Nasal congestion, commonly known as a nasal blockage, nasal obstruction, or stuffy nose, results from blockage of the nasal passages. This blockage is usually caused by membranes inside the nose becoming inflamed, resulting in swelling.
Nasal congestion has many causes, and can range widely in severity. At a minimum, it can cause mild or moderate face/head pain and discomfort. However, significant congestion can interfere with sleep routines, cause snoring, and can be associated with sleep apnea. In children, congestion may be caused by enlarged adenoids, an indication that the tonsils and/or adenoids should be removed. Other common causes of nasal congestion include (but are not limited to) allergic reactions, hay fever, the common cold, the flu, deviated nasal septum, sinusitis or sinus infection, and nasal polyps.
Treatment of nasal congestion varies depending on the underlying cause of the inflammation. If the congestion is caused by the common cold or the flu, the congestion should be self-limiting and improve with time. If the congestion is caused by allergies or general inflammation of the nasal membranes, medications such as antihistamines and decongestants may be appropriate. Our ENT physicians work with closely with patients to discover the underlying cause of their nasal congestion and provide optimal care.