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Nasal Congestion

Memorial Village ENT

ENT Physician & Audiologist located in Houston, TX

Everyone experiences a stuffy or runny nose at some point. In most cases, nasal congestion isn’t a serious medical issue and resolves on its own in time. However, for some, nasal congestion can turn into a chronic problem. If your stuffy or runny nose isn’t getting better, board-certified ENT physician Conrad McCutcheon, MD, FACS, at Memorial Village ENT in Houston, Texas, can help. To schedule an evaluation, call the office or book an appointment online today.

Nasal Congestion Q & A

What is nasal congestion?

Nasal congestion, also called a stuffy nose, is when your nasal passages get clogged or stuffy due to swelling of your nasal tissue and blood vessels. You may experience a runny nose with nasal congestion. 

Nasal congestion is common. Though your stuffy and runny nose may affect your quality of life, the symptoms are generally benign and resolve over time with at-home care. 

What causes nasal congestion?

You can develop nasal congestion from many causes. However, allergies and viral infections are the most common. 

Nasal allergic conditions

With nasal allergic congestion, you may experience a range of symptoms like nasal itching, nasal airway obstruction, or nasal and postnasal discharge. Your nasal allergic congestion may also include watery and itchy eyes. 

Nasal infections

Viral infections are also a common cause of nasal congestion. Your nasal infection congestion symptoms may include fatigue, fever, joint and muscle pain, or bloody or colored nasal discharge. Facial pain and headaches are also common symptoms. Viral nasal congestion typically lasts no longer than 10 days. If your symptoms last longer, you may have a bacterial sinus infection. 

Nasal deformities

Persistent nasal obstruction or bleeding may indicate structural deformities or more serious health problems. Acute nasal infections can also turn into chronic sinusitis. 

Vasomotor or nonallergic rhinitis

Vasomotor or nonallergic rhinitis happens when blood vessels in your nose expand, filling your nasal lining with fluid and blood. This causes you to experience similar symptoms to hay fever (allergic rhinitis) including nasal congestion, nasal and postnasal discharge that is unrelated to allergy or infections. The diagnosis is made after ruling out allergic and infectious causes with allergy tests, and imaging studies.

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak

If your nasal congestion includes an overactive nasal drip or runny nose, you may have a CSF leak. CSF is the colorless fluid that surrounds the brain and offers protection against trauma and infection. Microscopic cracks in the barrier that separates the brain and the sinus cavity may lead to a CSF leak. 

When should I seek medical care for nasal congestion?

In most cases, nasal congestion resolves on its own without any medical intervention. However, if your nasal congestion is chronic, your nasal discharge is bloody, or you’re experiencing a chronic runny nose after a head injury, you should contact the team at Memorial Village ENT for an evaluation. 

Dr. McCutcheon is an experienced ENT who takes a patient-centered approach to care. You can expect a comprehensive evaluation when you come in seeking help for your nasal congestion. 

How is nasal congestion treated?

Treatment for your nasal congestion is individualized based on the underlying cause. Your treatment may include:

  • Oral antihistamines
  • Nasal sprays
  • Nasal steroids
  • Decongestant
  • Antibiotics


For structural deformities or more serious nasal conditions, Dr. McCutcheon may recommend surgical intervention, which he performs using the most advanced tools and techniques available.

To schedule an evaluation with a compassionate and experienced ENT to get help for your nasal congestion, contact Memorial Village ENT by phone or online today.