Blog written by: Dr Anju Balakrishnan
Nasal congestion or stuffy nose happens when something irritates the tissue lining of the nose. It can lead to inflammation, swelling and mucus production, which makes it difficult to breathe.
Causes of blocked nose
Various reasons can cause a blocked nose. The most common ones include
- Seasonal allergies
- Common cold or Viral Rhinitis
- Deviated nasal septum (DNS)
- Nasal polyp
- Overuse of nasal decongestant spray
It is very important to first and foremost identify the cause of the nasal blockage.
Seasonal allergies/ Pollen allergy
Because of seasonal/ pollen allergies, there are chances for nasal congestion along with other symptoms like sneezing, itchy or watery eyes etc.
- Wear masks while going out.
- One can practice Neti kriya to cleanse their nose.
- Simple saline nasal spray can also be used. Certain essential oils like Eucalyptus and Menthol can help to relieve the symptoms of allergy.
- Honey is one of the best remedies to treat allergies.
- Bromelain is considered a natural healer. It is an enzyme usually found in papaya and pineapple. It helps in reducing the swelling by which breathlessness can be cured.
Common cold or Viral Rhinitis
It is a common viral infection of the nose and throat. There will be nasal congestion along with sneezing and watery eyes.
Rhinitis is the usual cause of nasal blockage. It involves a thin, mostly clear fluid running from the nose. Rhinitis involves irritation and swelling inside the nose.
First and foremost, one has to stay away from causative and triggering factors. This is done by Shodhana, especially nasya (nasal drops) and basthi (medicated enema) treatment. One has to follow an appropriate diet and lifestyle. Herbal medications are used for symptomatic treatment.
It is the inflammation of cavities around the nasal passage. Symptoms like facial tenderness, post-nasal drainage, nasal block and loss of smell are observed.
- In Ayurveda, the treatment mainly includes Panchakarma (detoxifying procedures). It includes Nasya karma and Shirodhara, which enhances psycho-somatic balance.
- Netikriya can be done to remove excess mucus and germs from the sinuses.
- Steam inhalation and gargling can relieve symptoms temporarily.
- Drugs having anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, like Giloy and Adulsa can be used.
- Hydrate yourself with plenty of fluids, take rest and sleep with your head elevated.
Deviated nasal septum (DNS)
DNS is the sideways displacement of the wall between the nostrils. In many people, the nasal septum is off-centre or deviated, making one of the nasal passages smaller.
- There will be an obstruction to one of the nostrils.
- Snoring and DNS can be one of the reasons for noisy breathing.
- The surface of the nasal septum may become dry and more prone to nose bleeds.
- Due to obstruction, the person will be forced to breathe through the mouth.
The main concern during DNS is nasal obstruction. Nasal obstruction will be worsened by allergy or infection. By treating this, the nasal block will be improved & you can breathe through the nose without surgery.
If the symptoms are severe and comprises your health, surgery is generally the option.
The nasal polyp is an inflammatory disease where there will be abnormal lesions originating from nasal mucosa or para nasal sinuses.
- Both Shodana (purificatory) and Shamana (palliative) treatments can be preferred.
- Shodana therapies like Nasya, dhoomapana etc., can be followed along with internal medications under the advice of an Ayurvedic physician.
- Single drugs like Haridra (haldi), Tulsi and Tutta (copper sulphate) are beneficial.
- Pathya has to be followed along with therapeutic intervention. Steam inhalation on daily basis can also be practised. Proper hygiene has to be maintained, and respiratory ailments have to be treated on time.
Adenoids are a patch of tissue that is high up in the throat, just behind the nose. They, along with the tonsils, are part of the lymphatic system.
An enlarged adenoid may cause persistent congestion resulting in snoring, mouth breathing, nasal drainage, ear problems and sinusitis.
Ayurveda describes adenoids start developing during childhood and enlarging when these get infected in the nose and throat. They usually start shrinking as the child gets older and tend to disappear when they reach puberty. Treatment options like nasya karma and internal medication can be followed.
Overuse of nasal decongestant spray
Rhinitis medicamentosa (RM) or rebound congestion is inflammation of the nasal mucosa caused by the overuse of topical nasal decongestants.