Nasal congestion refers to the blockage of the nasal passages. In response to various threats, the internal nasal tissues swell due to dilated blood vessels, the mucus thickens and the ciliary movement on the mucous membrane decreases, thus lowering the efficiency of the nasal mucosa cleaning mechanism.
As a result, respiration through the nose is obstructed and may eventually lead to attenuation of its protective function and the appearance of infection.
Nasal Congestion can be caused by:
• the common cold (influenza)
• allergies (allergic rhinitis)
• non-allergic rhinitis
• sinus infection (Sinusitis)
• reaction to medication (rebound syndrome)
• situations where there is increased blood flow (e.g. in an altered body position)
• hormones (hypothyroidism, diabetes, pregnancy)
• gastric reflux
• nasal polyps
The nose acts as the body’s first line of defense by filtering the air before it comes into contact with the lungs. This is one of the important factors for breathing through the nose that is bypassed during mouth-breathing.
The nose has many small hairs inside the nostrils. These hairs serve to filter the air and remove dirt and particles before it enters the lungs. Mucus additionally aids in the protection of the lungs by trapping foreign particles that come into contact with it during normal breathing.
Moreover, hair-like structures called cilia, evacuate the impurities and polluted mucus toward the front of the nose or down the throat which are subsequently spat or swallowed.
Nasal washouts, regular nose blowing and sneezing help remove the particles out of the body.
1 Frontal sinuses
3 Sphenoidal sinuses
2 Ethmoidal sinuses
4 Maxillary sinuses