Nasal Congestion Shouldn’t be Ignored

The nasal congestion, or commonly known as a stuffy nose is annoying which may result in difficulty of breathing through nose. In particular the blockage of the nasal passages are usually caused by membranes lining the sinuses becoming swollen from inflamed blood vessels.




Patients who are suffering from nasal congestion can experience direct discomfort including stuffy or runny nose, sinus pain, the build-up of mucus and the inflammation or swelling of the nasal tissues.



Risk factors

A stuffy nose does not equal to catching common colds. Other factors, such as allergies, nasal polyps, deviated nasal septum or even the change in weather can make the sinuses blocked.

Nasal polyps are soft and painless growths inside the nasal passages. They may lead to breathing problems and cause nasal congestion.

The nasal septum is a structure that separates the left and right airways in the nose. The deviated septum can be caused due to the bone and cartilage in the nose are crooked. It can be a congenital disorder, or caused by impact trauma. Around 30% of patients also suffer from nasal congestion.


Pregnant women who have a higher level of oestrogen can may produce more mucus and have risk of nasal congestion.

Nasal obstruction can make breathing at night difficult and lead to sinus pain due to the excessive mucus production. Breathing through the mouth becomes necessary when the patient has nasal congestion which is associated with snoring and sleep apnea.



Special care to infants and children

The nasal congestion, however, can be serious in paediatric cases if the normal breathe is disturbed by their nasal congestion while sleeping. And parents should pay special attention to the infant who might have difficulty feeding or sleep problems with a blocked nose. To relieve the symptoms, parents may apply the saline nasal spray to the baby’s nose, or place a humidifier in the baby's room to add moisture to the air.



Treatment for nasal congestion

The treatments can be different depending on the underlying causes of congestion. Patients are recommended to see your ENT doctor when home remedies including  nose massage and increasing humidity level are not enough to relieve the symptoms.

Prescription medications used to treat nasal congestion include oral antihistamines if the congestion is caused by allergies, nasal steroids


Patients suffering from chronic congestion may refer to the following symptoms to help self-diagnose of nasal polyps:

  • Snoring;
  • Loss of sense of taste;
  • Impaired hearing;
  • Headache
  • Nosebleeds


ENT doctors may call for surgical intervention to remove nasal polyps. Endoscopic surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. The ENT doctor will gently insert a nasal endoscope through nostril, without face incisions, to remove problematic polyps. Patients may apply a steroid nasal spray after the operation. The procedure is minimally invasive and can provide quick relief for congestion. The endoscopic surgery is, therefore, recommended by ENT doctors.

Multiple polyposis has higher recurrence after surgery or taking oral medications. But the exact causes and solutions are still under debate.