What to do if you have become addicted to nasal spray?

What to do if you have become addicted to nasal spray?
What to do if you have become addicted to nasal spray?

When your nose is completely full, nasal spray is of course a true partner in crime. But don’t use the spray for too long, because your body quickly gets used to it, so that a nasal spray addiction is lurking. Is it too late already? We tell you what you can do then.

Addictive substance

Xylometazoline is the substance that gives nasal spray an addictive effect. It causes blood vessels to shrink, so that your nasal mucosa is less swollen and you can breathe freely again. However, if you use your nasal spray for longer than a week, it will actually cause your nose to become ‘blocked up’ again. The blood vessels become accustomed to the substance and expand again. The moment you use nasal spray, they shrink again. You are suddenly dependent on nasal spray to be able to breathe freely.

Worst case scenario

In addition to that addictive effect, nasal spray has negative effects in the long term. ENT doctor Jolijn Brouwer explains it to LINDA.: “What happens with excessive use varies from person to person. In theory, it is possible that the blood vessels are closed all the time and therefore do not transport enough blood to the mucous membranes. They can die and that can cause a hole in your septum of your nose. This just happens very rarely.”

Different solutions

Nasal spray addiction is quite common and can be very annoying. How do you get rid of it? You can stop anytime. That will ensure that your nose will be clogged a lot and that you will have to spend a number of sleepless nights. This can take weeks, but in the worst cases it can take months. For many people this is too big a step, so it is wiser to decrease per nostril. You spray the nasal spray only in one nostril at first. That makes the step to stop completely a lot less big. In addition, it can help to use the children’s variant (with half as much xylometazoline in it) and to spray less every day than the day before.

By the doctor

If you really can’t figure it out yourself, a doctor can always help you. He/she can prescribe a nasal spray that does not contain xylometazoline, which you can use for a longer period of time. Furthermore, the advice especially applies: stick to the prescribed rule and do not use nasal spray for longer than a week! That will save you a lot of trouble later on.

Source: MAX Today, Linda, Tips and Facts | Image: iStock

The article is in Dutch

Tags: addicted nasal spray

NEXT Why is your sense of direction better if you come from the countryside?