Nasal congestion is the blockage of the nasal passages usually due to membranes lining the nose becoming swollen from inflamed blood vessels. It is also known as stuffy nose, nasal obstruction, blocked nose, nasal blockage, or stuffed up nose.
Nasal congestion has many causes and can range from a mild annoyance to a life-threatening condition. In newborn infants, Nasal congestion in an infant in the first few months of life can interfere with breastfeeding and cause life-threatening respiratory distress. Nasal congestion in older children and adolescents is often just an annoyance but can cause other difficulties.
Nasal congestion can interfere with the ears, hearing, and speech development. Significant congestion may interfere with sleep, cause snoring, and can be associated with sleep apnea. In children, nasal congestion from enlarged adenoids has caused chronic sleep apnea with insufficient oxygen levels and hypoxia, as well as right-sided heart failure. The problem usually resolves after surgery to remove the adenoids and tonsils.
Nasal congestion can also cause mild facial and head pain, and a degree of discomfort.
The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Blocked nose. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.
Common causes of short-term blocked nose include:
- Respiratory infections
- Upper respiratory infection
- Common cold
- See also runny nose, cold-like symptoms and flu-like symptoms
Possible causes of chronic stuffy nose or chronic blocked nose include:
- Allergies – see various types of allergies
- Hay fever
- Allergic rhinitis
- Sinus infection
- Chronic sinusitis
- Adenoid conditions
- Vasomotor rhinitis
- Nasal polyp
- Nasal tumor
Nasal blockage – It is possible there is a physical blockage of the nasal passage causing stuffiness:
- Nose foreign body
- Benign nasal polyp
- Nasal tumor
- Deviated septum
- Nasal injury
- Nasal abnormality
Whenever someone is sick or has a stuffy nose, medication may not cure the root of the problem, but a symptom. It is important to seek professional help if the problem persists.