Do you dread taking a shower because you know it will stuff up your nose?

Allergies are not the cause. Nor is a cold. Something else is going on here – something that has to do with taking a shower – no matter how clean the environment is.

Many things in life cause nasal congestion. The vast majority are benign.

In very rare cases the cause is a tumor inside the nose or near or about the sinus cavities. About half these tumors are malignant.

The resulting stuffiness of the nose from paranasal tumors would be present most of the time, rather than only during or after taking a shower.

A tumor would also likely cause other symptoms such as a reduced sense of smell, one eye excessively watering or a headache.

Nasal Stuffiness and Showering

But just what is unique about the showering environment that causes a feeling of congestion or stuffiness in the nasal passages?

“When you take a shower, hopefully you’re having a hot shower, and what happens then is you engorge the nasal membranes or turbinates with blood because the heat is making your body basically swell to release heat,” explains Dr. C. Phillip Amoils, MD, a board certified otolaryngologist with SC-ENT Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists in CA.

“Your nose is just part of that and will engorge the membranes in the nose to release heat, but also make you stuffy,” continues Dr. Amoils.

“This will also occur in a very humid environment – or also if you’re getting very excited and your adrenaline is flowing, you can also cause a swelling of the membranes.”

Keep taking your showers, as this situation will not actually harm your nose. It’s just an inconvenience.

But to make things easier, you should have boxes of tissue handy and simply cater to the temporary stuffiness.

Don’t blow too aggressively. Be gentle and let post-shower time naturally resolve the issue.

Dr. Amoils is considered among the best surgeons worldwide for sinus surgery and OSA, having helped thousands of patients for 25+ years. He also demonstrates to physicians the protocols he’s developed for mouth breathing, nasal congestion, obstructive sleep apnea and snoring using minimally invasive procedures.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer. 


Top image: Shutterstock/Vladimir Gjorgiev