Your stuffy nose that just doesn’t seem to go away may be a sign of an underlying issue like allergies. Untreated allergies can cause chronic sinusitis with and without nasal polyps. Fortunately, chronic nasal congestion is very treatable. The first step is to visit a health care provider.

Allergy and immunology specialist Ulrike Ziegner, MD, PhD, and the team at Riviera Allergy Medical Center diagnose and treat a full range of allergic conditions. Undiagnosed and untreated allergies are often an underlying factor in chronic nasal congestion. 

Respiratory allergies

Inhaled allergies are common. They’re caused by proteins in the air that trigger inflammation of the airway. The most prevalent allergens are:

  • Tree, grass, and weed pollens
  • Dust mites
  • Pet dander and hair
  • Mold spores

A runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, and itchy or watery eyes are typical symptoms of respiratory allergies. You may experience seasonal or perennial allergy symptoms.

Symptoms vary from person to person. You may have nasal congestion without other symptoms like sneezing.

Acute versus chronic sinusitis

Inflammation of the tissues that line the nasal cavity causes a stuffy nose. In some cases, a stuffy nose will go away on its own, for instance, if a common cold is causing the inflammation, the swelling resolves once the cold has gone away. A persistently stuffy nose might inhibit sinus drainage and lead to inflammation of the sinuses, called sinusitis. An acute sinusitis resolves within less than 8 weeks.  Chronic sinusitis lasts much longer than acute sinusitis, by definition more than 8 weeks.

Symptoms of chronic sinusitis include:

  • Thick nasal drainage
  • Purulent postnasal drip
  • Problems breathing through the nose
  • Diminished or even loss of sense of smell and taste
  • Pain around the cheeks, eyes, and forehead

If you have a stuffy nose that lasts more than a couple of weeks, it’s best to see a doctor.  You should also visit a doctor if you have recurring bouts of sinusitis.

The ongoing inflammation caused by unaddressed allergies can lead to persistent nasal congestion. You may assume that you keep catching colds, or that you have a cold that won’t go away when indeed you are dealing with chronic sinusitis. 

Dr. Ziegner can help you get to the root of your stuffy nose, so you can get much-needed treatment and relief.

Nasal polyps

Nasal polyps are linked to inhaled allergies. These soft, painless, noncancerous growths arise from the lining of the sinuses and nasal cavity. They swell and contribute to nasal congestion, often to the point of total nasal obstruction. 

Appropriately treating allergies can prevent nasal polyps and lessen your nasal congestion so you can breathe better through your nose. Nasal rinses with salt water and baking soda as well as steroid or antihistamine nose sprays might give you relief.  Newer and very effective treatments for nasal polyps are biologics, such as Dupixent and Xolair, often preventing invasive surgeries. Consult Dr. Ziegner who is very experienced in treating allergic conditions with biologics.

Treating chronic nasal congestion

Proper diagnosis is the first step toward managing a chronic stuffy nose. Dr. Ziegner will rule out other causes such as a deviated septum. 

To diagnose allergies, Dr. Ziegner uses insight gleaned from your symptoms, medical history, and relevant tests and then makes a customized treatment plan for you.  

If you’re struggling with nasal allergies, congestion, sinusitis or nasal polyps, we can help you get relief. To get started, call our Redondo Beach, California, office at 310-504-3242 to schedule a visit with Dr. Ziegner. 

You can also send a message to Dr. Ziegner and the team here on our website.

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