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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

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What causes nasal congestion in one side of the nose?

Answered by
Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3131 Questions

Posted on Fri, 27 Jul 2018 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: I have been having problems with one side of my nose being congested. then the other side will do the same I can feel the build up in my sinuses. Seems to happen a lot when I lay down in bed.
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 46 minutes later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:

Since the sinuses/nasal passages are connected, this is not an uncommon problem whenever there is some congestions present. The mucus goes to the lower (dependent side).

There isn't a whole lot you can do to prevent the fluids and swelling from building up on the dependent side. But there may be things you can do to prevent the increased congestion in the first place:

Saline rinses as you are doing are a good idea. In addition, you can add a steroid nasal spray such as over the counter Flonase. This can help stabilize the mucus membranes so that they are less reactive and don't produce as much discharge and swelling. It can take a few days of regular use for it to really kick in. It can work for both sinus reactivity from a cold and from allergies.

Don't use the saline and the steroid spray within an hour of each other because the Flonase will just drip down into your stomach where you don't want it.

If the problem seems to be related to a cold, you can try a decongestant such as pseudo ephedrine.

If the problem seems related to allergies, consider getting barrier dust mite covers for your pillow and mattress, having someone dust your bedroom regularly, wash your bedding weekly in hot water, and keep pets out of the bedroom. And you can try an antihistamine such as Zyrtec (generic, which is less expensive, is cetirizine).

I hope this information helps. Please let me know if I can provide further information.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

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