Do you find yourself constantly dealing with a stuffy or congested nose? Have you tried various remedies, but the nasal congestion just keeps coming back? If so, you're not alone. Many people experience persistent nasal congestion, and it can be frustrating and uncomfortable.
We have experience with recurrent nasal congestion at Memorial Village Sinus & Hearing in Houston, Texas. In this blog post, Conrad McCutcheon, MD, FACS, explores five common reasons why keep getting congested and what you can do about it.
Sinusitis 一 a condition in which the lining of the sinuses becomes inflamed, leading to nasal congestion, facial pain or pressure, and other symptoms 一 affects 37 million Americans annually.
Chronic sinusitis, meaning the condition lasts for more than 12 weeks, can be caused by bacterial or fungal infections, allergies, or structural issues in your nasal passages. If you’ve been experiencing recurrent nasal congestion, it may be worth exploring whether chronic sinusitis is the underlying cause.
Allergic rhinitis is a common cause of nasal congestion. When you come into contact with an allergen — such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, or mold spores — your immune system may react by releasing histamines and other inflammatory mediators, which can cause inflammation and congestion in your nasal passages.
Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever, can cause recurrent nasal congestion during certain times of the year, while perennial allergies can cause year-round congestion. You may suspect that allergies are to blame if your congestion is also accompanied by sneezing and itchy watery eyes.
Exposure to environmental irritants — such as smoke, strong odors or chemicals, and pollution — can also lead to nasal congestion. These irritants may inflame nasal passages and cause them to swell, resulting in congestion.
Are environmental irritants to blame? They might be if you notice that your congestion worsens in certain environments or when you’re exposed to specific irritants. Try keeping a log of your symptoms and take note of any potential environmental irritants that make your symptoms worse.
Overuse of certain nasal decongestant sprays, such as those containing oxymetazoline or phenylephrine, can cause a rebound effect, leading to recurrent nasal congestion. This condition, known as rhinitis medicamentosa or rebound congestion, can occur when you use these sprays for more than a few days at a time.
Always use medicated sprays as directed. If you've been relying on nasal decongestant sprays frequently and are experiencing recurrent nasal congestion, this could be the cause.
Nasal polyps are noncancerous growths that can develop in the lining of nasal passages or sinuses. These polyps can be obstructive and cause persistent nasal congestion as well as other symptoms.
You might suspect that nasal polyps are to blame for your chronic nasal congestion if you also notice other symptoms such as a reduced sense of smell and taste, facial pain, and postnasal drip.
Get relief from chronic congestion
What can you do if you keep getting congested? The first step is to identify the underlying cause of your nasal congestion. If you suspect that allergies are the culprit, try to identify and avoid allergens that trigger your symptoms.
If your congestion persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it's important to consult with Dr. McCutcheon for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.
Depending on the cause of your congestion, Dr. McCutcheon may recommend:
- Oral antihistamines
- Nasal sprays
- Nasal steroids
- ClariFix® cryotherapy
- VIVAER® nasal airway remodeling
- Surgery to correct anatomical abnormalities or remove polyps.
Don’t let chronic nasal congestion rule your life. Help is just a call or click away. You can reach Memorial Village Sinus & Hearing by calling 281-822-3777 or requesting an appointment online.