Waking Up with a Stuffy Nose: 3 Common Causes

Waking Up with a Stuffy Nose: 3 Common Causes

Stuffy noses are never enjoyable. They're especially bothersome in the morning, when mucus and congestion sap your energy. Often, the culprit is a cold or another viral infection that usually goes away on its own within a week. 

Sometimes waking up with nasal congestion in the morning is a sign of an underlying sinus issue. If your stuffy nose is an ongoing problem, it’s wise to consult with a sinus specialist. 

At Southern ENT, our board-certified otolaryngologists and head and neck surgeons are dedicated to helping children and adults find effective solutions for conditions that affect the ears, nose, and throat. 

Nasal congestion is incredibly common, but when it strikes and doesn’t resolve on its own, it’s time to consult with a specialist. Here are three common reasons your morning stuffiness isn’t going away. 

You have indoor allergies

It's no secret that seasonal allergens like pollen or grass can trigger morning congestion. But so can irritants in your bedroom. Dust mites, pet hair, and mold are among the most common indoor allergens. Cigarette smoke, air fresheners, and cleaning products also cause problems for some people.

If you suspect an environmental irritant, such as dust, is to blame, try encasing your bedding in sealed covers, eliminating fabrics that collect dust particles, and keeping pets out of your bedroom. When these measures aren’t enough, discuss medication to manage your symptoms. 

You have a sinus infection

If your morning stuffiness is accompanied by facial pain, thick green or yellow mucus, and bad breath, you may have a sinus infection. 

These infections, which are frequently caused by a common cold or allergies, occur when bacteria, viruses, or fungi irritate the sinuses, causing them to swell and become blocked.

Most sinus infections resolve on their own within seven to 10 days. In the meantime, natural sinus infection treatments such as nasal saline rinse can provide relief. If symptoms persist after a week, contact us at Southern ENT for an evaluation. 

You have chronic sinusitis

Chronic sinusitis is a long-term sinus inflammation. The sinuses are moist air spaces behind your upper face's bones, between your eyes and behind your forehead, nose, and cheeks. Normally, your sinuses drain into your nose through small openings. 

Anything that obstructs that flow can lead to a buildup of mucus and, occasionally, pus in the sinuses. Structural abnormalities, infection, or tissue swelling can obstruct sinus drainage. Mucus accumulation causes sinus pressure and facial pain. 

Chronic sinusitis in adults is frequently linked to environmental allergies, particularly allergies to dust, mold, or fungi spores. These allergies cause the body to release histamine and other chemicals, triggering the inner lining of the nose to swell and obstruct sinus drainage.

We commonly find that our patients with chronic sinusitis have nasal polyps, which are noncancerous growths inside the nostrils. Polyps in the nose can disrupt the cilia (tiny hairs) and prevent them from clearing mucus. 

Nasal polyps can also cause nasal drainage, facial pain, and a reduced sense of smell.

Our expert medical team offers advanced surgical and nonsurgical treatments for congestion and nasal obstruction, including innovative solutions to help you breathe easier.

If you’re struggling with morning stuffiness, schedule a visit at our closest office. Call to request a consultation with a Southern ENT provider today. We have clinics located throughout southern Louisiana, in Thibodaux, Houma, Raceland, Morgan City, New Iberia, and Youngsville.

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