Nasal congestion and stuffy noses are the result of irritated or inflamed nasal passages. There are numerous reasons why a nose can get stuffed up, and most of them are not major causes for alarm. If you find nasal congestion to be a constant losing battle, however, it may be time to seek medical attention.
Common causes of a stuffy nose:
More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies every year. Some people suffer from seasonal allergies in the summer or spring because of pollen in the air. Other people may suffer from indoor allergies such as dust mites or pet dander. Symptoms of allergies are similar to that of the common cold such as congestion and a stuffy nose. They can also make the eyes red, itchy and swollen.
Allergies can be treated with medication such as antihistamines like Benadryl or decongestants like Sudafed. There are also long-term treatments for allergies such as immunotherapy through allergy shots.
Cold or flu:
Cold and flu cases are illnesses with similar symptoms, but flu symptoms are typically more severe. Both cause stuffy noses, sneezing and fevers. It is recommended for people, especially seniors, pregnant women, and children under the age of 5 to get a seasonal flu shot to avoid getting sick. Decongestants may help to relieve nasal congestion and stuffy noses once already sick.
Nasal polyps are benign growths that come from the lining tissues of the nose. These growths can block the nasal pathways, and it might feel like a cold that will not go away. When they block the nasal passages, it can result in chronic congestion. Nasal polyps are the result of recurring sinus infections, asthma or allergies like hay fever. Nasal polyps can be treated using medications to shrink their size, or sometimes surgery may be necessary to remove them.
Sinus infections occur when excess mucus buildup causes bacteria to grow in the sinuses. Congestion is the most common symptom associated with sinus infections. People are more susceptible to sinus infections when they have a cold or suffer from allergies. This is because your sinuses have secreted an abundance of mucus for your nasal pathways, and that makes it easier for bacteria to stick and grow.
Decongestants or a humidifier may help to relieve nasal congestion associated with a sinus infection. If the infection does not clear up by itself within a few weeks, antibiotics may be necessary.
A septum is the cartilage that separates the nostrils evenly. Sometimes, the septum can be extremely uneven and lead to difficulty breathing, congestion and a stuffy nose. This condition is referred to as a deviated septum. This condition can also make someone more susceptible to sinus infections.
If a septum is severely deviated and causing issues, surgery may be necessary to treat it. In addition, decongestants and antihistamines can help lessen the symptoms associated with a deviated septum.
Unsure what could be causing your chronic nasal congestion or stuffy nose? Make an appointment today with one of our specialists to find out and get the treatment you need 219-769-6673.