Common health issue

What is Catarrh? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment Methods.

What is Catarrh?

It is the medical term for the growth of mucus in the back of the nose, throat, or sinuses. Sometimes, health consultants may refer to catarrh as postnasal drip. Often, the catarrh is the outcome of an intermittent or temporary illness, like an allergy or cold. However, it typically moves away once the illness has passed.

However, some people may feel chronic catarrh that persists for months or even years. It is not usually an objective for concern, but it can be a nuisance to live with.

What is it?

The term “catarrh”, relates to a buildup of mucus in the back of the nose, throat, or sinuses. Mucus is a slippery, fluid-type substance that the mucus glands in the nose and throat make. However, it supports moisten the nasal passages while catching any debris, viruses, or bacteria a person inhales. This supports treat pathogens from obtaining into the body, where they could cause an infection.

The body builds 1-2 quarts of mucus every day. After production, the mucus splashes down the back of the nose and into the throat. Usually, people facile the mucus without thinking about it. However, sometimes, the mucus can increase in the nose, throat, or sinuses.


However, some familiar symptoms of catarrh may include:-

  • A tickling feeling of mucus clearing into the throat
  • Rasping or gurgling when talking time
  • Feeling as though there is a lump in the throat
  • Having to limpid the throat frequently
  • Coughing
  • Having to swallow frequently
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A sore throat
  • A stuffy nose
  • A headache
  • Facial pain
  • A loss of taste or smell
  • sleep difficulty


However, there are several potential causes of postnasal drip. They may include:-

  • Changes in weather situations
  • Eating spicy foods
  • Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis
  • Nonallergic rhinitis
  • Some viruses, like the common cold
  • Sinus infection
  • Nasal polyps
  • Gastroesophageal reflux (GER)
  • Hormone changes during pregnancy time
  • Certain medications

In the case of a child, having something stuck in the nose is a familiar cause of catarrh.

When to see a doctor

A patient should visit their consultant if they feel chronic catarrh that has persisted for several months or more, or if they find that catarrh is obstructing their everyday life. People should also seek health support if catarrh is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:-

  • Hay fever
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blood in the mucus
  • Foul-smelling mucus


A person who feels chronic catarrh may need to visit a consultant to establish the cause. During the consultation, the consultant will query the person about their symptoms. However, they will desire to rule out the following potential causes:-

  • Bacterial infections
  • Allergies
  • Nasal polyps
  • GER or GERD

The health consultant may seek inside the person’s nose or throat using a small hand-held torch. Sometimes, an x-ray or endoscopy may be compulsory for the consultant to take a closer look inside these structures. An endoscopy is a method that uses a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope.


Catarrh is a symptom with a fundamental cause, and it is typically harmless. However, a patient may seek treatment for the cause of persistent catarrh that is related to pain, discomfort, or irritation.

Over-the-counter treatments

However, some over-the-counter (OTC) treatments for catarrh may include:-

  • Nasal irritation
  • Oral decongestants, like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) or phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine)
  • Mucus-thinning medications, like guaifenesin (Mucinex)
  • Antihistamines, to treat allergic causes of catarrh
  • Pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to support ease headaches or facial pain

Home treatments

The following home treatments may support loosen catarrh so that it is easier to expel:-

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Using an indoor humidifier
  • Inhaling the steam during a hot bath
  • Gargling with warm saltwater
  • Using a saltwater solution to wash the insides of the nostrils
  • Sleeping on underlay pillows

Prescription medication

If a person has this effect, their consultant may suggest ipratropium (Atrovent) or beclomethasone (Beconase), and triamcinolone (Nasacort). However, Atrovent is a nasal spray that decreases the amount of mucus the body makes. Beconase and Nasacort are steroid sprays that can support ease the symptoms of chronic catarrh.