Catarrh is a term often used by patients to denote a feeling of something running down the back of the throat. It can relate to several problems such as:
- Chronic allergic or non-allergic rhinitis – in this condition excess mucus is produced in the nose and flows backwards into the throat.
- Chronic rhinosinusitis – this is a infection of the nose and sinuses that usually follows a cold but doesn’t resolve. It produces a chronic output of infected mucus which leaves the nose to run down the throat.
The difference between these two conditions is that in rhinitis the patient usually reports clear or white mucus in the back of the throat. In rhinosinusitis the infection usually means that the mucus is yellow or green. In both conditions it is typical for the patient to need to clear their throat on waking as secretions overnight tend to accumulate in the back of the nasopharynx. Both conditions can lead to, or exacerbate, snoring.
Another cause of catarrh can be oversensitivity of the throat. Smokers often suffer from producing thicker mucus and a chronic inflammation of the lining of the nose and throat and so are often aware of catarrh due to both oversensitivity and thicker mucus.
In non-smokers, reflux from the stomach of acid, and/or enzymes can be responsible for the throat reacting badly to normal mucus. This again produces the feeling of a stream of mucus going down the throat and is described as catarrh.
A history of the condition is first required following which investigations such as allergy testing and fibreoptic examination of the nose and throat can be performed. Both of these procedures are performed in the outpatient clinic. In many cases the solution is medication rather than surgery and is usually successful.
If you would like to arrange a consultation with Mr Banerjee to look into this condition further please contact us.