What is nasal congestion?

Nasal congestion refers to obstructed (blocked) breathing through the nose. It is a common symptom of many different medical conditions.

In most cases, nasal congestion causes nothing more serious than discomfort. It can cause feeding problems in babies and sleep problems in children and adults. Nasal congestion is also known as a stuffy nose or congested nose.

How is nasal congestion diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose nasal congestion based on your symptoms and a physical exam. Your doctor will examine your nose, ears and throat to determine the cause of the congestion.

An otolaryngologist (ENT physician) may examine your nose using a flexible light called an endoscope.

Sometimes, a CT scan is required if a physical obstruction is observed or suspected.

In rare cases, a doctor may use tests including an X-ray or throat culture (test to examine substances in the back of the throat) to rule out other medical issues that could be causing the congestion.

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