What Causes Nasal Congestion


Congestion is when your nose becomes stuffed up and inflamed. Minor illnesses are the most common causes of nasal congestion. For instance, a cold, the flu and sinus infections can all cause stuffy noses. Illness-related congestion usually improves within one week.

If it lasts longer than one week, it’s often a symptom of an underlying health issue. Some explanations for long-term nasal congestion may be:

  • allergies

  • hay fever

  • noncancerous growths, called nasal polyps, or benign tumors in the nasal passages

  • chemical exposures

  • environmental irritants

  • a long-lasting sinus infection, known as chronic sinusitis

  • a deviated septum

Nasal congestion may also occur during pregnancy, usually during the end of the first trimester. Hormonal fluctuations and increased blood supply that occur during pregnancy may cause this nasal congestion.


These changes may affect the nasal membranes, causing them to become inflamed, dry, or to bleed.

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