During pregnancy, one-fifth of women suffer from nasal congestion (rhinitis). The cause is unknown, and several theories have been proposed, such as the effects of oestrogens, progesterone, and placental growth hormone, on the nasal mucosa, and other indirect hormonal effects that produce vascular changes in the nasal mucosa.
Pregnancy sinusitis can appear at almost any week of gestation and may affect the foetus.
It is not clear whether pregnancy rhinitis predisposes women to develop sinusitis. Nevertheless, when sinusitis develops, the symptoms are very bothersome, and clearly and negatively affect the quality of life of pregnant women.
There are various products and medications for treating sinusitis that can be used during pregnancy, under the supervision of healthcare professionals.
Nasal decongestants provide good temporary relief from pregnancy nasal congestion, but they tend to be overused, developing a condition called drug-induced rhinitis. Paradoxically, the characteristic symptom of this disease is nasal congestion.
Corticosteroids are ineffective in nasal congestion during pregnancy, and their systemic administration should be avoided during this time. Nasal corticosteroids can be given to pregnant women when indicated for other types of rhinitis.
Saline nasal washes are a safe means of relieving nasal congestion, but no definitive treatment for pregnancy rhinitis has yet been found.
There are some remedies and tips that help relieve pregnancy sinusitis, including:
• Abundant intake of fluids, for example, herbal teas with decongestant properties, such as thyme and mint.
• Raise feet off the head of the bed or use a high pillow to help the mucus drain.
• Humidify the air in the home
• Inhale water vapor
• Perform a physical exercise in moderation
In any case, always consult with your gynaecologist, especially if the sinusitis becomes complicated, before you self-medicate.
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