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One or both of my nostrils are blocked most of the time

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I'm a 25 y.o. male who has constantly had problems with blocked nose for about 2 years now. Most of the time, at least one of my nostrils/nasal passages is blocked completely (either one); sometimes both and sometimes (very very rarely) I can breathe relatively normally - the degree of stuffiness varies. Most of the days, when I wake up, both of my nostrils are blocked, but usually one more so than the other. My main problem doesn't seem to be mucus, although I do have some amount of it present a lot of the time - but even when I clear my nose completely (or at least feel that way), most of the time it doesn't make any major difference. When I laugh, my nose gets clogged up almost instantly (and again, clearing the mucus doesn't help at all).

About the same time my symptoms started (I'm unsure about exact timing), I had slightly injured my nose playing sports. A very tiny bit of bone/cartilage was broken, but the doctors at the time concluded that the injury was insignificant and should present no problems, and heal completely. Also about that time we got a cat. I'm not sure if these two things are connected to my condition, because I can't remember exactly when my symptoms started, but that's all I can think of. I never before had any allergies, nor do I experience any other (potential) allergy symptoms now.

My doctor prescribed me corticosteroid nasal spray at first, but it did nothing, so I stopped using it after some months. Next, I went to an ENT doctor who concluded the following:
- nasal mucous membrane reddish and swollen/puffy,
- nasal septum distorted/crooked and puffy (deviated septum),
- some catarrhal irritation/inflammation (not sure about terminology, I'm translating this) seen in the throat.

I got prescribed Nasonex nasal spray (mometasone furoate) and antihistamine pills (5mg levocetirizine) to treat alleged allergic rhinosinusitis and see if it makes things better - if not, corrective septum surgery was suggested. I have been taking Nasonex for over a month and antihistamines for 10 days now without any improvement. I plan to see the ENT doctor again, but have some questions which I hope someone can answer:
- how long is it supposed to take for antihistamines to start working in case of allergy? If I don't see any improvement after a couple of weeks, should I just stop taking them and assume they do nothing?
- does anybody have any idea what the root of my problem could be and what else to do? My first blind guess before seeing a doctor was nasal polyps, but they were never even mentioned.
- I fear that septum surgery would only address one problem but not necessarily the root of it, and hence wouldn't do anything significant. The way I see it, if deviated septum was my main problem, then I could *never* experience normal breathing through either nostril, which is not the case. It seems to me that something else is blocking my nose given that sometimes one nostril is more clogged than the other seemingly randomly (when I started writing this post, my left nostril was blocked and my right nostril less so; right now, my left nostril is almost free and my right nostril is blocked almost completely). It seems deviated septum may be a part of my problem, but not the biggest/only piece in the mosaic. If antihistamines fail to work, could it still be allergy (e.g. cat allergy)?

I know it's impossible to diagnose someone over the internet, but would still greatly appreciate any tips and help.

Best regards,
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First Helper User Profile florielee

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replied May 25th, 2013
Experienced User
Wow! Sounds like a really uncomfortable problem. My kids and I have had allergy problems for years, and we found different antihistamines wirked for different people. If a medicine was going to work, we could tell after the first dose. The symptoms would usually start to clear up in an hour or so. Try another antihistamine before you give up. Good luck!
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