A few things might cause a swollen nostril, including seasonal allergies and sinusitis. A swollen nostril may also occur when hair follicles become infected with bacteria. This type of infection is known as folliculitis. Lack of humidity leading to dry mucus membranes may also cause nostrils to become swollen and inflamed. Although it is considered to be uncommon, cancer that has metastasized to the nasal cavity may cause a nostril to swell.
In some cases, an injury or a blow to the nose may result in a swollen nostril or nostrils. This would occur as nasal membranes rupture, causing bleeding into the nasal cavity. Swelling in the nostrils may occur as a result of the pressure from the bleeding and torn membranes. Individuals suffering a broken nose will often experience painful swelling outside of the nose, as well as the nostrils.
Surgery on the nasal structure may also cause post-operative nostril swelling. This may include open or closed surgical procedures. Rhinoplasty, which is a type of cosmetic surgery commonly referred to as a nose job, may sometimes cause swelling.
Some individuals who have nasal polyps may experience nostril swelling. When the lining of the nose becomes inflamed, either from infection or injury, polyps may occur. A polyp is a small lump of fibrous tissue that may bleed. Nasal polyps have been known to cause swelling inside of the nostril, occasional pain, and difficulty in breathing. Treatment for nasal polyps may include medication, or, in some cases, surgery.
Cocaine abuse is another cause of swollen nostrils. This occurs when the individual inhales the drug in powered form. Over a period of time, cocaine may cause damage to the nasal tissue and membranes, leading to bleeding, inflammation, and swelling.
Allergic rhinitis is another word for nasal allergies, which may cause sneezing, runny, or stuffy nose and inflamed or swollen nostrils. These allergies are often seasonal, with symptoms appearing at certain times throughout the year, or when pollen count is especially high. Individuals may also be allergic to dust mites or pet dander, both of which may cause symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, and swelling in the nostrils.
Rhinophyma is a condition sometimes referred to as rosacea of the nose. This often causes severe redness on the outside area of the nose. Rhinophyma may also cause inflammation and swelling of the nostrils. A dermatologist can diagnose this condition and prescribe the most effective treatment for associated symptoms.