There are a number of causes of breathing and sinus problems. The sources can be caused by either anatomical or non-anatomical conditions. Generally, patients with these conditions suffer from airway obstruction(s) and complain of a blocked or stuffy nose, headache or sinus pain.
Chronic nasal obstruction, turbinates or a stuffy nose. These can be typically caused by enlargement of the inferior nasal turbinates which are small, bony structures covered by mucous membranes that protrude into the nasal airway and help to warm, humidify and cleanse air as it is inhaled and before it reaches the lungs.
Nasal polyps. These are masses that can form arising in the mucous membranes of the nose and the paranasal sinuses. When this happens, they can completely block the nose and cause difficulty in breathing, partially or completely hinder ones ability to smell or taste, produce a constantly running nose and can also cause permanent mouth breathing, with subsequent poor sleep.
Adenoids. These are masses of lymphoid tissue situated at the very back of the nose where the nose blends into the mouth. In children they are frequently susceptible to swelling and infection. see tonsillitis information
Deviated Septum. This condition refers to a deformity of the septum that is the wall that divides the nose into left and right sides. When it is bent to one side, it can block breathing through the nose. This can affect the sense of smell and taste, cause discomfort, and may precipitate snoring. Nosebleeds may also be caused by a bent or deformed nasal septum.
Rhinophyma. Untreated rosacea can cause a disfiguring nose condition called rhinophyma. It is an enlarged red nose that may also include thick bumps on the lower half of the nose and the nearby cheek areas. Rhinophyma occurs mainly in men and severe conditions can require surgical repair. Since it is a cosmetic disorder, it may cause emotional distress if symptoms are obvious or extensive.
Chronic Sinusitis. This is an inflammation of the paranasal sinuses which may or may not be the result of an infection, bacterial, fungal, viral, allergic or autoimmune issues. The sinuses are air-filled spaces that are part of the nasal cavity, within the bones of the skull and face. Humans possess a number of paranasal sinuses that are thought to:
Allergies. Allergies are abnormal immune system reactions to things (pet dander, dust, pollen etc.) that are typically harmless to most people. When you are allergic to something, your immune system mistakenly considers these substances to be harmful to your body and reacts by producing symptoms such as sneezing, stuffiness, sore throat (link) nasal drainage etc.
Overuse of Nose Sprays. The overuse of nasal sprays cause the medication in them to become less effective which in turn causes the nasal congestion symptoms to reappear. Patients who overuse nasal sprays become congested more frequently since the nasal spray becomes less effective each time they use it. Avoiding overuse maintains the effectiveness of the medication.
Birth Control Pills. Problems like inflamed sinuses, stuffy nose or post nasal drip occasionally can be attributed to the hormones in birth control pills. If one suffers from chronic conditions, a discussion with a physician is needed to find an appropriate medication that can reduce or eliminate the condition.
Colds or Flu. Conditions such as bacterial or viral infections cause colds or the flu, each of which these if severe enough, warrant examination by a physician. Treatments can rest, fluids, and over- the-counter drugs to address symptoms and treatment by a physician. If these conditions occur frequently, surgical approaches that include the removal of tonsils or adenoids may provide relief.