The so-called alternating nasal congestion refers to the alternating blockage of the left and right nasal passages, which is mainly related to the nasal cycle and chronic rhinitis.
The normal human nasal cavity has three turbinates: upper, middle and lower, whose surface is covered with a mucosal layer rich in blood supply. The state of congestion of the mucosa of the inferior turbinates bilaterally is alternately and regularly contracted and expanded (a cycle occurs in about 2-7 hours), which is manifested by regular and alternating changes in nasal resistance around the clock and from left to right. This is the nasal cycle, also known as the physiological turbinate cycle. The presence of the nasal cycle can prompt humans to turn over repeatedly during sleep, adjust their sleeping position, and help to relieve fatigue.
Alternating nasal congestion due to the nasal cycle is a very normal physiological phenomenon, and there is generally no need to worry too much about it. However, if the alternating nasal congestion is accompanied by sneezing and runny nose, it should be considered as chronic rhinitis, which needs to be actively treated.
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