How Can I Treat Colds And Sinus Infections That Cause Nasal Obstruction?
Symptomatic relief using over-the-counter medications is often helpful. Medicines containing guaifenesin (such as Robitussin) are effective in thinning mucus and a nasal saline rinse or spray can further help partially relieve obstruction. For some patients, over-the-counter products containing pseudoephedrine (such as Sudafed) may also be highly effective, but patients may develop side effects like high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, anxiety, or palpitations. Caution should be used when using products containing pseudoephedrine and usage should be discontinued at the first sign of any side effects. Nasal steroid sprays like fluticasone (such as Flonase) and oral antihistamines may further reduce congestion and nasal mucus production. Fever, headaches, and muscle aches can be treated with ibuprofen or Tylenol as needed.
For severe nasal congestion, decongestants containing oxymetazoline (such as Afrin) can be used for 48 hours for symptomatic relief. Prolonged usage of these nasal decongestants will result in a rebound congestion called rhinitis medicamentosa. For acute nasal obstruction and colds lasting more than 7 days, medical evaluation may be helpful in determining if antibiotics would help speed the resolution of the infection and if there are other potential sources of nasal obstruction.
If your sinus infections are chronic or reoccurring, this may be a sign of an underlying sinus disorder that is blocking the sinuses from properly draining. Dr. Shin can evaluate your condition to help determine the cause of these infections. Learn more about sinus infections by clicking here.
What Is Rhinitis Medicamentosa?
Rhinitis medicamentosa is the overuse of long term nasal decongestants containing oxymetazoline (such as Afrin). The major symptom is nasal obstruction. Treatment involves discontinuing usage of the nasal spray and a short term course of nasal and / or oral steroids if nasal obstruction is severe. Some medications like propranolol, aspirin, and ibuprofen may also cause nasal congestion in some patients.
What Is Choanal Atresia?
Choanal atresia occurs when the back of the nose or posterior choanae is blocked by a thick plate of bone and / or tissue, leading to nasal obstruction. This condition is usually diagnosed at birth and treated early in life. Treatment involves the removal of the bony plate to improve nasal breathing. Occasionally, some patients may grow to teenage or adult years with undiagnosed unilateral choanal atresia causing one-sided nasal obstruction. Nasal breathing dramatically improves following surgery to remove the bony plates that cause choanal atresia.
What Is Adenoid Hypertrophy?
Adenoid hypertrophy refers to the unusual growth of the adenoids. This condition can cause the adenoids to grow large enough to partially or fully obstruct the nasal passages. Adenoid hypertrophy is caused by infections of the adenoids. Though more common in children, adenoid hypertrophy can also occur into adulthood. Medications can be prescribed to treat the infection. In severe cases, adenoidectomy can be discussed to remove the adenoids.