Nasal congestion is another term for a stuffy nose. It is often a symptom of another health problem, such as a sinus infection. It may also be caused by the common cold.
Nasal congestion is marked by:
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Sinus pain
- Mucus buildup
- Swollen nasal tissue
Home remedies may be enough to alleviate nasal congestion, particularly if it is caused by the common cold. However, if you experience chronic, or long-term, congestion, you should seek medical treatment.
Causes of nasal congestion
Congestion is when your nose becomes stuffed up and inflamed. Minor illnesses are the most common causes of nasal congestion. For instance, a cold, the flu, and sinus infections can all cause stuffy noses. Illness-related congestion usually improves within one week.
Congestion that lasts longer than one week is often a symptom of an underlying health issue. Some explanations for long-term nasal congestion may be:
- Hay fever
- Noncancerous growths, called nasal polyps, or benign tumors in the nasal passages
- Chemical exposures
- Environmental irritants
- Long-lasting sinus infection, known as chronic sinusitis
- Deviated septum
Nasal congestion may also occur during pregnancy, usually during the end of the first trimester. Hormonal fluctuations and increased blood supply that occur during pregnancy may cause this nasal congestion.