What Can Cause Nasal Obstruction and How is it Treated?

What is Nasal Obstruction?

Nasal obstruction is the state when there is a blockage in the nasal passage because of swollen membrane. These nasal membranes get swollen up due to the sore blood vessels. You can also term nasal obstruction as nasal congestion, stuffy nose, plugged nose, nasal blockage as well as blocked nose. Nasal discharge can also be seen in persons suffering from nasal obstruction.

Nasal obstruction can be an annoying syndrome for both children as well as for adults. Due to nasal obstruction children usually get disturb while sleeping (sleep disturbances) whereas infants who nourish on their mother’s milk have to face hard time while feeding.

What is Nasal Obstruction?

Whenever, nasal tissues get irritated or even inflamed nasal obstruction occurs. A person getting infected from cold, sinusitis or even flu can develop nasal obstruction.

Numerous irritants or allergies can be one of the causes for nasal obstruction. Vasomotor rhinitis (non allergic rhinitis) is a chronic state where an individual develops a problem of running nose.

Tumor and polyps are some of the less common causes for nasal obstruction as well.

What Can Cause Nasal Obstruction?

There are many causes of nasal obstruction which are mentioned below:

  1. Acute Sinusitis Can Cause Nasal Obstruction

    Acute rhino sinusitis is the other name for acute sinusitis and is a frequent cause of nasal obstruction. Infection in the sinuses membrane for short duration can be termed as acute sinusitis. Mucus in the nose gets accumulated due to blockage and with passage of time it gets build up. Respiratory problems can be witnessed due to it. It can also cause swelling in the area near your eyes. People suffering from such illness have also complaint about facial pain and headache.

    Common cold is the main reason behind acute sinusitis. Besides this various other factors like fungal infection, allergies or bacterial infectivity can also lead to this syndrome. In the initial stage of this illness you can try out some of the home remedies to cure it. However if it continues for more than five to six weeks then a person may require doctor’s assistance. Serious infections along with numerous other complications can be its after affects.

    Acute Sinusitis Can Cause Nasal Obstruction

  2. Allergies Can Cause Nasal Obstruction

    Pollen, pet dander and bee venom which are foreign substance and its entrance in human bodies causes different kind of allergies which in turn can cause nasal obstruction. Such substances usually react with immune system of human. Antibodies which are produced by immune system of human body can fights against any foreign particles. Healthy people have good immune system.

    Whenever an immune system identifies any particular allergen in human body, an appropriate antibody is being produced. A person having any allergy can get his or her skin swollen up or disturbed digestive system. A person coming in contact with any allergens can face such situation and can also lead to nasal obstruction.

    Allergies severity can vary from one person to another. An individual can suffer from anaphylaxis which is life threatening disease while another can only suffer from a minor allergy as well. With the development in the field of medical science most of allergies are now curable and nasal obstruction can be treated. Latest treatment can make you relax and clam from numerous allergy symptoms.

  3. Nasal Obstruction Caused Due to Chronic Sinusitis

    Due to prolonged swelling in the nasal cavities for more than 7-8 weeks can lead to the condition of chronic sinusitis which causes nasal obstruction. Chronic rhino sinusitis is another name for it. Its symptoms and treatment are similar to acute sinusitis. Any kind of nasal infection can cause this illness. Nasal septum or the nasal polyps can foster its growth. It is less common in children but adults or young age people are frequent victims of this syndrome.

  4. Nasal Obstruction Caused Due to Churg-Strauss Syndrome

    Churg strauss syndrome is well known by its other name esoinophilic granulomatosis and it can cause nasal obstruction. Its symptoms are much similar to chronic sinusitis. Blood flow to the important human organs gets hindered due to this disorder. There can be permanent damage to organs as well as to tissues due to blockage of blood as well.

    Churg-strauss illness often leads to asthma and nasal obstruction. Fever, rash, hands & feet numbness, gastrointestinal bleeding and severe pain are some of the other curial problems from this sickness. It is very difficult to diagnose it as its symptoms and sign are very much similar to numerous other human disorders.

    It seldom occurs in human and thus its treatment is quite difficult. Steroids or immunosuppressant drugs are very effective against it and can control this illness to much extent and these medicines can also help in reducing nasal obstruction.

  5. Common Cold Can Cause Nasal Obstruction

    People experience common cold due to viral infection that affects their respiratory tract which comprises of nose as well as throat. Common cold can cause nasal obstruction and it does not have any serious effect on humans. Common symptoms of cold include sneezing, congestion, sore throat, watery eyes, running nose etc. There are countless viruses which can cause common cold but a single category of virus is enough for causing an infection in humans.

    Mostly school going children have greater exposure towards this viral infection but adults also face this illness also.

    To recover from such infection you may require a time period of one or two weeks. If there is no improvement in the patient’s health then you may require doctor’s supervision for its cure and also to get rid of nasal obstruction.

  6. Overuse of Decongestant Nasal Spray Can Cause Nasal Obstruction

    The recommended usage of nasal spray is for three to five days. Chemicals that is present in this spray helps in shrinking crammed blood vessels. Thus, Blocked passage of nasal gets cleared up. Since you apply this spray directly to your nose thus it gives quick relief from plugged nose and you will be relieved from nasal obstruction.

    Due to regular use of nasal spray blood vessels stop responding to this medication. Individual problems can get worsen with passage of time as spray can lose all its affects and cause nasal obstruction.

  7. Deviated Septum Can Cause Nasal Obstruction

    When a thin wall, called nasal septum amid of nostril is got displaced, the condition is said to be deviated septum. Mostly the deviated nasal septum leads smaller nasal passage and causes nasal obstruction.

    It is because of such deviation which causes a nasal obstruction at either side of nose associated with reduced airflow, resulting in breathing difficulties. Much severe deviated septum, having drying effect, can even cause crusting as well as bleeding in numerous of peoples.

    Nasal obstruction is a result of swelling into the nose lining tissues or because of nasal deviation or even due to both of these reasons collectively. Adhesive strips effective in opening the plugged nose and reducing swelling through nasal drops can be adopted as a nasal obstruction cure.

  8. Prescription Drug Addiction Causes Nasal Obstruction

    Nasal obstruction is associated with general cold and often occurs with that only. Thus the medications used in treating this ailment also contain narcotic agents which act as suppressants for the symptoms of nasal obstruction. As these drugs contains narcotic agents in the composition of medicines, used for nasal obstruction, can get a person fall into the trap of drug abuse or drug addiction. It is very important to track and avoid any sort of such drug abuse by the help of family members and doctors. In case, anyone found with such addiction, is suggested to go through proper rehab schedule under various support groups and organized treatment in a way to overcome of this adversity.

  9. Nasal Obstruction Caused Due to Dry Air

    A condition of nasal obstruction is a result of swelling in blood vessels and tissues of the nose due to the excess fluid. It is because of this excessive fluid due to which stuffy nose conditions exacerbate the breathing difficulties. People residing at low humidity environment are more susceptible to this disability as the dry air is a primary ground for causing nasal obstruction and is advised to be eliminate this room environment condition by using effective humidifier, which helps in increasing humidity into the air.

  10. Nasal Obstruction Caused Due to Enlarged Adenoids

    Adenoids are soft lumps of flesh at the back and top of the throat. These are very much similar to that of the tonsils. Enlarged adenoids cause nasal obstruction. These adenoids are helpful in preventing bacteria and infection to the body by removing the concerned germs and bacteria’s. Enlarged adenoids are not always due to some sort of health issues but sometimes, it normal as well. Besides all this, adenoids can also retain in swollen state even a person is not unwell. This adenoid also keeps on increasing with the baby in womb as well.

  11. NFBs or Nasal Foreign Bodies Can Cause Nasal Obstruction

    Nasal foreign bodies (NFBs) are critical issues related to nasal disorders. Although it is commonly seen in pediatric cases but can also be found in adults particularly to those who are suffering from psychiatric disorders or retardation. NFBs or nasal foreign bodies can cause nasal obstruction.

    Children’s often use to move their hands over the various parts of their body due to which, they unknowingly facilitate foreign bodies to move from one part to other. Through this way foreign bodies get their way to travel from various origins towards the nasal arena causing nasal obstruction.

    Sometimes, few of the foreign bodies, good for health, are also used to treat the epistaxis or irritation due to nasal mucosal. It is advised to consult a physician, as soon as possible, in case of any stuck objects into the nasal region and avoid any sort of home removal techniques, as it may cause further augmented consequences to the existing conditions. In case any sort of object has been left into the nasal and it is causing a bleeding or nasal obstruction, requires a proper diagnostic procedure by an experienced healthcare professional.

  12. Hormonal Changes Can Cause Nasal Obstruction

    Pregnancy is one of such condition where hormonal changes take place very frequently. Sinuses swelling can be found very frequently in case of pregnancy which due to progesterone which can cause nasal obstruction. Female patients coming with the problem of sinus pain without any body aches and fever are mostly concluded after ruling out the pregnancy conditions, instead of directly claiming it a sinus infection.

  13. Influenza or Flu Can Cause Nasal Obstruction

    Influenza is a frequently found, common viral infection which effects on respiratory system, i.e. throat, nose and lungs can causes nasal obstruction. Influenza is popularly known as flu but is not the same as that of stomach flu, which also caused due to viruses and symptoms to which are vomiting and diarrhea.

    Although influenza has a tendency of resolving by itself and not deadly in nature but in some cases it has also seen that this flu is acted as a deadly infection and also leads to severe nasal obstruction. People who are more susceptible to this viral infection can be enumerated as:

    • 2-5 years old children.
    • Obesity patients, having more than 40 points of body mass index (BMI).
    • More than 65 years old people.
    • Chronic disorder people, like asthma, diabetes, heart ailments and kidney irregularities.
    • Nursing homes and care facility personnel’s.
    • Weak immune oriented peoples.
    • Pregnant women.

    Annual vaccination is a best available cure against this viral infection which can also cure nasal obstruction.

  14. Medicines Such as High Blood Pressure Drugs Can Cause Nasal Obstruction

    People with high blood pressure conditions are at very unpleasant situation if followed by a nasal obstruction as well. Cold medications contain decongestant which usually narrows the blood vessels and culminates or lessen the swelling, in a way to treat nasal obstruction. Besides this, these cold remedies also affects other blood vessels as well, which results in increase blood pressure. It is advised to have a decongestant free medication in nasal obstruction situation, occurred with high blood pressure patients.

    Nasal obstruction is often reported by the patients of asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, high BP (blood Pressure) and erection dysfunction.

  15. Nasal Polyps Can Cause Nasal Obstruction

    It is a small unhealthy, painless and cancerous growth in the nose. It appears like a teardrop or may be a grape. These nasal polyps are rooted from the inflammations caused by asthma, drug sensitivity, recurring infections and few immune related disorders and causes nasal obstruction. Small polyps do not show any of such symptoms required to be identified. Bulk amount of polyps can even cause a blockage to the nasal passage and can further lead to breathing irregularities along with loss of smelling senses and regular infections.

    No one is completely, as such, immune to these nasal polyps and it can occur to anyone and can cause nasal obstruction. It is often treated through medication, as it can shrink or completely eliminate it. In case medication is not effective then surgery is supposed to be applied. It has seen that even after successful treatment it, sometimes, returns.

  16. Nonallergic Rhinitis Can Cause Nasal Obstruction

    It is a medical term which is meant to describe such an allergic sort of symptoms, causes to which are unknown. The symptoms like:

    The symptoms of no allergic rhinitis are very similar to those of the allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, but it is hard to find any of the confirmation, associated with allergic reactions, to clearly identify this ailment and it can cause nasal obstruction. Only blood test and allergy tests are the way to distinguish between these two similar sorts of ailments and no specific reason of causing this is yet known. It can be easily found with adults and children, both but are more frequently noted with the age group of 20 & above.

  17. Occupational Asthma Can Cause Nasal Obstruction

    It is a kind of asthma usually found with the industrial workers associated with chemical, gas and construction industry, as it is caused because of breathing in corresponding environment. Occupational asthma also causes symptoms akin to that of the regular asthma like nasal obstruction, chest tightness, breath shortness and wheezing.

    Occupational asthma is reversible in nature if cured at early stages and the nasal obstruction also can be treated. It has similar sort of treatment as that of the ordinary asthma and requires to maintain preventive distance from the ailment triggering causes. Neglecting the safety precautions can cause lifelong and worsening condition of asthma.

  18. Pregnancy Can Cause Nasal Obstruction

    A pregnant body always creates more than a normal amount of mucus what it produces in general conditions of common cold, without pregnancy. However, nasal obstruction is a very obvious condition meanwhile a pregnancy period, it does not requires any sort of treatment unless it is not followed by any kind of pain, fever, watery eyes, allergy and soar throat. All these conditions can be taken care by consulting a physician or gynecologist with or without curing regular nasal obstruction while pregnancy.

  19. Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV Can Cause Nasal Obstruction

    This is a sort of virus which causes an infection to the respiratory and lung systems, mainly and cause nasal obstruction. It very common in nature and mostly children, up to 2 years age, are more susceptible to this respiratory syncytial virus or RSV infection. It is also infectious to the adults and cause nasal obstruction.

    In healthy children, adults and people of old age group, symptoms are somewhat mild in nature and mimic as regular cold with nasal obstruction. To attain relieve under the circumstances of respiratory syncytial virus or RSV infection, self-care measures are very much effective in practice.

    RSV infection of severe conditions can also be found in infants and premature babies. It can also acquire a severe condition in case of adults and old-age people, having pre-existing conditions like lung disorders, heart ailments and frail immune system.

  20. Long Term Stress Can Cause Nasal Obstruction

    Stress is of various types and each sort of stress has its unique adverse characteristic. Emotional stress marks its presence in the form of depression, moodiness, muscular tension, irritability and also can cause nasal obstruction. Stress has a capacity of amplifying adverse effects associated with any sort of pre-existing ailments, as it weakens the white blood cells in the meantime of stress disorder. White blood cells are responsible for fighting with various infections and are a key factor of healthy immune system.

    Once the immune system, consisting of WBC, get weakens, it opens the entryway for problems like nasal obstruction, sinusitis and various other health ailments. Any case of pre-existing or prolonged sinusitis or chronic stress, obstruct the passage of sinus which finally results in excessive mucous assembly, which further leads towards infection and pressure.

  21. A Thyroid Disorder Can Cause Nasal Obstruction

    Thyroid disorder can also cause nasal obstruction and irritation to the sinus region. Thus it could be difficult to find out the reason due to which these conditions are arising. Only the proper diagnosis can help in identifying the cause of such nasal issues. Thyroid test may also be prescribed in a way to diagnose whether the nasal issues are due to hypothyroidism or because of hyperthyroidism.

  22. Tobacco Consumption Can Cause Nasal Obstruction

    Smoking tobacco causes nasal obstruction. Sinus and nose lining are very similar to that of the lungs. A small hairy like structure, called cilia, which keeps the nasal, sinuses as well as lungs clean from particulate material brought by air. Smoking affects the working of cilia and exposing the smoker towards increased infections of sinuses and lungs.

    Inhaling the tobacco smoke starts irritating entire upper airway and causes nasal obstruction. The irritating gasses in tobacco smoke like formaldehyde and ammonia cause’s sinuses and nose to create more mucous, which in turn makes people more susceptible of cold.

  23. Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis Can Cause Nasal Obstruction

    Blood vessels of nose, kidneys, throats, lungs as well as sinuses when get inflamed when there is a possibility of granulomatosis-polyangiitis. It is quite uncommon in humans and it may cause nasal obstruction.

    This kind of sickness is also called by another name ‘Wegener’s granulomatosis’. Vasculitis is a disorder that hampers a certain kind of blood vessels as well. The rate at which blood is being flowing to your organs is decreased. Granuloma is the term given to the illness and effects that are seen due to tissues inflammations. Body Organs are also affected to greater extent.

    If this disease is detected at initial stage then its treatment ensures full recovery of human health. If it is lead untreated for long period of time then it can be incurable in many cases.

How is Nasal Obstruction Treated?

  1. Proper Self-care for Nasal Obstruction

    There are some of the self-care suggestions for treating nasal obstruction which can be followed until an individual consult his or her doctor. These instructions can give your relieve from such illness-

    • To treat nasal obstruction in infants and children you can make use of syringe that composes of rubber bulb.
    • You can also avoid certain triggers that are responsible for certain type of allergies in humans causing nasal obstruction.
    • You can gently blow your nose whenever required to get rid of nasal obstruction.
    • If you suffer from water discharge or running nose that to accompany by itching of eyes then there is a possibility of allergy. It is advisable to pursue label instructions accurately.

    Whenever huge amount of mucus gets accumulated in throat’s back then you can follow some of the suggested steps to get effective relieve from postnasal drip:

    • It is advisable to use saline sprays or even rinses.
    • For nasal secretion you can drink water for many times in a single day. Fluids help in treating nasal obstruction.
    • Irritants such as tobacco smoke and humidity changes can be avoided.

    The treatment for nasal obstruction depends on the underlying cause. If the root cause of the obstruction is treated then the nasal obstruction goes away on its own.

  2. Medicines for Treating Nasal Obstruction

    There are proper medicines which can control nasal obstruction symptoms:

    • Decongestant medicines can be used to treat nasal obstruction. This medication helps in reducing nasal swelling and lead to nasal obstruction along with sinus pressure. It comes in a spray form just like naphazoline, phenylephrine and oxymetazoline. You will also find such medications in tablets forms by the name pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine. Without doctor’s consultation its oral usage is strictly prohibited. Even its prolonged use for weeks can leads to certain complications in an individual. Use of
    • Nasal sprays is recommended only for two to three days. In case of its excessive usage there can be worsen results of nasal obstruction in humans. Children who are under the age of four years are prohibited from using decongestants. Cold medicines have shown fatal effects on them as well.
    • Pain killer medicines can be used to treat nasal obstruction. Acetaminophen or naproxen sodium and ibuprofen which are effective pain relievers can make comfortable from the pain that is a result of sinus pressure. Take only recommended dosage of such pain killers and it is always advisable to real carefully y all the label instructions before consumption of any medicines.
    • Antihistamines are effective in controlling nasal obstruction as well as sinus pressure. Prefer that medication only which can cure sniffling & sneezing along with congestion & sinus pressure simultaneously. Some of the cold medicines are also effectual against running nose moreover for sneezing. These pills will make you sleepy as soon as it is consumed.
  3. Surgery for Treating Nasal Obstruction

    Nasal obstruction which is a result of deviated septum obstructions can be treated with septoplasty. Through incision inside nose crooked part of septum is being removed and normal lining of tissues over septum is preserved. Stitching is carried out after laying the lining properly. To avoid sagging or nose trip a suitable care is required for cartilage as well as for intact bone. This surgery involves outpatient procedures and within a week time a patients can easily recover from it and be free from nasal obstruction.

    When there is swelling in tissues underlying turbinate bones which is causing nasal obstruction then doctors often suggest turbinate reduction. For more persistent results a small incision is being made at turbinate of nose. Excess distended tissues are shaved with the help of surgical instrument. Healing of operated tissues is allowed with help of medications. For more passage of air inside the nose there can be bone repositioning as well. Patients can suffer from certain difficulties after turbinate surgery.

    Adenoidectomy is counted among outpatient surgeries. Adenoids are removed by surgical process. You do not have to experience any cuts or wounds on your face. It is facilitated through mouth but doctors can carry it through your nose as well and can help in treating nasal obstruction.

Home Remedies for Nasal Obstruction

Various home remedies can be followed so as to moisten the nasal passage and treat nasal obstruction:

  • Vaporizers and humidifiers can be used as a home remedy for nasal obstruction.
  • Make use Saline nose spray. It is unmediated salty water that helps in moistening nasal passage and prevents nasal obstruction and is a good home remedy.
  • For mucus secretion you can drink good amount of fluids. Nasal obstruction can be cleared through nasal secretion as well.
  • Steam bath is highly recommended home remedy for a nasal obstruction.
  • Stream inhalation is an effective home remedy to cure nasal obstruction caused due to sinusitis and common cold.

There are lots more tips which can be tried out at your homes to get further ease from nasal obstruction.

  • Swimming in chlorinated pools should be avoided as chlorine can easily react with the mucous membrane and can cause irritation in nasal passage and leads to nasal obstruction.
  • To make the breathing comfortable while sleeping you can make use of pillows. Propping yourself at an elevation can be a great help in nasal obstruction.
  • Make use of face compressor to treat nasal obstruction.
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 29, 2022

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