What causes nasal congestion?

Nasal congestion can be attributed to several factors, which include:

  • Infections: Such as the common cold, flu, Covid, or sinusitis, from viruses or bacteria.
  • Allergies: Triggered by pollen, dust, pet dander, or other allergens.
  • Structural irregularities: Such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps.
  • Environmental irritants: Smoke, strong odors, or chemical fumes can lead to inflammation.
  • Underlying health conditions: Including respiratory tract infections, chronic sinusitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • Hormonal changes: Pregnancy or thyroid disorders can also cause congestion.

Diagnosing nasal congestion

Many cases of chronic nasal congestion are allergy-related. To identify triggers, various tests may be performed:

  • Skin prick test: This is the most common allergy test. Small amounts of potential allergens are applied to the skin, typically on the forearm or back, using a gentle prick method. If you're allergic, a small, raised bump (similar to a mosquito bite) will appear.
  • Intradermal skin test: If skin prick tests are inconclusive, an intradermal skin test, where a small amount of allergen is injected just under the skin, may be used.
  • Blood test (Specific IgE): This test measures the amount of allergy-causing antibodies in the bloodstream, known as IgE. A sample of your blood is sent to a laboratory to test for multiple allergens.
  • Patch test: This test checks for skin allergies and is used to identify substances that cause contact dermatitis, which can affect nasal passages if inhaled.
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What are the symptoms of nasal congestion?

Symptoms accompanying nasal congestion can include:

  • Blocked or reduced airflow through the nose.
  • Pressure or fullness felt in the sinuses.
  • Mucus buildup, which may lead to a runny nose.
  • Difficulty sleeping or snoring caused by obstructed airways.
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste due to obstruction and mucus.

What are the treatment options?

Treatment for nasal congestion often depends on the underlying cause. Common remedies include:

  • Decongestants: Over-the-counter (OTC) medications that shrink blood vessels in the nasal passages.
  • Antihistamines: Especially helpful for allergy-induced congestion.
  • Nasal sprays: Saline sprays to moisturize and clear nasal passages or medicated sprays for more severe cases.
  • Steam inhalation: Breathing in steam can help soothe inflamed nasal passages and thin mucus.
  • Humidifiers: Adding moisture to the air can ease congestion and breathing discomfort.
  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of fluids helps thin the mucus.
  • Head elevation: Sleeping with an elevated head can reduce sinus pressure and congestion.


This procedure corrects a deviated septum, which can cause blockages in the nasal passages leading to congestion. By straightening the septum, patients often experience improved airflow and relief from chronic stuffiness.


Enlarged nasal turbinates are a common cause of nasal obstruction. A turbinectomy involves reducing the size of these structures to enhance breathing.


Nasal polyps can obstruct the nasal passages and sinuses, leading to congestion and difficulty breathing. Removing these polyps can open up the airways and provide significant relief.

Functional Rhinoplasty

In some cases, reshaping the external structures of the nose not only improves its appearance but also its function, including the alleviation of breathing difficulties.

Balloon Sinuplasty

Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive procedure where a tiny balloon is inserted into the nasal passage and inflated to clear blockages, offering relief from persistent sinusitis and nasal congestion without surgical incisions.

Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

Endoscopic sinus surgery involves the insertion of an endoscope into the nasal passages to remove blockages, improving airflow and sinus drainage, thereby alleviating symptoms of chronic sinusitis and nasal congestion.

We perform evaluations to determine if you are a candidate for surgery. We use state-of-the-art surgical techniques designed to maximize results and minimize recovery time, ensuring you get the best possible care and return to comfortable breathing as quickly as possible.

Why choose us for your nasal congestion problems?

At our clinic, we prioritize understanding and addressing the root cause of your nasal congestion. Our team of experienced ENT specialists provides comprehensive care, from precise diagnosis to personalized treatment plans. With access to the latest medical advancements and a commitment to patient-centered care, we ensure that you receive the most effective solutions tailored to your specific needs.

We recognize the discomfort and inconvenience nasal congestion brings into your life, which is why we offer the following:

  • State-of-the-art diagnostic tools: To accurately identify the cause of your congestion.
  • Customized treatment plans: We offer compassionate, personalized testing and treatments.
  • Patient education: We believe in empowering patients with knowledge about their condition and treatment options.
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Congestion FAQs

How can I quickly relieve nasal congestion?

Try a warm shower or inhaling steam, using a saline nasal spray, or applying a decongestant as directed for immediate relief.

Can nasal congestion be a sign of a more serious condition?

While congestion is often due to a cold or allergies, it could indicate a more serious issue requiring medical attention if it's persistent or accompanied by severe symptoms like pain or fever.

How can I tell if my congestion is due to allergies or an infection?

Allergy-related congestion typically comes with itching and watery eyes and might follow exposure to an allergen. Infections may be accompanied by a fever, body aches, and a more gradual onset. Allergy testing should be performed.

With 6 convenient locations around the Louisiana area, we're never far away.

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