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Suggest remedy for drainage at back of throat and vomiting sensation

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Posted on Fri, 26 Jun 2015
Question: It happens frequently that I get some drainage in the back of my throat and the sensation of it being there makes me vomit. Sometimes it's on an empty stomach, just mucous and bile, sometimes I'll lose my whole dinner.
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Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Nettipot, antihistamine or decongestant (or both), nasal steroid spray.

Detailed Answer:
I do know first hand how uncomfortable that is to have drainage down the throat (and end up vomiting).

There is a cranial nerve (vagus nerve) that runs down the back of the throat and when stimulated can cause the vomit reflex.

So what to do about it? I'd address what is causing the frequent post nasal drainage.

1. Do you think you may be allergic to something? It is grass pollen season right now, but there are all year things people are allergic to also, such as indoor dust mites and molds. You can try an over the counter antihistamine such as Zyrtec (generic is cetirizine) or non-sedating Claritin.

2. If it is a residual symptom from a recent upper respiratory infection/cold or sinus infection, a decongestant might help. Phenylephrine is mild and not as stimulating as pseudoephedrine, but the later may help dry things up more. Both are over the counter but by law you need to ask the pharmacist for the Pseudoephedrine.

There are also combinations of both which can be helpful such as Zyrtec-D and Claritin-D.

3. A nasal corticosteroid spray such as Flonase can help stop the drainage. It may take a few days to reach it's maximum effect. It is good for decreasing the inflammatory response in either infection or allergy.

4. If you are having signs of a persistent infection such as discolored discharge from nose or throat - all day (not just when you get up in morning), low grade fevers, fatigue, sinus area pressure, and this has been going on for 2-3 weeks, you may need an antibiotic to help get rid of a possible infection.

5. A nettipot/saline irrigation can help too. You can buy a nettipot and pre made salt packets with instructions at drug stores. This will probably not eliminate the cause but can wash out mucus, germs, and allergens. If you use a nettipot and nasal steroid spray, separate them by at least an hour as the irrigation will just make the nasal spray medicine drip down to your stomach where you don't want it.

I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if there is anything I can clarify.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3138 Questions

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Suggest remedy for drainage at back of throat and vomiting sensation

Brief Answer: Nettipot, antihistamine or decongestant (or both), nasal steroid spray. Detailed Answer: I do know first hand how uncomfortable that is to have drainage down the throat (and end up vomiting). There is a cranial nerve (vagus nerve) that runs down the back of the throat and when stimulated can cause the vomit reflex. So what to do about it? I'd address what is causing the frequent post nasal drainage. 1. Do you think you may be allergic to something? It is grass pollen season right now, but there are all year things people are allergic to also, such as indoor dust mites and molds. You can try an over the counter antihistamine such as Zyrtec (generic is cetirizine) or non-sedating Claritin. 2. If it is a residual symptom from a recent upper respiratory infection/cold or sinus infection, a decongestant might help. Phenylephrine is mild and not as stimulating as pseudoephedrine, but the later may help dry things up more. Both are over the counter but by law you need to ask the pharmacist for the Pseudoephedrine. There are also combinations of both which can be helpful such as Zyrtec-D and Claritin-D. 3. A nasal corticosteroid spray such as Flonase can help stop the drainage. It may take a few days to reach it's maximum effect. It is good for decreasing the inflammatory response in either infection or allergy. 4. If you are having signs of a persistent infection such as discolored discharge from nose or throat - all day (not just when you get up in morning), low grade fevers, fatigue, sinus area pressure, and this has been going on for 2-3 weeks, you may need an antibiotic to help get rid of a possible infection. 5. A nettipot/saline irrigation can help too. You can buy a nettipot and pre made salt packets with instructions at drug stores. This will probably not eliminate the cause but can wash out mucus, germs, and allergens. If you use a nettipot and nasal steroid spray, separate them by at least an hour as the irrigation will just make the nasal spray medicine drip down to your stomach where you don't want it. I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if there is anything I can clarify.