Why Does Nasal Congestion Occur?

Nasal congestion is caused by the dilation of the blood vessels and the consequent increase in the irrigation of the lining of the nose, causing its inflammation. In this way, the nasal passages narrow, making it difficult for air to pass through.

Nasal Decongestants

The most common causes are infections (e.g., cold, flu, or sinusitis) and allergies. However, it can also be caused by irritating agents (e.g., tobacco smoke), sudden changes in temperature and humidity, sleep apnea, abnormalities of the thyroid gland, enlargement of the adenoid glands, hormonal changes, some medications (e.g., certain antihypertensives and antidepressants) or abuse of topical nasal decongestants.

Normally, nasal congestion is accompanied by other symptoms, such as the runny nose or runny nose, itchy nose (especially when the congestion is allergic), and sneezing. In general, for adults and older children, a stuffy nose is just a nuisance. However, it can be more serious in young children, since it can cause sleep disturbance, and in babies, because it can interfere with breastfeeding or bottle feeding.

Measures To Relieve Stuffy Nose And Runny Nose

Recommendations to help reduce congestion and runny nose include the following:

High Temperature

Avoid sudden changes in temperature (eg, do not set the heater to a very high temperature in winter).

Avoid Alcohol

.Control ambient humidity (eg, using a humidifier). Avoid alcohol consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.

Allergic Rhinitis

Drink liquids (water, infusions, juices …) abundantly. In this way, the dilution of mucus from the nose is favored, and it will be more easily expelled.

• If the congestion is of allergic origin, limit exposure to allergens (substances that cause the allergic reaction) as much as possible. Some of the most common are dust mites, pollen, or the epithelium of some animals.

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Carry out nasal washes with solutions of saline solution or seawater. These help remove mucus and hydrate the nasal mucosa. Furthermore, they have no side effects. For infants and toddlers who do not yet know how to blow their nose, a suction pear or nasal aspirator should be used to gently remove mucus.

Take steam inhalations. To do this, you must heat water and inhale the steam, covering the head with a towel. However, it is important to see a doctor if the duration of symptoms exceeds ten days, if there is a high fever or if the congestion is accompanied by yellow, green, or blood-colored mucus. It is also advisable to see a doctor when congestion results in sleep disturbances in children and, in babies, when it interferes with their diet or causes difficulties in breathing normally.

Anatomy And Physiology Of The Nose And Throat

The nose is the organ of smell located in the center of the face. The inside of the nose is above the roof of the mouth. The nose is made up of:

  • The external meatus. Triangular projection located in the center of the face.
  • The nostrils. Two chambers divided by the nasal septum.
  • The nasal septum. Mainly made up of cartilage and bone and covered by mucous membranes. Cartilage also shapes and supports the outside of the nose.
  • The nostrils. Ducts covered by a mucous membrane and tiny hairs (cilia) that help filter the air.
  • The paranasal sinuses. Four pairs of air-filled cavities, also lined by a mucous membrane.

What are paranasal sinuses?

The paranasal sinuses are cavities, or air-filled bags, near the nostrils. As in the nostrils, the paranasal sinuses are lined with mucous membranes. There are four different types of sinuses:

  • The ethmoidal sinus: located inside the face, around the area of ​​the bridge of the nose. It is already developed at birth and then continues to grow
  • The maxillary sinus: located inside the face, around the cheek area. It is also developed at birth and then continues to grow.
  • The frontal sinus: located inside the face, around the forehead area. The breast does not begin to develop until approximately seven years of age.
  • The sphenoid sinus: located deep in the face, behind the nose. It usually does not develop until adolescence.

What is the throat?

The throat is a tube similar to a muscular ring that acts as the conduit for air, food, and fluids. The throat also aids in speech formation. The throat is made up of:

    • The larynx (or voice box): A larynx is a cylindrical group of cartilage, muscles, and soft tissue that contains the vocal cords. The vocal cords are the upper hole in the windpipe, the conduit to the lungs.
    • The epiglottis: a fin made of soft tissue and located just above the vocal cords. The epiglottis folds over the vocal cords to prevent food and irritating substances from entering the lungs.
  • Tonsils and Adenoids: The tonsils and adenoids are made up of lymphatic tissue and are located on the back and sides of the mouth. Their role is to protect against infection, but they generally don’t have much use after childhood.

Nasal Polyposis: Symptoms, Prognosis, And Treatment

The nasal polyps are whitish formations that appear inside the nostrils or sinuses and are due to an inflammatory process of the mucosa.

These polyps are benign but can grow to the point of completely obstructing the nostrils.

The great experience of the University of Navarra Clinic in the endoscopic removal of polyps makes the intervention less aggressive.

The subsequent control of the patients, together with an adequate diagnosis of the allergic cause, allows a good evolution to be achieved in many patients.

Most common symptoms:

  • Impaired smell (anosmia).
  • Increased nasal mucus.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Snoring.

What are the causes?

The cause of nasal polyposis is unknown. The cause was initially believed to be allergic, but this is not always the case. Repeated inflammations of the nasal mucosa, due, for example, to rhinitis or sinusitis, anatomical alterations of the nostrils or paranasal sinuses, may be factors that favor the appearance of nasal polyps.

Treatment

Traditional treatment is not always effective: sometimes, they only respond to corticosteroids, and when surgery is performed, polyps sometimes reappear within a few months if they are not adequately respected.

Endonasal endoscopic surgery is a very effective procedure to correct nasal pathologies such as sinusitis, septal deviation, polyps, and tumors of the nose, skull base tumors …

It is done through the opening of the nostrils: without incisions. A thin fiber-optic instrument (endoscope) is inserted through the nose.

The intervention facilitates the drainage of mucus from the sinuses without risk of damaging the natural function of the mucosa, reduces pain, improves breathing, and even smells and sleep. he hospitalization period is minimal.