Nasal congestion can be caused by anything that irritates or inflames the nasal tissues. Infections — such as colds, flu or sinusitis — allergies and various irritants, such as tobacco smoke, may all cause a runny nose. Some people have a chronically runny nose for no apparent reason — a condition called nonallergic rhinitis or vasomotor rhinitis (VMR).

Less commonly, nasal congestion can be caused by polyps or a tumor.

Potential causes of nasal congestion include:

  1. Acute sinusitis
  2. Allergies
  3. Chronic sinusitis
  4. Churg-strauss syndrome
  5. Common cold
  6. Decongestant nasal spray overuse
  7. Deviated septum
  8. Drug addiction
  9. Dry air
  10. Enlarged adenoids
  11. Foreign body in the nose
  12. Hormonal changes
  13. Influenza (flu)
  14. Medications, such as high blood pressure drugs
  15. Nasal polyps
  16. Nonallergic rhinitis
  17. Occupational asthma
  18. Pregnancy
  19. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  20. Stress
  21. Thyroid disorders
  22. Tobacco smoke
  23. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's granulomatosis)

Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Feb. 26, 2016