ClariFix and Postnasal Drip: The Complete Guide
A runny nose and postnasal drip can make your life miserable. Carrying tissues with you everywhere you go, constantly blowing your nose, people looking at you like you have the plague: it’s not anyone’s idea of a good time!
But when these symptoms continue for months (or even years), they can affect every aspect of your life. Your nose is red and raw. Allergy medication isn’t delivering the promised results, but you keep hoping. In the meantime, these meds come with a long list of side effects.
You know it’s not a serious health problem, but the physical discomfort begins to affect your mood. You feel like you’re stuck with these symptoms forever.
What Is Postnasal Drip?
Mucus is a wet, slippery substance that’s constantly produced by membranes in various areas of the body. Mucus keeps the body moist and helps prevent viruses and bacteria from causing infections.
The nose produces mucus continually. Usually, because the back of the nose is connected to the throat, this mucus slides down the throat without you ever noticing.
Sometimes, though, you do notice. You feel like you always need to clear your throat or like mucus is constantly building up in your throat. This is postnasal drip.
The feeling of postnasal drip can stem from two causes:
- Excessive mucus production in the nose.
- Difficulty clearing a normal amount of mucus from the throat.
When a patient comes in complaining of postnasal drainage, the mystery we must solve is this: Is this patient’s problem originating in the nose or in the throat?
Problem in the Nose: Excessive Mucus Production
Sometimes the nose produces excess mucus. This may be as a normal response to a cold or other infection, or to changes in the weather or allergens. Whatever the cause, people experiencing excessive mucus production often need to blow their noses frequently and may have an irritated throat from all the drainage.
When the excess mucus outlasts any infection and becomes a chronic problem, your throat may feel irritated all the time or you may have a chronic runny nose. This could be from overactive nerves in the back of the nose continuing to send signals to the body to produce more mucus than necessary.
Problem in the Throat: Difficulty Clearing the Throat
Not all bothersome postnasal drip is due to excessive mucus. Some patients have difficulty clearing their throat of even normal amounts of drainage. These patients often have a constant urge to clear their throat due to laryngopharyngeal reflux or side effects from a medication.
What Is ClariFix?
ClariFix is a minimally-invasive outpatient procedure performed in the office. ClariFix uses cryoablation (freezing) to target overactive parasympathetic nerves in the back of the nose. This freezing makes the nerves less active and helps reduce mucus production.
What Is ClariFix for Postnasal Drip?
ClariFix is a short procedure performed in the office by an ENT doctor. They use a local anesthetic, so you’re awake for the process. The procedure itself only takes a few minutes.
Your physician uses a thin tube with a small light and camera, called an endoscope, to guide the placement of the ClariFix device in the back of the nose. The ClariFix device then applies cryotherapy to the overactive nerves in the back of the nose.
You may feel a little pressure or a cold sensation during the procedure, but you shouldn’t feel any pain.
Recovery time after the procedure is minimal, often only one day. You may deal with increased congestion for a short time after the procedure due to normal post-procedure swelling. Most patients begin to experience long-term relief from their postnasal drip within two to six weeks after the ClariFix procedure.
ClariFix only works in patients with postnasal drip that comes from the nose. For example, since this procedure targets overactive nerves in the back of the nose, it wouldn’t be helpful for someone who has difficulty clearing their throat due to reflux. Consult with your ENT doctor to determine if you would benefit from ClariFix.
What Are the Benefits of ClariFix Over Other Alternatives?
When compared with antihistamines, nasal sprays, and other home remedies, the benefits of ClariFix last much longer. Antihistamines last only a short time and can have unpleasant side effects, such as sleepiness, dizziness, and dry eyes, nose, and mouth. Such excessive drying can even make you prone to infection!
ClariFix, however, is well-tolerated and long-lasting. It permanently stops your runny nose and drainage after a brief period of post-procedure healing.
Dealing With Chronic Postnasal Drip?
At ENT Associates of Lubbock, we can help you find the root of your postnasal drip issues and determine if ClariFix would be the right treatment option for you.
If you’re tired of managing chronic postnasal drip on your own, give us a call to set up a consultation with one of our ENT specialists. We look forward to hearing from you!
Dr. Scolaro is a board-certified Otolaryngologist servicing the South Plains area. He has been practicing in Lubbock since 1990 and has earned a reputation as a skilled and experienced surgeon. He currently serves as the Medical Director for Covenant High Plains Surgery Center campuses, is a member of Covenant Health Partners and is an adjunct faculty professor for Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. Learn more about Dr. Scolaro.