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 (sinus infection)
  2. Allergies
  3. Chronic sinusitis
  4. Churg-Strauss syndrome
  5. Common cold
  6. Decongestant nasal spray overuse
  7. Deviated septum
  8. Drug addiction (substance use disorder)
  9. Dry air
  10. Enlarged adenoids
  11. Foreign body in the nose
  12. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's)
  13. Hormonal changes
  14. Influenza (flu)
  15. Medications, such as high blood pressure drugs
  16. Nasal polyps
  17. Nonallergic rhinitis (chronic congestion or sneezing not related to allergies)
  18. Occupational asthma
  19. Pregnancy
  20. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  21. Stress
  22. Thyroid disorders
  23. Tobacco smoke

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

Jan. 11, 2018