Synonyms: Stuffy nose

Medical Specialties: Allergy/immunology, Family practice, Pediatrics

Clinical Definition

Congestion is an excessive accumulation of bodily fluids, such as mucus or blood, in an organ, vessel or body part. It may develop in a part of the body due to obstruction in normal fluid movement or an increased influx of fluid. The term most commonly refers to nasal congestion, but can also refer to congestion in veins and in the lungs.

In Our Own Words

Congestion is an abnormal amount of fluid in a part of the body. The term congestion usually refers to swelling and occasionally excess mucus in the nose and sinuses. It can also refer to congestion in the veins (i.e., venous congestion), causing swelling in the legs, or that of congestive heart failure with fluid buildup in the lungs and other areas.


Common causes of nasal congestion include inflammation of the nasal passages due to allergies and the common cold.

Relevant Conditions
  • Allergy
  • Upper respiratory infection
Common Types
  • Nasal
Side Effects
  • Full feeling in the nose
  • Trouble breathing through the nose
  • Sneezing
Share this article
  • American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery. “Stuffy Nose.” Accessed February 2014.
  • University of Maryland Medical Center. “Nasal Congestion.” Updated September 2013. Accessed February 2014.
  • Tortora G., Derrick B. “Principals of Anatomy and Physiology.” Wiley 2011. Accessed February 2014.
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