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Julia Kizhner
Julia Kizhner, Physician Assistant
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1126
Experience:  7 years experience working in Primary Care as well as Gastroenterology, Sleep Medicine & Weight Loss
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Julia only........Hey Julia, can sinus drainage cause you to

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Julia only........Hey Julia, can sinus drainage cause you to cough when you eat & drink? I notice that when my aunt has a bout of crying through the night or day when her legs are hurting. She seems to cough after she eats. She doesn't know how to blow her nose, rarely I can get her too. When she had a bad cold I had to use one of those baby things to get all the snot it suctions it in that little tube. Now it comes out in a glob when she will be sitting up at times. I just keep wiping it away when I can't get her to blow. I hope you aren't eating lunch I don't want to turn your stomach. I just wondered if that sinus drainage could be in the back of her throat more at those times after she cries & the food & drink makes her cough. I know I have sinus drainage all the time & some times my throat will get crackly after I eat or drink. I know with my aunt she can aspirate, but I was wondering if the same thing could happen with her with the sinus drainage. 

Hi Beth,

I am eating lunch but I am not grossed out :) Believe me, I have seen and heard much worse things that snot :)


Sinus drainage can cause a cough. Some people get very runny nose when they eat and there is nothing there that can help. I think it some kind of reaction to the smell of food that makes people have this clear drainage. In your aunt's case, it is possible that the drainage is going in the back of her throat and is making her cough. When we cry, we also have more nasal discharge because the tear ducts are connected with the entire nose system, so yes, she can cough more if she is getting drainage to the back of her throat.


With the sinus drainage your aunt shouldn't aspirate but the snot can go into the lungs and cause bronchitis.


What you can do is use Saline nasal rinses. They get so much stuff out of the sinus, you wouldn't believe. Its just sterile water (not medicated) and it is easy to use.


But, honestly, if your aunt has not had a swallowing evaluation done, she should especially if she coughs often while eating. I think it has more to do with her swallowing than drainage but the only way to tell is to do a swallowing test. If she does have some problems with swallowing (while eating), swallowing test will help in figuring out how to position her head/neck in the best way to avoid throat irritation.



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Julia,

She had a swallowing evaluation awhile back a couple times. But she is very snotty this morning you can hear it in her throat & nose. She doesn't cough all the time with eating, I just noticed it is when she has been crying & her nose is stuffy that she coughs & has that crackling noise.
Yes, if she has a lot of mucus in her sinuses and nose, it will definitely drain down her throat, especially since she doesn't blow it out. Try that saline nasal rinse, it works great for sinus drainage. It might be easier to use then the suction you tried. You can also ask her doctor to prescribe her a nasal spray called Nasonex or Flonase. Its a steroid spray that you can use once or twice a day which will help keep her sinuses dry.
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