Nasal congestion is the blockage of the nasal pathway due to the swelling of the membranous lining of the nose from inflamed blood vessels. Nasal congestion has various causes which can cause mild annoyance, great discomfort or life threating situations. Nasal congestion in babies may cause life-threatening respiratory disorder but is a mainly mild annoyance in older children and adults. Nasal congestion can also affect hearing and speech abilities. It may interfere with sleep, cause snoring as well as sleep apnea (difficulty in breathing while sleeping. In children, nasal congestion can cause heart failure due to enlarged adenoids or tonsils. It can also cause mild facial pain and head pain, discomfort, allergies, common cold or flu.
Nasal congestion is caused by allergies such as hay fever, common cold, structural problems like deviated septum, allergic reactions to some drugs, sinusitis, narrowing of the nasal valve, pregnancy (due to the increase in the blood volume of the body, nasal polyps (growths in the nose or sinuses), concho bullosa (air-filled cavity within a nose turbinate) and clinical syndrome such as empty nose syndrome.
Nasal congestion is treated based on the underlying cause of the condition. Drugs that stimulate a response from X- adrenergic receptors are used. They construct the blood vessels in the nose thereby relieving nasal congestion. They are to be administered as directed by a physician. If common cold or influenza are the causes of nasal congestion, there will be an improvement with time but pain-relieving drugs may also be used such as paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen. If nasal congestion is caused by hay fever, avoiding allergens is the best remedy. Nasal decongestants are generally used in relieving nasal congestion. In children, a nasal aspirator may be used to remove mucus from a plugged nose if there is difficulty in breathing. If symptoms persist, make an appointment with the doctor.