Desperately Seeking Stuffy Nose and Sinus Pressure Relief?
Don’t you find it frustrating when things the rest of humanity seems to enjoy—like the smell of a freshly mown lawn, driving with the windows rolled down, or playing with pets—are things that can give you a sinus migraine, or at least a constant runny nose? If you’ve ever been misunderstood for turning down too many picnic invitations because of allergies or other chronic sinus diseases, there is hope!
Why Is My Nose Stuffy? What Is Allergic Rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis is one of the most common nose and sinus problems. It’s the reaction your nasal passages have to ordinarily harmless things your immune system has developed a sensitivity towards, such as pollen, dust mites, or animal dander. An allergic reaction triggers your immune system to attack, producing antibodies against whatever it perceives to be an enemy invader; from actually harmful bacteria or viruses to mundane mold spores, pollen and so on. These antibodies alert mast cells in your nasal passages to release histamines, which tighten and inflame the tissues around small blood vessels in your nose. They also trigger the release of extra fluid to help flush out the invasion. You’ll recognize these symptoms as nasal congestion and nasal drainage (a classic runny nose) as you fly through the facial tissues like there’s no tomorrow.
Furthermore, if you have allergic rhinitis you’ve probably noticed that your nose, throat, sinuses, and ears are all interconnected. The English translation for the German word for sinuses literally means “forehead caves,” which explains exactly what they are. These hollow spaces behind your cheekbones, between your eyes and around your forehead produce mucus to protect the lining of your nose. A nasal allergy or immune response can block and irritate your forehead sinuses and cause the following problems:
- Sinus pressure, headaches, and facial pain — Inflamed nasal passages prevent air and excess mucus from draining normally. This leads to extra thick, sticky mucus buildup stuck in the sinuses. This excess pressure hurts, and if normal drainage isn’t reestablished soon, it can lead to a sinus infection that hurts even more.
- Post-nasal drip leading to a cough and sore throat —The excess mucus being generated by your immune response can also drain down the back of your throat. This irritates your throat and makes you cough or feel the constant need to clear your throat. Sometimes it’s also bad enough to give you a sore throat and make you sound hoarse.
Is it a Cold, Allergic Rhinitis, or Sinus Polyps?
A constantly stopped up nose and sinus congestion can also be caused by sinus polyps. These painless, soft, benign, grape-like growths hang on the lining of your sinuses or nasal passages and stem from chronic inflammatory responses like allergies, infections, and certain pharmaceuticals. Nose polyp symptoms mimic chronic allergic rhinitis or sinusitis. Yet even the best nasal decongestant at the drugstore won’t restore easy breathing if nasal polyps are the culprit, and without proper treatment, sinus polyps can cause further complications. In some cases, sinus polyp surgery may be necessary. If your allergy medications or decongestants are not solving the problem, it’s important to schedule an appointment with San Diego Ear, Nose, & Throat Specialists for a closer look at what is causing your nasal congestion.
A Stuffy Nose Is Nothing to Sneeze At
When you can’t breathe, you can’t sleep. With a sinus headache or migraine, you can’t think. You can’t talk or sleep if you are constantly coughing and choking on post-nasal drip. Congestion can clog up your ears, making it hard to hear. If you can’t smell, you can’t taste. This is no way to live.
If you are all too familiar with nasal congestion, for whatever reason, it is important to see your Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor (ENT) for proper diagnosis of the causes behind your nasal congestion so that you can get the right sinus treatment. It is true that home remedies can give you temporary relief and even ameliorate minor nasal irritations. But if you have chronic congestion, allergies, sinus infections or nose polyps, San Diego Ear, Nose, & Throat Specialists will be able to diagnose the core reason behind your suffering and recommend the right treatment for you.
Additionally, if you have small children with any of these problems, it is even more important to have them seen by an ENT because many over-the-counter or home child and infant decongestant remedies have safety issues.
Children with frequent nasal congestion, colds and allergies may also struggle with ear infections that can adversely affect their hearing and speech development. An ENT experienced in treating pediatric cases can help you find the best nasal decongestant kids, toddlers, and infants can use safely.
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