Swollen nose


With a swollen nose, it is necessary to distinguish the location of the swelling. So only the outer part of the nose can be swollen. However, the inside of the nose can also swell. The nasal mucous membranes are usually thickened. Swelling of the nose can cause the airway through the noses to narrow, which can make breathing difficult. This is often perceived as very annoying. Typically this occurs as a result of an immune reaction, such as a cold or an allergy. However, there can also be other causes.

Causes of a Puffy Nose

The cause of a swollen and thus blocked nose is usually an inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane. The technical term for this is Rhinitis. The inflammation can cause the lining of the nose to swell, making breathing difficult. Colloquially, the acute inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane is referred to as a runny nose. Usually this happens through infection with a harmless virus. The runny nose often occurs as part of a cold or flu.

Read more on the subject below Swollen nasal lining

The second major cause of a blocked nose is allergy. The typical hay fever in particular is accompanied by swelling of the nasal mucous membranes. Actually harmless molecules are recognized by our immune system. This becomes active and causes inflammation. The nose is usually the first part of the body to have contact with the air we breathe and also has a filter function. Therefore, allergenic substances in the air and other aggressive substances usually trigger a reaction here first.

Read about this too Symptoms and development of hay fever

In addition to the main infectious and allergic reasons for a puffy nose, there are a number of other causes. In the so-called vasomotor rhinitis it is a swelling of the nasal mucous membranes that can resemble an allergy. However, the exact cause can often not be determined. Finally, the mucous membrane inside the nose can be raised and protruded into the airways. These are called Nasal polyps designated. Here, too, the exact cause cannot usually be determined.

Read about this Polyps in the nose

External swelling of the nose is usually caused by so-called boil, a painful inflammation of a fine hair root on the skin. If there is an infection of several neighboring hair follicles, one speaks of one carbuncle. These are mostly caused by bacteria.

Also the so-called Rhinophyma can be felt as swelling of the nose. This is a nodular swelling, especially around the tip of the nose. The exact causes cannot usually be determined here either.

Another reason for this can be a pus pimple in the nose. Read our main article at this point and learn more about the topic at: Pus in the nose

Concomitant symptoms

Often, swelling of the nose is accompanied by other symptoms. The reason for this is that a swollen nose is often just one of several symptoms of an illness. In addition, a swollen nose makes breathing difficult. This can impair sleep, smell or general well-being. Those affected often complain of greater tiredness or exhaustion. Hearing and speech can also be impaired.

If an inflammation of the nasal mucosa is the cause of a swollen nose, the secretion of mucus and a greater sensitivity of the nasal mucosa are usually additional symptoms. If the nose is swollen in the course of a cold or flu, the typical remaining symptoms of these diseases usually occur. If a boil is the cause of swelling of the nose, the nose is usually also reddened and very sensitive to pain. In addition, the boil itself can hurt without touching it.

Read more on the topic: Burning nose


When visiting a doctor, the doctor is usually asked first to describe the symptoms in detail. This is important for the diagnosis, as it gives the doctor a picture of the disease and a suspicion of the cause. Usually he asks further questions in order to grasp the complaints more precisely. However, such a conversation is usually not enough for diagnosis. Often the nose is also inspected by the doctor. If the swelling is inside the nose, the doctor may use a special tool called a Nasal speculumto widen the nostrils. This is usually not painful. Further investigations may then be necessary. These include imaging methods such as MRI and CT, or an allergy test.

What to do if you have a swollen nose

What to do about a swollen nose depends on what caused the swelling.

In many cases a visit to the doctor can be useful. This is especially true if the nose swells suddenly and for no apparent reason, such as a cold. If an allergy is suspected, it can be tested by the doctor. Various diseases such as polyps should also be examined by a doctor.

If a common cold is the cause of the nose swelling, it is usually not necessary to see a doctor. In this case, it is helpful to drink enough. In addition, the nose can be carefully blown, but should not be blown too hard, as germs can spread to the paranasal sinuses. Inhaling water vapor or essential oils can clear the nose.Moistening the mucous membranes with saline nasal spray facilitates the removal of the disruptive mucus.

If the nose was injured before it swelled, there may be a break. In this case, a doctor should be visited. Often this is accompanied by severe nosebleeds or a crooked nose. If there is a boil or even a carbuncle, a doctor's visit may be necessary. Adequate hygiene must be ensured. Independent treatment, for example by squeezing, is not recommended.

Read more about this under

  • Broken nose
  • Nasal furuncle

Home remedies

A number of home remedies can work very well for a swollen nose. The smell of an onion or spicy food stimulates the secretion of the nose, which can liquefy stuck mucus.
Inhaling warm water vapor or essential oils can be helpful. Of course, you should be careful of burns. Thyme, peppermint or eucalyptus, for example, can be used as essential oils.
It is particularly important to drink enough fluids. In addition to water, tea or hot lemon are also suitable for this.
If the cause is an infectious runny nose, sufficient hygiene must be ensured to prevent the disease from spreading.
If there is a boil or even a carbuncle, a visit to the doctor is usually advisable. There are also insufficient home remedies for polyps.

You might also be interested in: Home remedies for a cold

Duration of a swollen nose

The duration of a swollen nose is also strongly related to the cause of the swelling. While an infectious runny nose is usually over after a few days, an allergy can persist until the trigger has been removed or treatment has worked. This also applies to external swelling of the nose. So imagines Rhinophyma hardly return independently. A boil, on the other hand, slowly matures. After a relatively short time, it can then be opened and cleaned by a doctor.

Swelling inside the nose

Often, swelling inside the nose is a swelling of the mucous membranes. Usually this happens as a result of an immune response. If it occurs against a pathogen, it is usually a harmless viral infection. However, the immune system can also be directed against actually harmless molecules. This is known as an allergy. Often times, the swelling will persist for an extended period of time as long as the trigger cannot be found and removed.

Read more about this under

  • Duration of a cold
  • Therapy for an allergy

The so-called allergy is similar vasomotor rhinitis. Here, too, there is a swelling of the mucous membranes. However, an exact cause cannot usually be determined. So-called nasal polyps are growths of the mucous membrane. They should not be confused with the colloquial polyps. This is a different tissue. They also differ in their place of origin. Nasal polyps are usually initially treated with medication, including cortisone. If this is not enough, surgery may be necessary.

Swelling of the outer nose

External swellings of the nose also come in various forms. An injury to the nose can cause painful swelling. This also applies to a break in the nose area. It can also boil around the nose. This inflammation of the fine hair roots of the skin is very painful and often swollen. If there is a confluence of several boils, a carbuncle can occur. Especially in men, a so-called rhinophyma can occur in the course of rosacea. This is a bulbous swelling of the nose. It usually arises over a longer period of time. Drinking large amounts of alcohol can promote the formation of a rhinophyma.

Swollen nose after surgery

Swelling can also occur after an operation on the nose. This is often the case after cosmetic surgery such as rhinoplasty. Swelling can occur, especially in the first three days after an operation on the nose. As the mucous membranes are often affected, breathing through the nose can be difficult. However, swelling of the nose can persist for a long time after the operation. Most often the tip of the nose is particularly affected by the swelling. This swelling will usually slowly but steadily regress until it eventually disappears. In addition, the nose may feel stiffer than usual after surgery. However, this also normalizes in normal cases. The final result of a rhinoplasty can therefore usually only be seen after a few months. However, if you notice any further abnormalities or if there is no improvement, a doctor should be consulted.

Read more about this under Rhinoplasty

Swollen nose in the morning

Many people complain of waking up in the morning with a swollen nose. In this case an allergy can be the cause. Allergy-causing pollen can be found in the pillow or in the hair. During sleep, they can trigger an immune response in the nose, causing the nose to swell. This can make breathing difficult. However, free breathing is very important for a good night's sleep. This worsens the symptoms of those affected. If an allergy is suspected, a doctor should be consulted. An allergy can be tested and treated. It can also be useful to wash your hair in the evening and change your bedding regularly. This often relieves the discomfort.