- Is your nose frequently stuffy?
- Do you have difficulty breathing through your nose?
- Do you have to sleep with your mouth open?
- Are you unable to get enough air through your nose during exercise?
- Have you experienced 4 or more sinus infections in the past year?
- Do you notice alot of snot to blow out of your nose?
- Do you have constant phlegm or postnasal drip to snort or spit?
- Is your sense of smell less than you wish?
- Does your voice sound like you always have a cold?
- Do you know someone who answers YES to these questions?
About Nasal Congestion
- Nasal stuffiness can make it difficult to breathe through your nose, hard to smell, exercise and even sleep.
- Many different problems can cause a stuffy nose.
- The most frequent cause is the common cold which is usually a viral infection that should pass within a few weeks.
- Infections that last longer than a cold can be due to a bacterial infection of the nose or sinuses.
- Allergies can cause congestion related to environmental exposure.
- In children, chronic congestion can be due to placing an object in the nose which can lead to a foul odor and drainage and must be removed.
- Injury can cause the center of the nose to be crooked which is called a septal deviation and block breathing consistently on one or both sides.
- Chronic swelling can lead to persistent infection (sinusitis) and permanent swelling of the lining called nasal polyps which can lead to more infection.
- Using over the counter decongestant sprays incorrectly can lead to a cycle of severe congestion and decongestion and addiction to those sprays that requires evaluation and treatment by your BCENTS physician.
- The treatments for nasal blockage vary widely and are dependent on the actual cause of the problem.
- The most conservative treatment is to simply wash out your nose with over the counter nasal saline sprays for a viral infection, mild allergy or mild bacterial nasal or sinus infection.
- There are many over the counter products available for viruses and colds as well as allergy treatment.
- Nowadays several different nasal sprays are available over the counter and have different uses and reasons.
- Nasal saline sprays effectively clean the nose out of dirt, debris, allergens and infection.
- Decongestant sprays such as afrin or neosynephrine provide immediate relief of a stuffy nose but should only be used for a few days or can become addictive. This addiction usually requires a medical evaluation and treatment to break the cycle of severe congestion and decongestion.
- Nasal steroid sprays require daily use, proper application and take a longer time to become effective and helpful.
- Prescription nasal sprays are available for topical allergy treatment and chronic runny nose.
- Antibiotics are part of the medical treatment of long term or repeated sinus infections as are oral steroids.
- Physical abnormalities often may require surgery to correct them.
- A crooked nasal septum or septal deviation can be improved with a septoplasty.
- Nasal polyps may require a nasal polypectomy.
- Sinuses which do not improve with maximal medical therapy may require sinus surgery.
- If the outside walls of the nose collapse too easily and improve with Breathe Right strips, a nasal valve implact can permanently improve this problem.
- Because of all the different possible overlapping causes of nasal stuffiness, an evaluation by your Beach Cities ENTS physician is often the best way to understand the problem and find the best solution so you can breathe better.