Nasal discharge

  • Definition

    Nasal discharge is any mucous-like material that comes out of the nose.

    Alternative Names

    Runny nose; Postnasal drip; Rhinorrhea


    Nasal discharge is common, but rarely serious. Drainage from swollen or infected sinuses may be thick or discolored.

    Excess mucous may run down the back of your throat (postnasal drip) or cause a cough that is usually worse at night. A sore throat may also result from too much mucous drainage.

    The mucous drainage may plug up the eustachian tube between the nose and the ear, causing an ear infection and pain. The mucous drip may also plug the sinus passages, causing sinus infection and pain.

    Common Causes
    • Bacterial infections
    • Colds
    • Flu
    • Hay fever
    • Head injury
    • Nasal sprays
    • Sinusitis
    • Small objects in the nostril (especially in children)