Nasal congestion

nasal congestion

Nasal congestion

Nasal congestion is the blockage of the nasal passages usually due to membranes lining the nose becoming swollen from inflamed blood vessels.

Nasal decongestants target the discomfort directly. These come as nasal sprays, inhalers, and as oral pills.

Nasal congestion has many causes and can range from a mild annoyance to a life-threatening condition. Most people prefer to breathe through the nose (historically referred to as "obligate nasal breathers"). Nasal congestion in an infant in the first few months of life can interfere with breastfeeding and cause life-threatening respiratory distress; in older children and adolescents it is often just an annoyance but can cause other difficulties.

Nasal congestion can interfere with hearing and speech. Significant congestion may interfere with sleep, cause snoring, and can be associated with sleep apnea. In children, nasal congestion from enlarged adenoids has caused chronic sleep apnea with insufficient oxygen levels and hypoxia, as well as right-sided heart failure. The problem usually resolves after surgery to remove the adenoids and tonsils, however the problem often relapses later in life due to craniofacial alterations from chronic nasal congestion.

Nasal congestion can also cause mild facial and head pain, and a degree of discomfort, often from allergies or the common cold.


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  • Allergies, like hay fever, allergic reaction to pollen or grass
  • Common cold or influenza
  • Deviated septum
  • Reaction to medication (e.g. Flomax)
  • Rhinitis medicamentosa, a condition of rebound nasal congestion brought on by extended use of topical decongestants (e.g., oxymetazoline, phenylephrine, xylometazoline, and naphazoline nasal sprays)
  • Sinusitis or sinus infection
  • Inversion may cause blood vessels in the nasal passage to inflame.
  • Narrow or collapsing nasal valve
  • Pregnancy may cause women to suffer from nasal congestion due to the increased amount of blood flowing through the body.
  • Nasal polyps
  • Concha bullosa
  • Empty nose syndrome
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (theorized to cause chronic rhinosinusitis- the "airway reflux paradigm")

Nasal obstruction

Nasal obstruction characterized by insufficient airflow through the nose can be a subjective sensation or the result of objective pathology. It is difficult to quantify by subjective complaints or clinical examinations alone, hence both clinicians and researchers depend both on concurrent subjective assessment and on objective measurement of the nasal airway. Often a doctor's assessment of a perfectly patent nasal airway might differ with a patient's complaint of an obstructed nose.

Prevalence of kyphosis has been linked to nasal obstruction in a study.

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The treatment of nasal congestion frequently depends on the underlying cause.

Alpha-adrenergic agonists are the first treatment of choice. They relieve congestion by constricting the blood vessels in the nasal cavity, thus resulting in relieved symptoms. Examples include oxymetazolineand phenylephrine.

Both influenza and the common cold are self-limiting conditions that improve with time; however, drugs such as acetaminophen (paracetamol), aspirin, and ibuprofen may help with the discomfort.

A cause of nasal congestion may also be due to an allergic reaction caused by hay fever, so avoiding allergens is a common remedy if this becomes a confirmed diagnosis. Antihistamines and decongestants can provide significant symptom relief although they do not cure hay fever. Antihistamines may be given continuously during pollen season for optimum control of symptoms. Topical decongestants should only be used by patients for a maximum of 3 days in a row, because rebound congestion may occur in the form of rhinitis medicamentosa.

Nasal decongestants target discomfort directly. These come as nasal sprays like naphazoline (Privine), oxymetazoline (Afrin, Dristan, Duramist), as inhalers, or phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine, Sinex, Rhinall) or as oral pills (Bronkaid, Sudafed, Neo-Synephrine, Sinex, Rhinall). Oral decongestants may be used for up to a week without consulting a doctor, but nasal sprays can also cause "rebound" (Rhinitis medicamentosa) and worsen the congestion if taken for more than a few days. Therefore, you should only take nasal sprays when discomfort cannot be remedied by other methods, and never for more than three days.

If an infant is unable to breathe because of a plugged nose, a nasal aspirator may be useful to remove the mucus. The mucus might be thick and sticky, making it difficult to expel from the nostril.

10 common question nabout nasal congestion

1How do you clear up nasal congestion?
Treatments to relieve a stuffy nose Hit the shower. Taking a hot shower can help decrease nasal congestion. ... Try a saline spray. ... Flush out the sinuses. ... Apply a warm compress. ... Try eucalyptus oil. ... Take allergy medicine. ... Use a decongestant. ... Use a humidifier.
2What is best for nasal congestion?
Decongestants . These medicines help reduce the swelling in your nasal passages and ease the stuffiness and sinus pressure. They come as nasal sprays, like naphazoline (Privine), oxymetazoline (Afrin, Dristan, Nostrilla, Vicks Sinus Nasal Spray), or phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine, Sinex, Rhinall).
3What causes nasal congestion?
Causes. Nasal congestion can be caused by anything that irritates or inflames the nasal tissues. Infections — such as colds, flu or sinusitis — and allergies are frequent causes of nasal congestion and runny nose. Sometimes a congested and runny nose can be caused by irritants such as tobacco smoke and car exhaust.
4How long does nasal congestion last?
five to 10 days If your nasal congestion is due to viruses or bacteria, it will likely last as long your cold or flu (anywhere from five to 10 days). If your nasal congestion is the result of allergies, it may last longer.
5How do you unblock your nose fast?
Here are eight things you can do now to feel and breathe better. Use a humidifier. A humidifier provides a quick, easy way to reduce sinus pain and relieve a stuffy nose. ... Take a shower. ... Stay hydrated. ... Use a saline spray. ... Drain your sinuses. ... Use a warm compress. ... Try decongestants. ... Take antihistamines or allergy medicine.
6How do you sleep with a blocked nose?
These time-tested remedies can help you relieve congestion and wind down for the night. Eat chicken noodle soup. Your grandmother's cold remedy might have something to it. ... Drink hot tea. ... Gargle with salt water. ... Try a facial steam. ... Or take a hot shower. ... Use a saline rinse. ... Use a corticosteroid nasal spray.
7Is blowing your nose bad?
Blowing your nose could make you feel worse. That's because you're building up the pressure in your nostrils. This pressure can cause mucus to shoot up into your sinuses, instead of out of your nose. ... Close one nostril at a time and lightly blow through each one.
8Does Vicks on feet work?
There is no direct evidence that putting Vicks VapoRub on the feet will have any benefit. Many people swear by this treatment and are sure that it cures coughs. ... The way that Vicks VapoRub "works" is by inhaling the vapors created by the rub, your brain is tricked into thinking you are breathing more easily.
9What foods cause nasal congestion?
Here is a list of 7 common foods present in every pantry which cause congestion: Refined Sugars. Sugars, when eaten in small amounts, are harmless but when the intake is high, it not only makes you fat but also has inflammation enhancing properties. ... Spicy Foods. ... Milk. ... Tomatoes. ... Wine & Other Alcohols. ... Red Meat. ... Pizza.
10Why does my nose get blocked every night?
Nasal congestion at night can become especially noticeable when you have a cold, the flu or a sinus infection. ... For example, cold, dry air can cause the mucus in your nose to become dry and thick, as well as prevent sinus drainage, causing nasal congestion.


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