Nasal Congestion

YOU AND YOUR BLOCKED NOSE

Nasal drainage, difficulty in breathing, is one of the oldest complaints of humanity. While this issue caries a little importance for some people, it may cause significant difficulties for others.
Doctors examine nasal drainage under four categories, which may sometimes have similarities between them. These similarities increase for patients whose complaints are caused by more than one factor.

STRUCTURAL CAUSES

Under this category, disorders of the nose and the septum, which consists of a thin cartilage and divides the nasal cavity into two parts, are examined. These disorders are usually caused by any accident happened during life course. The accident may happen during childhood, and it may even be forgotten. Seven percent of newborn babies experience nose injuries during birth. It is a fact that, human beings hit their noses at least once during their lives. Therefore, nose deformations and nasal septum deviations are very frequently encountered factors behind nasal blockage. If these factors make breathing difficult, they can be fixed surgically.
Adenoid enlargement is the most usual source of nasal blockage for children. Adenoid is a tissue similar to tonsils, which is located behind the palatine and at the back of the nose. The children with this problem breathe loudly and even snore at night. Additionally, they always breathe from their mouths, they have an unhappy expression. They may even have defects on their teeth. Surgical operation for removing the adenoid may be recommended.
Other factors included in this category are nose neoplasms and foreign substances. Children tend to stick little items into their noses. These items may be buttons, hasps, toy pieces, peas, or chickpeas. Be cautious about unidirectional and fetid drainage, because this might be a signal that a foreign substance blocks the nose. At this point, a doctor must be consulted.

INFECTION

A normal person may undergo cold once or twice in a year in average. This can happen more frequent with youngsters, and less frequent with elderly who have strong immune systems. Cold is an illness triggered by viruses. While some viruses spread through air, most of them spread through hands and noses. Once the virus enters your nose, it causes secretion of a chemical substance called histamine. Histamine increases the blood flow to the nose, and consequently nasal membranes become swollen. On the other hand, secretion from nasal membranes increases. Antihistaminic and decongestant can be used to minimize these complications. However, cold heals in time without external interventions.
During virus infections, the resistance of the nose and sinuses to bacterial infections reduces. This explains why nasal and bacterial infections frequently encountered while having cold. If nasal flow changes color from transparent to yellow or green, this change indicates bacterial infection and requires consulting a doctor.
In sudden sinus infections, nasal blockage and dark colored flow may occur. Depending on which sinus is infected, pain and sensitivity increase on cheeks, on upper teeth, and on the parts between, behind, and above the eyes.
Chronic sinus infections might or might not result in pain. However, there is always nasal blockage and nasal drainage. Sinuses of some patients transform into structures referred as polyps. The illness may spread into lower respiratory tract and cause chronic cough, bronchitis, or asthma. Acute sinusitis usually responds to antibiotic treatments, while surgical operation is often recommended in case of chronic sinusitis.

ALLERGY

Pollinosis (hay fever) is another name for allergic rhinitis. Allergy is an extraordinary inflammation response to some particles contained in foreign matters, pollens, home dust mites, animal wastes, and home dust. Foods may also play a role in allergy. Pollens may cause trouble during spring and autumn. In addition, home dust may cause problems throughout a year. The ideal way to avoid this is to stay away from the things that might be sources of allergy. However, this is not practical in most of the cases. In allergic patients, as it is the case with having cold, nasal blockage and nasal drainage occur due to the particles that trigger histamine secretion in the body. Antihistaminic medicines may inhibit histamine’s effects and remove the complaints. Decongestants clear nasal blockage by contracting blood vessels.  While most antihistaminic medicines increase sleepiness, decongestants work on the contrary, producing a stimulating effect. Thus, using these medicines together would be the best choice.

WARNING

It is extremely dangerous for sleepy people to drive cars and perform hazardous works while using antihistaminic. People having hypertension, heart rhythm disorders, glaucoma, and difficulty in urinating should not consume decongestants, since these medicines increase heart rate and blood pressure. Pregnant women must consult doctors before taking any hind of medicine.
Corticosteroids (Cortisones) are visible effective on many allergic patients, but they should be used under supervision of a doctor due to their side effects. Additionally, these medicines are also effective when used as nasal sprays, and this usage is safer than other usages.
Allergy vaccination is the most specific treatment method and it is highly successful. Sometimes, blood and skin tests may be performed to identify the substances the patient is sensitive to. Doctor determines the beginning schema of the treatment. This method is usually applied as injections.
This treatment inhibits allergic reactions by blocking antibodies. Most of the patients prefer injections since they have fewer side affects.
People with allergy have a greater chance of becoming affected by sinus infections.

VASOMOTOR RHINITIS

Rhinitis is the inflammation of the nose and nasal membranes. Vasomotor means, “related to blood vessels”. Nasal membranes contain large amounts of artery vessels, capillary vessels, and veins, which may contract or expand. Normally, half of these vessels are open and half of them are closed. However, if the person undertakes heavy exercise, secretion of stimulating and effective hormones (adrenaline) increases. Adrenaline causes the vessels to contract. As a result, membranes contract, respiratory tract is opened, and the person may breath more easily.
A contrary situation arises in case of an allergic attack or when a person is exposed to cold. Blood vessels expand and the nose gets blocked. In addition to allergy and infections, some other factors may cause expansion of blood vessels and hence triggering vasomotor rhinitis. Stress, inadequacy of thyroid functions, pregnancy, some tension medicines, birth control pills, and excessive and long-term use of decongestants may be listed among these factors.
Initially, nasal blockage is temporary and reversible. Which means that if the source factor is removed, then the illness can be treated. However, if the illness prolongs, blood vessels may lose their elasticity and nasal blockage may become irreversible. Blood vessels start to look like varicose veins. When the patient lies on her back, or turns over to one side, the lower sides are filled with blood.