the postnasal drip. It can especially benefit those patients who are resistant to medical therapy or suffer from persistent drainage despite adhering to their medical regimen. ClariFix can also lead to reduced medication use as there will be no need to take additional medications to control PND. So, even if the patient is on medical therapy for rhinitis or sinusitis, ClariFix is still recommended as a long-term solution to postnasal drip.
Additionally, in many cases, medical therapy is not the preferable option as it may lead to dependence and resistance. Many patients do not want to rely on medications even if they improve their symptoms. It is especially applicable when the main complaint is postnasal drip and not the other symptoms such as sneezing or itching.
Therefore, ClariFix is recommended as a long-term solution if a patient has persistent postnasal drip despite undergoing medical treatment. Now, let’s take a look at how it works and why it is a preferable solution.
What is ClariFix?
ClariFix is a clinically proven, latest technology in the field of ENT, used for the treatment of postnasal drip. It is based on the principle of cryoablation.
To understand the working mechanism of ClariFix, we need to first look at the disease process. The nasal passages are lined by mucosa, which is innervated by many nerves. Postnasal drip is caused by an imbalance in the function of these nerves. The nerves become overactive, and send continuous signals to the glands in the nasal lining. This causes inflammation and excessive mucus production, which then trickles down the throat as a postnasal drip.
Using the ClariFix cryosurgical technique, liquid nitrogen is applied to the hyperactive nerve endings responsible for the overstimulation of nasal glands. It cools or "freezes" them, interrupting the signals. In this way, over secretion of mucus and resultantly post nasal drip symptoms are controlled.
ClariFix is a breakthrough in the treatment of chronic rhinitis and postnasal drip. It is especially an excellent choice in patients who are refractory to conventional medication.
Why choose ClariFix?
ClariFix is an excellent choice for the treatment of postnasal drip; here are a few reasons why:
- Rather than providing symptomatic relief, it deals with the root cause of the problem, by directly targeting the out of balance nerves and interrupting their signals.
- It is a minimally invasive procedure with essentially no risk of complications or bleeding.
- It is a quick and painless procedure carried out in the doctor’s office, usually taking no more than 15 minutes. Your ENT doctor will first apply a numbing agent, followed by topical and local anesthesia to ensure you do not feel any pain or discomfort during the treatment.
- It has minimal downtime and quick recovery. If a patient experiences discomfort, it only lasts for a couple of hours and then resolves spontaneously.
- Only mild side effects are reported such as a little discomfort and a transient slight increase in congestion, which resolves on its own. In contrast, more serious side effects are experienced with other medications including but not limited to dryness in nasal passages and throat, nose bleeds, and headache.
- It is a one-time procedure that provides long-lasting relief with maximal benefits seen within a maximum of 6 weeks and a minimum of 2 weeks.
- It has a substantially higher efficacy compared to medical therapy, with reported success in 80% of cases.
- It is a safe procedure approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to treat postnasal drip. Research has shown that there are no adverse effects of ClariFix in the long run.
- It also improves other symptoms of chronic rhinitis such as sneezing, itching, runny nose, and nasal congestion.
- It is fully covered by almost all insurance companies.
Following this one-time procedure, the quality of life significantly improves. You will no longer need to carry around a box of tissues for your runny nose, and you can stop being self-conscious in gatherings and meetings. If you are having a hard time dealing with post nasal drip and other rhinitis symptoms, a better lifestyle indeed awaits you with this therapy. If you want more information about this procedure, or to make an appointment with our doctor for post nasal drip treatment at SugarLand ENT, Texas, call our office now at (209) 362-3311.