Learn about the causes of Catarrh & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Catarrh within New Zealand.
Catarrh is the inflammation of the mucous membrane, especially in the nose and throat, which can also be accompanied by increased production of mucus. It is most commonly associated with the common cold.
Causes of catarrh
Catarrh is caused by the body's immune system fighting infections or
irritations within the cavities of the ear, nose, throat and chest.
White blood cells are sent to fight infection which causes the cavity lining to become swollen and produce excess mucus.
A combination of excess mucus and a narrowing of the cavity results in the symptoms of catarrh typically felt as a blocked nose or sinuspain.
Catarrh is triggered by a number of factors such as:
• Viral infections (i.e. colds)
• Allergies (pollen, dust mites, pet hair)
Some people have blood vessels that are hypersensitive to certain triggers in the environment such as smoke, pollution, perfumes, paint fumes, stress, alcohol or spicy food. This hypersensitivity causes blood vessels to expand leading to excessive production of mucus, congestion and catarrh. This type of reaction is known as non-allergic rhinitis.
Cancerous growths known as nasal polyps can lead to catarrh as mucus is unable to drain from the sinuses.
Symptoms of catarrh
There are some common symptoms associated to catarrh that include:
• Blocked nose
• Excess mucus in the nose that draws down into the throat. This mucus is typically watery but can become thick
• Coughing (characterised as a tickly irritating cough)
• Sinus pain around the face due blockages in the cavities within the cheekbones and forehead
• Loss of smell
• Loss of taste
• Partial hearing loss
• Feeling tired
Diagnosis of catarrh
Catarrh is a symptom of an underlying condition or infection such as a
cold and will usually pass without treatment. However, in chronic cases
a visit to your GP is necessary to diagnose the problem.
For cases of chronic catarrh, a GP will conduct a physical examination to rule out nasal polyps. If these are not visible to the eye, the GP may recommend a CT scan. Your doctor will also make their diagnosis based on whether the symptoms worsen in certain environments or at specific times of the day or year. If this is the case, allergens may be responsible for the catarrh.
Should an allergen be suspected as the cause, allergy testing using a skin prick test will identify the allergen responsible.
For people who may be suffering with non-allergic rhinitis, a diagnosis is made by introducing known allergens to test for a reaction. Should the test reveal no triggers by these allergens then a diagnosis of non-allergic rhinitis will be made.