Congestion during the day is bad enough as you struggle to breathe deeply through your nose. At night, not only is your breathing compromised, those around you are kept up thanks to congestion-related snoring.
While there are many potential culprits behind congestion issues, allergies certainly rank at, or near, the top of the list. And you’re not alone — about 81 million people in the United States have allergic rhinitis, the medical term for allergy symptoms affecting your upper respiratory tract, including your nose.
As specialists in allergies and your ears, nose, and throat, our team here at Advanced ENT & Allergy, which includes Dr. Timothy Queen and Nancy Gibson, FNP-C, certainly knows their way around congestion.
Here’s a look at some of the usual suspects behind constant congestion, focusing on allergies.
Behind the congestion
When something irritates the inside of your nose, it sets off a chain of events, including:
- The tissues lining your nose become inflamed
- You start to produce excess mucus
- The swelling traps the mucus from draining
- The mucus becomes thicker
As a result, you struggle to get air in and out of your nose, often forcing you to use your mouth to breathe. This can lead to a sore throat and even headaches, making your simple congestion an expanding problem.
Causes of congestion
Many different things can irritate the inside of your nose to create congestion. For example, almost everyone experiences congestion during a cold or flu, but the problem disappears once the infection clears.
When it comes to chronic congestion, the following are some of the more common offenders:
- Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
- Chronic sinusitis
- Nasal polyps
- Anatomical issues, such as a deviated septum or enlarged adenoids
- Exposure to environmental irritants
Far and away, the most common cause of chronic congestion is allergies, especially those associated with hay fever. These types of allergies lead to congestion because you inhale the allergens, which include:
- Mold spores
- Dust mites
- Pet hair and dander
As these substances pass through your nasal passages and sinuses, the sensitive tissues can respond with the cascade we outlined above if you’re allergic to any one of them, leaving you with congestion.
Treating your congestion
Since we’re both allergy specialists and ENT experts, you’re in good hands if you want to get to the bottom of your constant congestion. After we review your symptoms and medical history, we can start with allergy testing. If this isn’t the cause, we can look inside your nose and conduct other tests to determine what’s behind the problem.
Once we identify the cause of your congestion, we can figure out the correct treatment plan to help you to breathe easier.
For expert care of your congestion, please contact our office in Newport News, Virginia, to schedule an appointment today.