Health
Fact-checked

At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What are the Most Common Causes of Severe Nasal Congestion?

Severe nasal congestion often stems from allergies, infections like the common cold or flu, and sinusitis. Environmental irritants, such as smoke and pollution, can also trigger this uncomfortable condition. Structural issues, including deviated septums, contribute too. Wondering how to alleviate that stuffy nose? Discover effective relief strategies in the continuation of our article. What remedy might work best for you?
Marjorie McAtee
Marjorie McAtee

Severe nasal congestion often occurs as the result of allergies. Non-allergic causes of severe nasal congestion can include infection, foreign objects lodged in the nose, and nasal polyps. Most causes of sinus congestion aren't serious, but the congestion can make speaking, eating, and breathing difficult, particularly for infants.

Sinus congestion usually occurs when phlegm or mucous obstruct the nasal passages. Severe nasal congestion can impair normal breathing, and can lead to chronic cough, feelings of pressure and discomfort in the face, and headaches.

Inhaling steam vapors will help loosen congestion.
Inhaling steam vapors will help loosen congestion.

Colds, flus, and allergies are probably the most common causes of severe nasal congestion. Allergies to mold, pollen, dust, dander, and cigarette smoke can cause irritation and inflammation of the nasal passages, leading to increased mucous production and obstruction of the sinuses. Bacterial, fungal, and viral infections can cause infectious rhinitis. While bacterial and fungal infections of the sinus cavities may be treatable, viral infections must usually be allowed to run their course. Most cases of nasal congestion caused by allergies or infection aren't cause for serious concern.

People with a persistent sinus headache should see their doctor to rule out any underlying health concerns.
People with a persistent sinus headache should see their doctor to rule out any underlying health concerns.

Abnormalities in the physical structure of the nasal passages can contribute to nasal congestion. Abnormalities of this nature may be more often diagnosed in children. The nasal congestion associated with deformities of the nasal passages is usually chronic, and does not remit. Both nostrils are usually equally affected by feelings of congestion.

Chronic sinusitis and nonallergic rhinitis can both cause severe nasal congestion. These conditions may cause symptoms of nasal congestion similar to those of a head cold. Chronic sinusitis is typically diagnosed when a sinus infection continues for more than eight weeks. Doctors do not fully understand what causes nonallergic rhinitis, but sufferers of this condition find that their symptoms can worsen in the presence of disease triggers, including strong odors, bright lighting, and pregnancy.

Nasal congestion is often the result of an allergic reaction.
Nasal congestion is often the result of an allergic reaction.

Most causes of severe nasal congestion do not point to serious illness. Nasal polyps, however, are sometimes believed to be a symptom of cystic fibrosis when found in children younger than 16 years of age. Cancerous tumors in the nasal passages can also lead to feelings of severe nasal congestion.

Even if the cause of the nasal congestion isn't serious, the congestion itself can have a significant impact on quality of life. Persons experiencing severe nasal congestion may also experience impaired hearing, smell, and taste. Newborn infants with nasal congestion may have particular breathing difficulties when the nasal passages are congested, since infants typically breathe through the nose when feeding and sleeping.

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Inhaling steam vapors will help loosen congestion.
      By: Gina Sanders
      Inhaling steam vapors will help loosen congestion.
    • People with a persistent sinus headache should see their doctor to rule out any underlying health concerns.
      By: Andy Dean
      People with a persistent sinus headache should see their doctor to rule out any underlying health concerns.
    • Nasal congestion is often the result of an allergic reaction.
      By: Junial Enterprises
      Nasal congestion is often the result of an allergic reaction.
    • Nasal congestion is typically more severe during early pregnancy.
      By: Tatyana Gladskih
      Nasal congestion is typically more severe during early pregnancy.