I've had this problem for years, but never got it corrected because I don't have medical insurance. I'm a 23 years old and my problem is I have constant, all year round nasal congestion. It doesn't matter if I'm inside, outside, summer, winter, spring etc. one (some times both) nostrils will just suddenly close up. I know Afrin isn't suppose to be used more then 3 days, but I've been using it for the last couple of years because it is the only thing that keeps my nose open. Problem is, at night when I'm sleeping it's like the mucus or whatever moves to one side of my head, so if I wake up in the night for just an instant, I can't fall back to sleep because one of my nostrils would be so heavily blocked that not even the Afrin will open it. I just woke up because of this.
Also I'm noticing that whatever is causing this congestion is affecting my ears as well, because I notice them popping or "changing tone" whenever I get up. It usually is on the same side as the affected nostril. Another annoyance is this throat phlegm issue. It's like phlegm is always sitting at the back of my throat and I'm always clearing it or trying to swallow it, but have no luck. This problem is most noticeable at night when I'm trying to go to bed.
I don't have any known food or seasonal allergies. I don't smoke, although when I was 5 my father smoked when I was in the same room as him. But this problem didn't develop until I was 16. My diet is the usual fast food, tv dinner thing.
The first thing I will tell you is to go see an ENT, because it sounds like you have a pervasive sinus infection. If you have low funding or no intention of seeing a doctor, there is a cure available, if you wish to take a risk.
It's normal for one nostril to be closed off at a time. In fact,that is a mechanism for a normal nose to clean itself. However, the Afrin has made yours extreme.
Hypertonic saline will shrink your turbinates (the things that close off your nostril) and wash out the infection from your sinuses. Here is the manual on how to do it.
Here are some special warnings for you. The popping sound in your ears is because the infection is going into your Eustachian tubes. If you choose to do a Flip-Turn Sinus Flush, make absolutely sure you do not twist your head to the side during the procedure.
More importantly, do not blow your nose very hard, if at all, or do it very very very gently, and always with one nostril untouched. Take some decongestants, like Sudofed, plus Mucinex to dry up your head in between flushes, and do not eat dairy products or white-flour products until your head clears. Oh, and quickly wean yourself from the Afrin.
After each sinus flush, lay on a bed with each ear up, and blow up a balloon to drain your ears.
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