Read below about swollen nose, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your swollen nose from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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Swollen Nose Symptoms

Swelling occurs whenever the parts of the body enlarge due to accumulation of fluid in the body tissues. Swelling can be generalized and occur throughout the body, or localized and only affect a specific part of the body.

Most people are familiar with localized swelling, and in the case of a swollen nose, this type of swelling is difficult to ignore, especially if the swelling is external. However, internal swelling of the nose may be more difficult to discern. Though there is some overlap between the symptoms of internal and external swelling of the nose, there are some important differences to note.

Symptoms associated with external nose swelling may include:

Symptoms associated with internal nose swelling may include:

  • Sensation of nasal blockage or difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Nasal discharge
  • Decrease in sense of smell
  • Mucus running down the back of the throat (postnasal drip)
  • Pain, tenderness or pressure around the forehead, eyes, cheeks or nose

Both types of swollen nose symptoms can cause:

  • Generalized pain in the affected area
  • Redness or warmth

If you notice any of these swollen nose symptoms, promptly make an appointment with your doctor to follow up on your symptoms, get a diagnosis and receive appropriate care.

Swollen Nose Causes Overview

Though different, both external and internal causes of nasal swelling are relatively limited. Any condition that causes accumulation of fluid in the tissues of your finger, for example, will cause swelling, but not many conditions specifically target the nose.

Causes of external nasal swelling are largely environmental such as:

  • Trauma: Anything that causes direct injury to the nose – a punch in the face, a car accident, a traumatic fall – can result in external swelling of the nose, especially if the nose breaks. These causes may also be associated with visible deformity and bleeding depending on the severity of the trauma.
  • Insects: Insects are a nuisance in general, but insects become even more annoying when they happen to involve the nose. A bite from any insect – mosquito, spider, flea, etc. – can cause the nose to swell and also become itchy and painful.

Causes of internal nasal swelling can be divided into:

  • Obstructive/structural: Sometimes the nose can become lined with soft, painless, noncancerous growths known as nasal polyps. The mechanism for the growth of these polyps is currently unknown, but they can cause swelling of the internal nasal cavity and lead to blockage and congestion that worsens swollen nose symptoms. Structural abnormalities such as a deviated septum or narrow nasal passage can also lead to swelling and its associated symptoms.
  • Inflammatory: Any condition that causes your body to mount its natural immune response against irritation and injury – infection, allergy, autoimmune disease – can cause internal selling of the nose. Swelling is one of the primary signs of inflammation and often goes hand-in-hand with inflammatory causes.

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Swollen Nose

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced swollen nose. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Cellulitis

    Facial cellulitis is a skin infection that typically comes from other parts of the face like the mouth or the sinuses and needs antibiotic treatment. Symptoms can be pain, redness, warmth and swelling of the affected area.

    Dependent on severity of infection

    Top Symptoms:
    fever, chills, facial redness, swollen face, face pain
    Symptoms that always occur with cellulitis:
    facial redness, area of skin redness
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Non - Specific Nasal Injury

    Nasal injuries are very common due to the position of the nose on the face. While fragile, many injuries to the nose are not actually fractures.

    Great prognosis with full recovery in a few days

    Top Symptoms:
    constant nose pain, nose pain caused by trauma, swollen nose, nose bruise, bloody nose after being hit in the nose
    Symptoms that always occur with non-specific nasal injury:
    nose pain caused by trauma, constant nose pain
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Nose or Sinus Tumor

    A tumor in the nose or one of the sinuses occurs due to abnormal growth of the cells lining the inside of the nose and sinuses. These tumors are rare and can cause symptoms like congestion or blockage, nose bleeds and sometimes facial pain or swelling.

    Prognosis depends on the size of tumor and whether or not is has spread to other structures like lymph nodes.

    Ultra rare
    Top Symptoms:
    new headache, congestion, vision changes, ear fullness/pressure, ear pain
    Symptoms that never occur with nose or sinus tumor:
    improving congestion
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Relapsing Polychondritis

    Relapsing polychondritis is an episodic, inflammatory and destructive disorder involving primarily cartilage of the ear and nose. It can also potentially affect the eyes, tracheobronchial tree, heart valves, kidneys, joints, skin, and blood vessels.

    Episodes of inflammation can last a few days to several weeks that then subside spontaneously or with treatment. Attacks may recur at intervals varying from weeks to months.

    Ultra rare
    Top Symptoms:
    shortness of breath, joint pain, congestion, runny nose, wheezing
    Primary care doctor

    Swollen Nose Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having swollen nose.

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  5. 5.Motor - Vehicle Accident

    After any motor-vehicle accident, it's hard to rule out subtle, but maybe dangerous, things that could have happened within the body. You should go see a doctor immediately.


    Top Symptoms:
    motor-vehicle accident, arm weakness
    Emergency medical service
  6. 6.Broken Nose

    Nasal fractures are common occurrences. The force needed to break the nasal bones is less than any of the other bones of the face because of their thinness and position. For kids, treatment and diagnosis is different because of the bones may not be fully formed.

    With treatment, return to normal breathing and looks is highly likely.

    Top Symptoms:
    mouth breathing, constant nose pain, swollen nose, nose pain caused by trauma, nose bruise
    Symptoms that always occur with broken nose:
    nose pain caused by trauma, swollen nose, constant nose pain
    Hospital emergency room
  7. 7.Iatrogenic Nose Condition

    Surgery of the nose or nose piercing can result in side effects ranging from infection, pain and swelling to numbness and decreased sense of smell.

    Depending on type of complication

    Top Symptoms:
    nose pain, bloody nose, bump in or on the nose, nose redness, swollen nose
    Phone call or in-person visit
  8. 8.Wegener's Granulomatosis

    An inflammation of the blood vessels by the body's immune system is a rare, but possibly dangerous problem. The inflammation can happen anywhere, but often in the sinuses, lungs, and kidneys.


    Ultra rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, loss of appetite, joint pain, shortness of breath, fever
    Primary care doctor

Swollen Nose Treatments and Relief

It may be difficult to prevent causes of external nasal swelling. However, if your symptoms are due to a traumatic cause, promptly make an appointment with your doctor to assess for serious injury.

In the meantime:

  • Rest, Ice, and Elevate: Put an ice pack over your nose every 15 minutes to minimize further irritation and prevent continued fluid accumulation in your tissues.

Unlike with external nasal swellings, there are many lifestyle changes and measures you can take to prevent internal nasal swelling symptoms:

  • Limit exposures that cause upper respiratory infections: Upper respiratory infections are contagious and usually passed from person to person. Limit contact with people with cold symptoms, wash hands frequently and utilize other good hygiene practices.
  • Avoid pollutants: Cigarette smoke and other pollutants can irritate and inflame the nasal passages. Take measures to limit your contact with such pollutants to prevent swollen nose symptoms.
  • Manage allergies and inflammatory conditions: Keeping symptoms of seasonal allergies and other inflammatory conditions under control will help keep your nose protected from insults that can quickly cause swelling and its associated symptoms.

If these preventive methods do not improve your swollen nose symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor. Nasal swelling can quickly become uncomfortable and debilitating if not treated properly.

Your doctor may suggest:

  • Irrigation: Saline nasal sprays or solutions can rinse away irritants from the nasal passages, decrease blockage and promote drainage.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Medications that prevent and treat inflammation such as inhaled corticosteroids are often used to combat the many causes of internal nasal swelling.
  • Decongestants: Medications that reduce congestion and sensations of nasal blockage can help relieve swelling and its associated symptoms.
  • Pain relievers: Swelling and pain often go hand-in-hand. Your doctor may prescribe over the counter pain medications to combat these swollen nose symptoms

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Swollen Nose

  • Q.Do you have any body piercings?
  • Q.Have you ever had any surgeries?
  • Q.Were you struck in the nose?
  • Q.Were you recently exposed to the freezing cold (under 32F or 0C)?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our swollen nose symptom checker to find out more.

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Swollen Nose Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced swollen nose have also experienced:

    • 15% Nose Pain
    • 7% Spontaneous Nose Pain
    • 6% Congestion
  • People who have experienced swollen nose had symptoms persist for:

    • 50% Less Than a Week
    • 31% Less Than a Day
    • 9% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced swollen nose were most often matched with:

    • 33% Cellulitis
    • 33% Non - Specific Nasal Injury
    • 33% Nose or Sinus Tumor
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having swollen nose

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