Nasal congestion can occur when your nasal tissues become inflamed and enlarged. Alternatively, it can be due to the shape and structure of a patient’s nose. For instance, a deviated septum, inferior turbinate hypertrophy or enlarged adenoids can all cause nasal congestion or obstruction. Those with nasal congestion may feel “stuffy”, thus the common symptom called “stuffy nose”. Infections and even allergies can cause this condition. It is essential to determine if your symptoms are due to allergies, anatomy, or infection in order to determine the best course of treatment. However, home remedies, such as an over-the-counter antihistamine, nasal irrigations, or humidifier, may help relieve symptoms.
Post Nasal Drip
Post nasal drip occurs when excess mucus runs down the back of your nose to your throat. The excess mucus can be caused by having a cold, the flu, allergies, a sinus infection, changes in weather, or certain irritants. Post nasal drip is often not actually caused by the nose. Many patients actually have laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) that causes the throat to be more sensitive to normal, physiologic amounts of post nasal drip. The nose normally makes about a liter of mucous a day that is supposed to trickle down the throat without the patient being aware of the drainage. If you have LPR, then the patient’s throat can be overly sensitive and it feels like they have excessive postnasal drainage, when in fact they do not. Even though LPR is a type of reflux, patients often have this without the traditional signs of reflux (heartburn, indigestion, etc) which is why some people refer to it as “silent reflux”.
If you find yourself clearing your throat more often than normal, you may have post nasal drip, or you could have LPR. Medications, such as antihistamines and decongestants, using saline nasal sprays, and a humidifier can help alleviate your symptoms of postnasal drip, but will not help if you have LPR. If you have LPR, it is typically treated with dietary modifications as well as traditional reflux medications such as prilosec (omeprazole). An ENT doctor in Waco may also assist.
Complicated epistaxis is commonly referred to as a nosebleed. Nosebleeds happen when a blood vessel bursts within the nose. There are two types of nosebleeds – anterior and posterior. Anterior nosebleeds are the most common and usually happen after a blood vessel bursts on the nasal septum. Posterior nosebleeds are less common, as they happen after an artery bursts in the back part of the nose; this usually requires a referral to an ENT specialist to get managed. Most nosebleeds occur during the winter months and can be treated at home with proper care.