What is causing my nose always to be stuffy?


Q: Since I could remember, I've always had to breathe through my mouth. My nose has always been clogged with something, I try to blow it and only little bits come out and then it quickly clogs up again. I tried using some medicine recommended to me by my family doctor and it only worked for a short while, commercial nose sprays always worked but only if I continued to use them forever, which I heard was bad. Another doctor told me it might be some fungus and I should ask my family doctor to check on that. I did ask her but she just said that it was most likely allergies and I should try some allergy medicines. They did not work.


A:   Nasal congestion is a common reason for visits to my practice.  It is non life threatening but can be frustrating to live with.
Prior to starting treatment, it should be ruled out that no deviation of the nasal septum or nasal polyps are present. If they are present, they can be surgically corrected.  Surgical correction has limited success rate because underlying causes of nasal congestion may still be present.
The most common underlying cause of nasal congestion is allergies.  Allergies may be to something specific you can eliminate or something general in your environment that you can not eliminate. Dust, pollution and seasonal pollens are the most common forms of allergies.  Depending on any other symptoms, your doctor may recommend oral medications, nasal medications or both for management of your allergies.
Once you find the right combination for you, you will have to take it for the rest of your life.  Alternatively, if you are able to identify the allergens(cigarette smoke, animals, big city pollution) and eliminate them from your life, you may not need medications.

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