Nasal congestion is a very common condition. In fact, most people get a stuffy nose from time to time. Although annoying, it is rarely serious.
Nasal congestion can develop when the blood vessels inside the nose become inflamed and the nasal tissues swell. Excess mucus drainage may also occur with a stuffy nose.
This article will look at possible treatments for a stuffy nose.
A stuffy nose can make people feel awful. Those who are all stuffed up want relief quickly so that they can breathe easily again. Fortunately, there are many treatments for a stuffy nose, ranging from home remedies to medications.
In many cases, nasal congestion is only a temporary problem. So what causes that stuffed up feeling? Some of the following conditions can lead to a stuffy nose:
The common cold, which is due to a viral infection, is one of the most common causes of a stuffy nose. There are several viruses that can cause a cold, with the rhinovirus being the most common.
In addition to a stuffy nose, a cold may also cause sneezing, sore throat, and cough.
Allergic rhinitis occurs when the body's immune system overreacts to a substance that is usually not harmful. Common triggers of allergic rhinitis include pollen, dust, and pet dander.
Besides a stuffy nose, symptoms may include sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy eyes. It's not clear why some people develop allergic rhinitis, but having a family history of allergies is a risk factor.
Occupational rhinitis is similar to allergic rhinitis. It can develop when someone has a reaction to a substance in their work environment. Symptoms may include stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and coughing. People who work around chemicals, wood dust, and grain may be at an increased risk of developing occupational rhinitis.
Pregnancy affects many parts of the body, and that can include the nose. During pregnancy, hormones including progesterone and estrogen increase. The rise in hormones along with increased blood flow can cause swelling of the mucous membranes inside the nose. Symptoms may include stuffy nose and sneezing.
Pregnancy rhinitis can occur at any time during pregnancy. Symptoms usually go away shortly after delivery.
Atrophic rhinitis occurs when there is thinning and hardening of the mucous membranes inside the nose. The thinning tissues make it easier for bacteria to grow and lead to an infection. Crusts also may form inside the nose.
The condition is most common in people who have had multiple nose surgeries.
When someone has a stuffy nose, it may be accompanied by other symptoms. It's common to also have sneezing and a dripping nose. Nasal congestion can also lead to a headache in some people.
Although it can be uncomfortable, a stuffy nose is nothing to worry about in most cases. Still, there may be times when it's best to see a doctor, such as if symptoms don't seem to be going away.
The amount of time it takes for symptoms to improve may depend on the cause but most people recover from a cold in about 10 days. If symptoms continue for more than 10 days, it may be time to see a doctor.
Addition symptoms to watch for that may signal something more serious than a stuffy nose include:
- green mucus draining from the nose
- facial pain
- pain in the ear
- chest tightness
People who develop any of the symptoms above may want to see their doctor to rule out a bacterial infection or any other complication.