What Causes Nasal Swelling?

July 10, 2019

4 minutes

Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD

Nasal swelling: It’s one of those sinus symptoms that show up on lists for everything from a sinus infection to rhinitis to allergies. But what causes nasal swelling? Is the culprit behind this uncomfortable nasal state of affairs the same for all of these illnesses? 

At Kaplan Sinus Relief, we see nasal swelling (and all the frustration it causes) in all its forms. So today, we’re going to break down what exactly causes nasal swelling… that way, you and your loved ones can find sinus relief as soon as possible. 

What does it mean when your nasal passages are swollen? 

Nasal swelling is almost always a symptom of another illness. So when patients ask us “What causes nasal swelling?” they are often actually asking “What illness do I have?” At the same time, nasal swelling can also be what causes or worsens some illnesses.

This chicken and the egg quality of nasal swelling is just one of the reasons we recommend that you see a sinus doctor in Houston if you’re struggling with chronic sinus issues and nasal swelling.

For most sinus conditions, nasal swelling is caused by an inflammation of your sinus tissue. Sinus tissue lines your sinuses — the pockets of space that run from your nose into your throat and make up your upper respiratory system.

Your sinus tissue can become inflamed any number of ways. For example, irritants, pollutants, and allergens can all contribute to the nasal swelling that comes with allergies. (And as any Houstonian can tell you, the allergen count in Houston is typically high.) Those same culprits often help along the viral, bacterial, or fungal infections that cause sinus infections.

The other cause of nasal swelling: Nasal polyps

Nasal polyps are non-cancerous growths that appear in the nose, often as a result of chronic inflammation. Polyps can grow singularly or in clusters and grow to various sizes (they are often likened to small grapes). 

These fleshy little growths can create both the sensation of a swollen nose and increase your risk and sensitivity to rhinitis, allergies, sinus infections, and more. While there are other possible nasal polyps symptoms (runny nose, decreased sense of smell, sleeping issues) nasal polyps can also exhibit no symptoms at all. 

Other nasal obstructions such as inflamed turbinates and a deviated septum, when coupled with inflamed sinus tissues and/or nasal polyps can also contribute to congestion and swollen sensations. 

How do I reduce swelling in my nasal passages? 

Now that you know what causes nasal swelling, let’s discuss how to get rid of it. While severe chronic sinus issues, including nasal polyps and sinus infection, may demand more intensive surgery, there is now a much less invasive option for those who struggle with sinus issues: balloon sinuplasty.

Balloon sinuplasty is an in-office procedure that involves no incisions or no cutting away of nasal tissue. Instead, your sinus doctor inflates a small balloon, placed at the end of an endoscopic instrument, to open up your sinuses and restore proper sinus drainage.

Balloon sinuplasty takes less than 20 minutes, requires little-to-no recovery time, and can be used as nasal polyps treatment, sinusitis treatment, and more. 

Solve the mystery of what causes nasal swelling for you 

For some patients, it can even be hard in and of itself to know whether you just have a stuffy nose and can’t breathe well because of it, or you’re nasal passages themselves are actually swollen. The professionals at Kaplan Sinus Relief are here to help you find the remedy to your sinus problems and get you back to living your life.

Kaplan Sinus Relief has the added benefit the only private clinics in the nation to have access to both IV sedation for balloon sinuplasty (for patients wary of surgical procedures) and TGS navigation in Houston (for added precision and safety in endoscopic procedures).

Why continue struggling with you sinus issues year after year when you could safely find long-lasting relief in less than 20 minutes? Request an appointment online or give Kaplan Sinus Relief a call at 713-766-1818 today.

Related Resources: 
Have a Sinus Headache That Won’t Go Away?
Sinus Infection Odor
Deviated Septum and Sleep Apnea
How to Prevent Getting Sinus Headaches Every Morning
Will I Have Allergies After Sinus Surgery?


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Houston, TX 77098