Sinus Infections, Sinusitus

Chronic Nasal Congestion: Causes and Treatment

April 12, 2023

5 minutes

Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD

If you find yourself wondering, “Why can’t I breathe through my nose?” more often than you once did, you may be suffering from chronic nasal congestion. This irritating, painful condition often clears up with over-the-counter remedies, but if you still experience continuous nasal congestion you may require care from a sinus specialist. If left untreated, chronic nasal congestion can lead to more serious issues, such as infections in the brain, spinal column, and other parts of the body. 

Fortunately, chronic nasal congestion can be caught and treated early either with sinus surgery or well-established alternatives to sinus surgery. Knowing nasal congestion symptoms and continuing to monitor them is the most crucial investment you can make in your sinus’ overall health.

Chronic nasal congestion symptoms

It can be difficult to spot chronic nasal congestion at first since its symptoms tend to overlap with colds, allergies, and other respiratory conditions. Doctors will typically consider your nasal congestion as “chronic” if it lasts around 12 weeks or more. However, if you have concerns regarding your nasal and sinus health before that point, don’t put off seeking medical attention. Early intervention is the key to effective treatment, after all. The symptoms of chronic nasal congestion include the following:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery or clear nasal discharge
  • Yellow or green mucus
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in the ears, teeth, and/or jaw
  • Sore throat
  • Watery eyes
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Itchiness in the eyes, nose, mouth, and throat
  • Bad breath
  • Nosebleeds
  • Reduced taste and smell
  • Tenderness around the nose and face

If you’re unsure whether you are experiencing chronic nasal congestion symptoms or another illness entirely, speak to a sinus specialist who can help you to come to a proper diagnosis. 

Chronic nasal congestion causes

There is not one root cause of chronic nasal congestion. The condition most often results from a different illness entirely, which may require medical intervention depending on its severity. 

Some possible causes of your chronic nasal congestion include, but are not always limited to, the following:

  • Allergies
  • Cold
  • Deviated septum
  • Sinusitis
  • Rhinitis
  • Nasal polyps
  • Enlarged adenoids
  • Absence of gamma globulin

While chronic nasal congestion is not seriously life-threatening on its own, it can sometimes be a signifier of a much more serious, overarching problem.If you eventually develop an infection and the condition persists for more than 12 weeks, you may be suffering from chronic congestion. Pay close attention to your symptoms and work with an allergy and sinus professional to pinpoint the main causes. From there, you can begin seeking the most effective treatment options.

How do you relieve nasal congestion?

Most of the time, getting rid of sinus congestion involves nothing more complex or invasive than a combination of over-the-counter medications and home remedies. If your symptoms are unresponsive to the most common and effective solutions available, it’s a sign that you may need to consult a sinus specialist or other medical professional. 

Your over-the-counter options for nasal congestion treatment include:

  • Nasal sprays
  • Decongestants
  • Nasal irrigation
  • Anti-allergy medications 
  • Vapor rubs
  • Eye drops
  • Lozenges
  • Cough syrup

Home remedies are not going to provide the same relief as over-the-counter medications, but they make for a valuable supplement. While dosing for medications has a maximum per day, home remedies don’t have the same limitations — making them wonderful compliments for one another.

Some of your home remedy options include the following:

  • Rest
  • Hydration
  • Warm, steamy compresses, baths, and showers
  • Humidifier
  • Spicy foods (not hard to find in Houston, fortunately)
  • Eucalyptus oil (use only as directed on the packaging)
  • Cinnamon, turmeric, or ginger tea (for inflammation)

If you are on prescription drugs, check with your pharmacist to make sure that no home remedies will negatively interfere with your medication. In the event over-the-counter and supplementary solutions do not relieve your symptoms, you may want to look into long-term solutions like balloon sinuplasty or other sinus procedures. 

Treat Nasal Congestion at Kaplan Sinus Relief

Kaplan Sinus Relief offers balloon sinuplasty in Houston for patients suffering from chronic nasal congestion and similar respiratory conditions. This minimally-invasive, outpatient procedure usually only takes a half-hour to complete and provides lasting relief with fewer steps than more traditional sinus surgery options. 

Want to learn more? Hear from one of Dr. Kaplan’s patients how balloon sinuplasty changed his life after dealing with chronic nasal congestion!

If you feel balloon sinuplasty or other surgical solution may be right for you, schedule an appointment with Kaplan Sinus Relief today. We offer a wide range of treatment options for chronic nasal congestion and other conditions. Breathe easier with Kaplan Sinus Relief. 

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This article has been reviewed and approved by Michael Kaplan, MD


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Houston, TX 77098