You catch a cold and you spend days struggling to breathe thanks to a stuffy nose. These events are, thankfully, temporary, and you can resume breathing freely once the infection passes. If your congestion is chronic, however, every day can be a battle to breathe.
To help you narrow down what might be behind your constantly stuffy nose, Dr. Cecil Yeung and Dr. Marcus Hershey here at Houston Sinus Surgery present four of the most common causes of chronic nasal congestion
Why the congestion?
Before we get into what might be behind your chronically stuffy nose, let’s take a look at what’s happening inside your nasal passages to create this congestion.
Your nose and throat produce a whopping 1-2 quarts of mucus a day, which helps moisten your nasal passages and sinuses. As well, mucus is also helpful in trapping debris and fighting off infections.
Under normal circumstances, the mucus slides harmlessly down into your digestive system, where it’s processed and flushed out of your body.
When you have nasal congestion, something is irritating the lining of your nasal passages or sinuses, which creates inflammation that can trap mucus. Making matters worse, your body may produce more mucus in response to the inflammation.
Behind the congestion
The odds are good that most everyone encounters nasal congestion from time to time, usually at the hands of a cold or the flu. Once the infection passes, the condition typically clears, and you can breathe easier again. Some people, however, struggle with ongoing congestion, which might stem from:
Seasonal rhinitis, or hay fever, affects nearly 8% of the adult population in the United States, and one of the hallmarks of this type of allergy is nasal congestion or a constantly runny nose.
2. Nasal polyps
While benign, nasal polyps are growths that can develop in your nasal passages and/or sinuses, and their presence can cause chronic nasal congestion.
3. Deviated septum
Your septum is a piece of bone and cartilage that divides your nostrils. If this tissue is moderately or severely crooked, it can lead to nasal congestion, especially in the smaller nostril.
When the linings of your sinuses are inflamed, this can block the flow of mucus and lead to congestion. While sinusitis can be acute and clear up within days or weeks, more than 28 million adults in the United States have chronic sinusitis, which describes symptoms that last 12 weeks or longer.
Solutions for your chronic congestion
To help you breathe easier, we offer a wide range of solutions. The treatment we recommend will depend on the underlying cause of your nasal congestion. For example, if you suffer from hay fever, Dr. Yeung may recommend inhalers or medications.
Or, if nasal polyps or a deviated septum are behind your breathing difficulties, Dr. Yeung can correct these issues through minimally invasive surgery.
No matter what’s behind your nasal congestion, rest assured that we will identify and treat the problem, so you can get on the path to better breathing. To get started, call our office in Houston, Texas, at or book an appointment online.