Rebound congestion is a medical terminology used to describe excessive addiction to nasal decongestants. This article provides information regarding the causes and treatment of this nasal disorder.
Rebound congestion, also known as rhinitis medicamentosa (RM), is caused by prolonged use of nasal decongestants and nasal sprays containing drugs like naphazoline, xylometazoline, phenylephrine, oxymetazoline, etc. Though nasal sprays and decongestants bring instant relief, prolonged and repeated use of nasal decongestants constrict the lining of the nose and cause swelling of mucosal lining.
The condition occurs when symptoms of allergy, sinusitis, and cold return after the treatment is over. It is caused by the treatment itself or incomplete recovery from the drugs that cause the congestion. This may sometimes result in addiction to these drugs, and medication to control the congestion can deteriorate the condition if the medication is ceased in between.
The common causes that leads to overuse of nasal decongestants are deviated nasal septum or upper respiratory tract infections. Use of cocaine also causes this nasal disorder. Other medical disorders include vasomotor rhinitis and hypertrophy of inferior turbinates. Afrin and rhinostat addiction in people have resulted in rebound congestion in most cases. Rhinitis medicamentosa can also occur during pregnancy as these drugs are unsafe during that period.
The various treatment options are mostly under the control of your voluntary actions. They are:
- Stop using nasal decongestant sprays and topical decongestant drugs as they can only worsen the condition later on. As nasal sprays are the primary cause of this condition, make an effort not to use them frequently.
- In case you are unable to withdraw from the use of these drugs immediately and rebound congestion causes pain and breathing trouble, make a gradual effort to discontinue it. Decrease the dosage each day and try to get rid of the addiction. This is commonly known as ‘cold turkey withdrawal’.
- Try to keep your nasal passage moist by using saline decongestants. This is a good substitute for nasal sprays and relieves you to some extent from the discomfort.
- Take painkillers only if the pain becomes unbearable. Nasal steroids, sometimes, help get rid of the nasal discomfort.
- Seek your doctor’s advice to get relief from this congestion and get the proper treatment for stuffy and blocked nose. Sometimes, surgery is the last option for patients with deviated septum.
- Keep the mucous membrane inside your nose moist by steaming or humidifying. This is a good option for blocked nose and also a good substitute for nasal sprays.
- Natural nasal sprays like SinuSoothe and Sinol also ease the withdrawal process. They reduce inflammation, nasal congestion, and nasal blockage.
Rhinitis medicamentosa will stay unless you refrain yourself from nasal sprays and decongestants. It occurs after using the nasal decongestants for more than 3 days. To get immediate relief from the discomfort, people often increase the frequency of dosage per day. This in turn causes tremendous pain and swelling inside the nose after one week, and sometimes, can even lead to permanent turbinate hyperplasia that blocks nasal breathing and requires a surgery.
People with rebound congestion find it very difficult to get rid of nasal decongestant addiction. However, if you are serious about your health, you must make every effort to stop using nasal sprays and decongestants. Frequent use can only make you vulnerable to this painful disease. Therefore, avoid using nasal sprays containing vasoconstrictor drugs in them.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.