Nasal congestion is mostly caused by inflammation of blood vessels in the lining of the nose, however (as per the list below) there are multiple possible causes.

Some people suffer from non-allergic rhinitis which has all the congestion, pressure, pain and and sniffles but without the normal allergy causes.

Congestion for people with non-allergic rhinitis can be caused by humidity, temperature or pressure changes, as well as less common triggers like pollution or smoke.

Doctors can quickly assess different types of congestion and refer to appropriate specialists who may be able to permanently fix the problem with a quick procedure.

Causes of congestion include;

  • Layered (long-term, and possibly fungal) sinus infection/s
  • A deviation in the alignment of the nasal septum that separates the nostrils
  • Nasal polyps (overgrowths in the nostril) possibly caused by hayfever or other allergies, asthma or other disease such as cystic fibrosis.
  • An enlarged bullosa (air-filled cavity) somewhere around the nose bone
  • Allergic rhinitis (hayfever) or pollinosis
  • Influenza or a common cold

In some cases the problem is more than one of the above, which can make for an uncomfortable hayfever season for some people.

Your GP doctor is qualified to assess the possible cause/s of congestion and in some cases referral to an Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) specialist may be necessary.


Avoid using topical decongestants such as decongestant nasal sprays for more than a couple of days, as rebound congestion can result whereby your congestion becomes worse and requires even more decongestant, and so on.

Congestion Care

  • Avoid cigarette smoke and alcohol.
  • Remove carpet at home, and at work if possible.
  • Clean nose regularly with a saline (salt-water) solution, and do so at least once daily when suffering from allergies or infection.
  • Take medication strictly as advised (e.g. daily for corticosteroids, ahead of time for antihistamine tablets, and as needed for antihistamine sprays) and re-visit doctor as needed.
  • Look at the ground when administering nasal sprays, angling the sprayer slightly outwards to the side of the nostril, then inhale softly just enough to keep the liquid coating the inner lining of the nose.
  • Do your best to avoid ear congestion/infection by maintaining clean, healthy ears – do not insert cotton tips into ears.
  • Avoid dust accumulation with appropriate air circulation and regular cleaning