How to Get Rid of Sinus Congestion

April 8, 2020

7 minutes

Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD

If you struggle with chronic sinus infections or allergies, then you know exactly how hard it can be to get rid of sinus congestion. You also know that wanting to get rid of congestion means more than just getting rid of your stuffy nose; this common symptom can lead to other frustrating health issues.

For example, congestion that won’t go away can quickly lead to headaches that won’t go away.  If you are congested, you are more likely to snore, which in turn makes you more likely to feel fatigued during the day. Even congestion and nausea have been linked. 

Fortunately, there are many home remedies and medical treatments available to combat congestion. The hard part is often just finding what works for you. Read on to discover what options are available to you. 

Already gone through all the tried-and-true home and OTC treatments with no results? Kaplan Sinus Relief may still be able to help you get rid of sinus congestion. Simply skip to the section on balloon sinuplasty for more information.  

What causes sinus congestion? 

Before we get into how to get rid of sinus congestion, it’s important that we review what may be causing your nose to get stuffy. That’s because the type of remedies and treatment you pursue may be dependent on what is causing your sinus congestion in the first place. Some of the most common causes of sinus congestion include but are not limited to:

Illnesses: Many people experience sinus congestion at its worst when they are ill. Common illnesses that have sinus congestion as a main symptom include: the common cold, acute and chronic sinusitis, influenza, and non-allergic rhinitis. 

Allergies: Allergens are a primary culprit when it comes to what causes sinus congestion. Congestion is one result of your body trying to produce enough mucus to block pollen, dust, mold, smoke, and other irritants from entering your body. Allergens also irritate the lining of your sinuses, which can cause them to swell.  

Anatomical issues: Sometimes the anatomy of our nose can contribute to congestion and other sinus problems. Patients with a deviated septum, nasal polyps, and enlarged adenoids are at a higher risk of experiencing frequent nasal congestion. 

Hormones: Hormonal changes, including those related to pregnancy, can cause you to become congested. 

Medications: Taking medications used to treat depression, high blood pressure, and erectile dysfunction can have the side effect of nasal congestion. The overuse of nasal sprays meant to help with congestion can actually backfire and cause patients to experience increased sinus congestion. Talk to your doctor before making any changes to your medication regimen. 

Stress: While the connection between the two things may not be immediately apparent, stress and congestion have, indeed, been linked. This is because stress can lower your immune system, which in turn makes your body more susceptible to illness. 

FAQ: Can heat cause congestion? 

While congestion is normally associated with colder temperatures and dry air, extreme heat and humidity can also irritate your sinuses and contribute to congestion. Houston is the land of heat and humidity, and so many of our patients experience heat-related sinus issues. For more information, check out our article Can Heat Cause Congestion?

What are some home remedies for sinus congestion? 

Now that you have an idea of what is causing your stuffy nose, it’s time to discuss how to get rid of sinus congestion. Since sinus congestion is a fairly common issue, many home remedies have been created that may help alleviate a stopped-up nose. These include: 

Trying OTC medications: Decongestant sprays and pills can help alleviate many cases of sinus congestion. However, OTC medications should still be used with caution and care, as taking them incorrectly may actually worsen your sinus congestion. Always follow the directions on the label of the medication and consult with your doctor if you find that you need to take medications long-term. 

Avoiding allergens and irritants: If you suspect that your stuffy nose is caused by allergens, then the best way to get rid of sinus congestion will be to avoid those allergens as much as possible, including within your own home. When you can, avoid exposure to chemical irritants as well, including smoke or the chlorine in pools. 

Hydrating: Being dehydrated can make your mucus less viscous. To thin out the mucus and encourage proper drainage, make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water.  

Adjusting the humidity in your home: Do you live in an arid or dry climate? Or do you like to keep the A/C blasting while you’re at home? Both can lead to a dry nose, which encourages your body to create mucus to keep the lining of your sinuses moist. Using a humidifier or vaporizer in your home can provide your sinuses with much-needed relief. If you don’t currently own one of these devices, taking a warm shower or using a warm compress on your sinuses can help provide humidity. 

Eating foods that help sinus congestion: Some people like to eat spicy foods to help drain their sinuses. However, this is not for everyone. Some people have found that eating too much spicy food actually worsens their congestions. For more information, check out our article on Foods that Help Sinus Congestion

Using a Neti pot or saline spray: Using a Neti pot and/or saline spray can help irrigate your nasal passages and keep them from becoming too dry. When using the Neti pot, always use distilled water or water that has been boiled. 

FAQ: What pressure points drain sinuses? 

More scientific research needs to be done on the effectiveness of pressure points and acupuncture. However, many people believe certain pressure points can help relax muscles and encourage sinus drainage. Healthline has created a guide to finding those points. 

What is the fastest way to get rid of a sinus infection and other causes of congestion? 

Patients looking for how to get rid of a stuffy nose instantly should keep in mind that no treatment works immediately. However, medical treatments for sinus congestion have advanced greatly, and there is hope for those patients who suffer from chronic sinus issues and have had no success in getting rid of sinus congestion via OTC and home remedies. 

Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive, in-office procedure that can provide patients with long-lasting sinus congestion relief. The procedure typically lasts less than 20 minutes and patients often return to work and their regular activities the next day. This treatment provides a much-needed alternative to traditional sinus surgery, which is often invasive and frequently requires 3–5 days for recovery. 

Dr. Kaplan of Kaplan sinus relief is a pioneer of balloon sinuplasty. He has helped thousands of Houstonians breathe easier again using balloon sinuplasty, and has also taught doctors around the country how to safely perform the procedure using the latest technology, including augmented reality

Get rid of sinus congestion at Kaplan Sinus Relief 

To get rid of sinus congestion for good, you have to treat its underlying cause. Whether you’re suffering from allergy attacks, dealing with chronic sinusitis, or are anatomically more susceptible to congestion, the Houston sinus experts at Kaplan Sinus Relief can assess your needs and determine the perfect treatment for you, 

We are here to help Houston breathe easily again. To get started, call Kaplan Sinus Relief at 713-766-1818 or request an appointment online today.

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