Question: How to prevent my stuffy nose? Since I came to Canada I was fine with my nose, but then 3 years later, after having a baby I am experiencing frequent nasal block. From June till October it gets worse. I am using so many different kinds of decongestants but no use. Can you give me some natural treatment and cure for nasal stuffiness?
Answer: Nasal cavity is lined by mucosa and blood vessels. Your nose gets blocked and stuffy when the inner lining of nose swells as a result of inflamed blood vessels.The nasal lining is made up of thin layer called mucus membrane. Normally it secretes thin liquid or mucus to keep the nasal cavity clean and prevent germs from entering the nose.
However, when the lining is inflamed, the mucus becomes thick and blocks the nose. The thick mucus may be white or copious yellow to green. Breathing through nose becomes difficult and the patient sometimes finds it annoying to breathe through mouth.
Variety of factors are responsible for stuffy nose, it can be an external cause or an internal disease. Usually congestion lasts for few days and clears of its own.Prolonged nasal congestion can give rise to several problems such as sleep apnea, hearing and speech problems.
What Causes Nasal Stuffiness?
External cause can be due to the various allergens the body is exposed to in the environment. It may be dust, pollen, chemical fumes, irritant sprays, extreme cold climate, food allergies from milk, ice cream, cheese etc. These allergens trigger immune response to release chemical called histamine. It causes congestion and excess secretion of mucus in the nasal cavity.
The internal reasons for nasal stuffiness can be due to nasal polyps, sinusitis, and deviated nasal septum and accidental insertion of foreign body. Nasal polyps usually develop due to frequent episodes of sinusitis. Polyps are fleshy growth in nasal cavity and they are most common cause of stuffy and congested nose in adults.
Infections: Your nose may frequently get blocked if you are suffering from common cold and flu. Infection in nasal sinuses is another important cause responsible for nasal blockage. Viruses are responsible for common cold and flu. They cause inflammation of mucus lining. Mucus may become green or yellow with infected sinuses.
Vasomotor rhinitis: This condition occurs when the blood vessels inside the nose get inflamed. The exact cause is not clear why vasomotor rhinitis occurs, but it is presumed to be due to changes in weather, especially dry weather, virus infection, spicy foods and drinks, medications such as aspirin etc.
Symptoms include: blocked nose, thick mucus discharge, difficulty in breathing, mouth breathing, snoring etc.
Home Remedies To Clear Up A Stuffy Nose
- Steam inhalation: Inhale the vapors of boiled water. This can relieve nasal stuffiness.
- Put apple cider vinegar in a pan and heat until it begins to steam. Inhale this vapor; it will decongest the blocked nose.
- Avoid allergens that cause stuffy nose, such as dust, pollens, chemical fumes, etc. Use mask to cover your nose when you go out in pollutant areas where there is too much dust and smoke etc.
- Use of black pepper and red pepper in food is useful as it stimulates the nasal secretions to flow. This is particularly helpful in sinusitis.
- Do not eat sugar in excess; it can lead to stuffy nose.
- Drink plenty of water. Proper intake of water helps to liquefy thick mucus.
- Eat fruits and vegetable as they are rich source of vitamins, they help to build the immune system stronger and prevent frequent nasal stuffiness.
Consult an ENT specialist to exclude polyps, sinusitis or any structural defect of the nose.