Nasal congestion, also known as nasal blockage, nasal obstruction, blocked nose, stuffy nose or plugged nose, is the blockage of the nasal passages usually due to swollen, inflamed blood vessels in the membranes lining the nose. Nasal congestion can range from a mild annoyance to a life-threatening condition. It is one of the most common and easily treatable complaints reported by our patients.
Symptoms of Nasal CongestionUnknown
- Facial pain, pressure, congestion or fullness
- Nasal Obstruction or blockage
- Nasal discharge/purulence
- Discolored post-nasal discharge
- Loss of smell or taste
- Dental Pain
What causes Nasal Congestion?
- Allergic Reactions to environmental inhalant or food allergens
- Nasal Valve obstruction or blockage
- Common Cold or Influenza
- Deviated Septum
- Sinusitis or sinus infection
- Nasal Polyps
- Enlarged Turbinates
- Acid Reflux (LPR)
- Reaction to medication (e.g. Flomax)
- Rhinitis Medicanmentosa- rebound nasal congestion brought on by extended use of topical decongestants or over-the- counter nasal sprays.
- Pregnant women often experience nasal congestion due to the increased amount of blood flowing in the body.
Nasal Congestion Treatment Options
The treatment of nasal congestion frequently depends on the underlying cause.
Address Potential Allergies
Identifying and mitigating environ- mental and food allergies and food sensitivities is a common remedy if this becomes a confirmed diagnosis.
Testing for allergies can help confirm or rule out allergies and consequently reduce adverse reactions and limit unnecessary avoidance and medi-cations. Correct allergy diagnosis, counseling and avoidance advice based on valid allergy test results is of utmost importance and will help reduce the incidence of symptoms, medications and improve quality of life. Allergy testing can be done by skin prick testing or through blood draws.
Also termed desensitization, allergen immunotherapy rehabilitates the immune system. This involves administering increasing doses of allergens under the tongue (sublingually with drops or tablets) or by injections under the skin (subcutaneous) to accustom the body to substances that are generally harmless (pollen, house dust, mites) and thereby induce specific long-term tolerance.
Test for Adverse Reactions to Foods
Food allergies or sensitivities, intolerance, pharmacological reactions, and toxin-mediated reactions to foods are adverse immune responses to a food protein. Food allergies can be treated with immunotherapy, however, other adverse reactions to foods, including intolerances or sensitivities are treated with an elimination diet, followed by a recommended rotation diet.
Antihistamines & Decongestants
Medications, such as antihistamines & nasal decongestants can provide significant symptom relief although they do not cure hay fever. Antihistamines may be given continuously during pollen season for optimum control of symptoms.
Topical decongestants relieve nasal congestion while reducing the side effects associated with systemically-acting decongestants, such as high blood pressure. They should only be used by patients for a maximum of 3 days in a row, because rebound congestion may occur in the form of rhinitis medicamentosa.
VIVAER Nasal Airway Remodeling
The VIVAER Nasal Airway Remodeling treatment is a non-invasive procedure, that does not involve any cutting of tissue. The procedure is done in our office, and patients can return to normal daily activities in the same day.
The VIVAER Nasal Airway Remodeling device works by applying low temperature radio-frequency energy to tighten and contract the tissue and cartilage in the patient’s nose, reshaping the nasal valve area to allow for better airflow. Patients experience an immediate and noticeable improvement in nasal breathing.
Before the procedure is performed, computed tomography (CT) scans are often taken to reveal exactly how the airflow through the nasal cavity is being affected by the blockage. The wand-like nasal airway remodeling device then targets energy toward the affected areas. No anesthesia is needed, and there’s no sustained recovery period, complications or risks, or large hospital bills as would be the case after invasive surgery under general anesthesia.
Treat Enlarged Nasal Turbinates with Radio Frequency Turbinate Ablation (RFTA)
Radiofrequency (also known as Coblation) is a surgical device and method which allows shrinkage of tissue under the lowest temperature possible, rather than burning the tissue. It protects the healthy turbinate tissue while shrinking its overall size, to improve nasal airflow and possibly reduce snoring. It is performed in the office using local anesthesia with minimal discomfort, and patients return to work the following day.
Treat or Remove Nasal Polyps
Nasal polyps are generally soft pearly gray, non-cancerous growths found
on the linings of the nasal passages and sinuses cavities. Nasal Polyps usually grow in response to irritated or damaged mucus and nasal membrane linings. As they continue to enlarge over time, they can cause nasal obstruction, contributing to difficulty in breathing and snoring.
Nasal Polyps are first treated with medication. If the polyps are large enough, they may require surgery to remove them. This surgery, known as a polypectomy, can be performed in our office surgical suite, or in a hospital operating room under general anesthesia, depending on the severity of the patient’s case, the patient’s insurance coverage & other varying factors. If a patient has recurring nasal polyps your doctor may insert a Propel Implant during the polypectomy or in conjunction with sinus surgery to decrease inflammation & scarring after surgery, and to increase the chance of the polyps returning. SINUVA™ Sinus Implants may also be recommended to some patients with recurring nasal polyps. SINUVA™ Sinus Implant is a corticosteroid-eluting (mometasone furoate) implant, proven to shrink nasal polyps and reduce nasal obstruction and congestion. As it stays in the sinus and continues to release medicine, SINUVA offers sustained relief from nasal congestion and obstruction up to 90 days.
Some chronic sinusitis sufferers try a variety of medical treatments and therapy, and still find no improvement to their condition. These individuals may be candidates for a minimally invassive procedure known as Balloon Sinuplasty ™ which is an FDA-approved technology that uses a smalScreen Shot 2013-11-04 at 10.48.55 PMl, flexible, sinus balloon catheter to open up blocked sinus pas-sageways, restoring normal drainage. When the sinus balloon is inflated, it gently restructures and widens the walls of the passageway while maintaining the integrity of the sinus lining. Balloon Sinuplasty technology usually results in significant symptom relief and allows patients to return to normal daily activities often in 24 hours.