Most people have occasionally suffered from nasal congestion at some point in life. These occasional bouts are often the result of allergies, irritants, or the common cold. Facial pressure or a loss of taste may accompany the congestion. While these events are usually short-lived, numerous other conditions may cause you to experience long-term nasal congestion. Here are a few of them.
- Deviated Septum
A deviated septum occurs when the cartilage and bone separating your nasal cavity into your two nostrils is off-center. This deviation is a prevalent condition affecting up to 80% of the general population, and it can be caused by:
- Contact sports
The deviation makes one nostril larger than the other. Many people do not even realize they have this condition because it causes them no issues at all. But other people can sometimes experience a host of problems, including some of the following:
- Nasal congestion on one or both sides
- Facial pain
A deviated septum can also lead to recurring sinus infections and sleep apnea.
- Nasal Polyps
Nasal polyps are soft noncancerous growths of your nasal lining or mucous membranes. They may hang down or appear as small cysts. These growths are often the result of infection or allergy-induced infections but could have other causes, including the following:
- Hay fever
- Cystic fibrosis
- Allergies to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Churg-Strauss syndrome can also cause nasal polyps. This condition is a relatively rare disorder that causes inflammation of your blood vessels, which can ultimately restrict blood flow, leading to tissue damage.
- Overuse of Decongestant Nasal Sprays
If you are like many people, you reach for an over-the-counter nasal spray at the first sign of nasal congestion. Many of these sprays can often provide you with almost instant relief.
Using certain nasal sprays daily is okay and even recommended. Some of these include:
- Nasal steroid sprays
- Antihistamine sprays
- Saline nasal sprays
But not all nasal sprays are equal, and some may cause more harm than good, especially if you overuse them. Some can be habit-forming and can even cause you to have rebound congestion from their overuse. Your body can become dependent on them. Manufacturers market these sprays as decongestant nasal sprays, and you should use them at most three or four days at a time.
Decongestant sprays work by narrowing the blood vessels in your nose, reducing inflammation and congestion. But when you overuse them and then stop, your nasal passages re-swells, which results in your nasal congestion returning.
Using a decongestant nasal spray for an extended period can make it very difficult to wean yourself off the spray. You may require medical supervision to taper you off using other medications or treatments.
- Nonallergic Rhinitis
Sometimes nasal congestion and other allergy-related symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, or a running or drippy nose are unrelated to allergies. Many various triggers can cause your condition. Some of these triggers may include:
- Changing weather
- Air irritants
- Other health issues
Doctors often diagnose nonallergic rhinitis by ruling out all the allergens that could cause your symptoms. The doctor does this through allergy skin testing, blood testing, or food or drug challenges. Nonallergic rhinitis often does not present with the itchy eyes, nose, and throat that allergic rhinitis often presents with.
If you find yourself repeatedly congested, which does not resolve with conservative over-the-counter treatments, you need to seek help from GNO Snoring & Sinus. We offer state-of-the-art office-based treatments for many ear, nose, and throat conditions that may be causing your congestion or other conditions. Call and schedule an appointment and let us help you start breathing better.