Nasal congestion or a blocked nose occurs when the membranes lining the nasal passages produce an excess amount of mucous which blocks the nasal passages. The excess mucous is typically produced in response to an irritation or inflammation. When the mucous membranes are irritated by something they produce mucous in an attempt to flush out the irritant. Sometimes the membranes are oversensitive to a stimulus, as occurs in allergies.
If there is a foreign organism which is causing an infection, the mucous tends to be thicker than normal. Over and above the excess mucous production, the membranes become swollen which further blocks the nasal passages.
Nasal congestion is not usually serious and most of the time the body will be able to overcome the infection. Once the irritating stimulus is removed then the membranes in the nasal cavity return to their normal size and stop producing excessive amounts of mucous.
Symptoms of a blocked nose are a red nose, which is often painful, and a runny nose. Nasal congestion can cause headaches, earache and difficulty breathing at night. Nasal congestion can interfere with the ears, hearing, and speech development. Increasing fluid intake, especially water, and avoiding food that cause mucous production (such as dairy products) are helpful in alleviating nasal congestions. Dry air aggravates congestions and humidifiers are therefore helpful in dry weather. If your nasal congestion is causing discomfort and is not easing then you should consult your healthcare practitioner