When I wrote about common pregnancy symptoms a few weeks ago I forgot to mention the one that has been annoying me since early on in this baby-making adventure: pregnancy rhinitis (or ‘a really annoying blocked nose’, in layman’s terms).
My nose is driving me INSANE. I’ve long maintained that a blocked nose is possibly the most irritating non-serious physical condition that I ever have to deal with, so this is like a little slice of hell for me. For most of my pregnancy my symptoms have been bad only at night, but during the last couple of days I’m feeling congested all the time. My nose feels permanently blocked, I’m blowing it constantly, it’s running endlessly, I can’t breathe properly, I’m having to sleep propped up, and it’s all giving me a headache. I actually thought that I was getting a cold as well, but now I think that it is just rhinitis. DAMNED rhinitis.
Apparently hormones are to blame:
When there are greater amounts of estrogen and progesterone in your system, it can cause congestion and swelling inside your nose. If you’re over producing these hormones, sometimes the condition can prevent you from breathing through your nose! Estrogen affects mucus production, causing it to become thick or very thin. Women taking birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy experience rhinitis, too.
When I’m not pregnant and have a blocked nose I deal with it by dosing myself with hardcore decongestants, but obviously that’s not an option these days. Instead, I’ve been using Vicks Vap-o-rub on my chest at night, which has helped a bit. Yesterday I also tried inhaling steam from Vicks in boiling water, but it didn’t have much impact. A Vicks inhaler stick also hasn’t helped too much.
In a minute I’m going to call our obstetricians’s clinic and see if the midwife can suggest anything help. I’m also going to call the HRV people and see if we can re-jig our set-up so the air is slightly less dry in the house (for those who don’t know what I’m talking about, the HRV system is a home ventilation system that helps to combat dampness in the winter and humidity in the summer – essential in Auckland’s sub-tropical climate).
Now I’m going to have a hot shower and see if I can clear my nose temporarily…