23 answers

6 Year Old Who Has Been Stopped up and Congested for Years

My 6 year old daughter seems to be stopped up all the time. She seems to have trouble breathing at night when she sleeps(snores loudly and almost gets choked while trying to breathe through her nose while she sleeps), it doesnt wake her up, but I watched her sleeping a few nights ago and it almost seemed like she stopped breathing for 30 secs which really scared me. She cant breathe through her nose at all times and it is really starting to bother me. She is always thirsty at night and seems to be "sucking on a bottle" while she sleeps with her lips in a circle while breathing through her mouth, and she has had numerous ear infections in the past which ended up with her getting tubes in her ears, it helped the ear infections and I dont know if it is even related to her constant stuffiness, but thought I would give as much info as possible. She is always blowing her nose and coughing alittle from all the phlem or mucus buildup. I have taken her to the doctor and told them what was going on and they seemed to think it was allergies. They prescribed her clariton and a nose spray, she has been on for a year, and it hasnt seemed to help. And it seems like the doctors only answer is that she has allergies, which they didnt test her for. Im just wondering what it could be bc I feel like it is more than just "allergies". If someone has had this problem with there children, please let me know. I was thinking maybe I need to take her to a ear, nose, throat doctor but cant without a referral from her primary care provider (and they wont since they believe she has allergies) Please, if someone has any info. please let me know!!!! Thanks so much!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My brother had a similar problem when he was little. He was always up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water, sometimes walking in his sleep for it. His tonsils and adenoids were removed, and he was so much better! My mom liked to tell me he didn't sleep through the night until he was 6 or 7 when I complained about mine not sleeping through until age 1. :)

I agree with those suggesting an ENT(Ear, Nose, Throat). They do thorough testing to really determine the cause. I got tired of a doctor telling me my frequent colds were "probably allergies". I was thinking "You're the doctor, tell me if they are or not". An ENT did a very thorough job to see what the problem was, and I'm glad I went.

1 mom found this helpful

C.:
As someone who suffers from allergies, it could be that. Does she get dry mouth? I do and it is causing cavities in my teeth. There is stuff out there you can use for that. Because of her age, I would have MD look at her tonsils and see if they are enlarged. Also almost sounds like sleep apena. I would go to another MD until I get this resolved. If you have to go to several, please keep going as she def needs refief. Good luck
A.

More Answers

she seems to have sinus problems... .and sinuses can affect the ears..... too. It Drains into each other.... and if the sinuses are inflamed, then that affects 'breathing' too. Creating blockage...

Does she have mucous from her nose or post-nasal drip???? Post-nasal drip also causes coughing... as it drips down the throat....

The sinus and ears... affect each other.

If Claritin does not work for her, then try something else. Claritin for example works for me, but does not for my Mom. So she takes Zyrtec.
The prescription "Allegra" is also good. But I don't know if they make that for kids.

I would, take her to a Specialist... and check her sinuses.

My Husband has sensitive sinuses... and always gets sinus infections. Sinus issues, are hard to get rid of... especially if it is infected....

You could also try a "neti pot" ... which is a nasal flush. Using plain warm water. My daughter, at that age, could and would use it... when she had a clogged nose from colds. My Husband uses it daily. Many Doctors recommend it. You can get it at any drugstore or Whole Foods.

Sure, it may be allergies. Probably is. BUT... it is her sinuses.. .that are inflamed/blocked and probably causing post-nasal drip, coughing and the ear infections....
That is my guess....

It is ridiculous... that the Pediatrician will not refer her to a Specialist. Even if it is for allergies... their current recommendation of Claritin is NOT working for her. AND you the parent, are requesting a referral to a Specialist... so they SHOULD do so.
Ask them again...

all the best,
Susan

3 moms found this helpful

Take her to an ENT doc. I just went thru the exact same thing with my now 6 yr old daughter. This summer (just after turning 6) she had tubes in ears, tonsils and adnoids out and turbenites (inside her nose) shrunk. She doesn't snore anymore, hasn't been sick (yet :), speech is clearing up too. SHE CAN BREATH!!! If they "believe" that she has allergies, then she needs to be tested and seen by an ENT. Insist on it!!!! Also, that saline mist spray or a netti pot works wonders and all it is, is salt water! Any questions as you move forward with this, don't hesitate to ask me - like I said we just went thru this end of July.

3 moms found this helpful

how are her adenoids and tonsils? If they are enlarged it can cause the snoring and sleep apnea. My oldest has been very tired in the morning lately and he snores so he is going to be sent for a sleep study if it continues to check for sleep apnea.

2 moms found this helpful

sorry to hear that your going through this.... i feel that you should insist to your PCP to give you a referral to the specialists because you deserve to have peace of mind. your PCP works for YOU. It may just be allergies (my sister went through that as a child) but just to reassure you it would be a good idea to take her to a specialist. If your PCP continues to deny a referral, it may be time to get a new PCP. Thats not a very professional PCP. Just gently remind him that he works for you. Maybe that small reminder will get him on the right track with a referral.

2 moms found this helpful

My brother had a similar problem when he was little. He was always up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water, sometimes walking in his sleep for it. His tonsils and adenoids were removed, and he was so much better! My mom liked to tell me he didn't sleep through the night until he was 6 or 7 when I complained about mine not sleeping through until age 1. :)

I agree with those suggesting an ENT(Ear, Nose, Throat). They do thorough testing to really determine the cause. I got tired of a doctor telling me my frequent colds were "probably allergies". I was thinking "You're the doctor, tell me if they are or not". An ENT did a very thorough job to see what the problem was, and I'm glad I went.

1 mom found this helpful

C. , I haven't read the other posts, but if you can't get your stubborn doctor to refer you, get another doctor. This is ridiculous,a year of this problem in a 6 year old. She needs to see not just an allergist, but also an ENT. Her sinuses could be chronically infected. She needs a nasal endoscopy. That and a CT scan.

Don't take no for an answer. Demand action tomorrow!

Sending strength to you,
D.

1 mom found this helpful

Has anyone ever suggested food allergies? You can find out easily by removing foods from her diet. It may take take up to 10 days to see a difference. The top offenders are wheat and dairy products along with soy, eggs, shellfish and nuts.

I would hate for your daughter to keep taking Claritin if it is not helping at all.

1 mom found this helpful

Check on the possibility of sleep apnea - that is a very real situation that can have some long-term complications.

Also try a humidifier in her room in this dry weather. My 6yo also seems continuously congested, but it isn't a runny nose, it is gobs of stuff way up in her sinuses that takes 5-10 minutes of blowing to get it out. Then it starts all over again in a day or so. She is also prone to nosebleeds, due to dry air. To both my ped has suggested the humidifier, so we're going to be trying that.

HTH, good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

sounds like she has sleep apenia, my husband has apenia, and his "mind" will wake long enough to get him to breathe then he'll go back to sleep (6x an hour! doesnt ever remember) and he has a hard time getting to sleep to start with because of the apenia. they tested him and put him on a machine that "forces" air down, cause what happens is your pallett on the roof of your mouth relaxes so much that it blocks off air way-that's how my hubby described it in short.

i would definatley have that checked out, that would be a good reason why she always seems congested because if her body isn't getting the rest it really needs, then it's not staying strong to fight off "bad guys"

You need to insist that your daughter get a referral to a specialist. If your doctor won't provide a referral, find another primary care doctor. Your daughter should not have to put up with these issues for so long. Be assertive.

I think you definitely need to take her to an ENT. I just went last year and found out I have had a deviated septum my whole life and I am 40. It does sound like she is having trouble breathing in general and that could be a deviated septum. It could also be allergies but I doubt it. Have you tried Claritin or Zyrtec? The regular doc never figured that out. I can't imagine her regular doc would not give you a referral if you asked. Tell them that you feel there is more that can be done and you would like an opinion from an ENT. Don't 'ask' for the referral, tell them you need one. Good luck

As a person with allergies as well as three kiddos with allergies, it does sound like allergies. It also sounds like the medicine does not work. Most of the allergy pills also come in a D (decongestant variety). She may need that. I take Zyrtec-D. Talk to the doctor about the decongestant type and possibly changing medicines. The other thing that has happened to us is when your body constantly has all the mucus junk it is a breeding ground for infection. She could have an underlying sinus infection. If she has bad breathe even after brushing her teeth, swelling and/or tenderness in the face, under the eyes, behind the eyes or going back towards her ears, complains of headaches or has a funny feeling in her head when bending over talk to the doctor about sinus and or upper respiratory infection. If she has allergies they can be both indoor and outdoor. If you have furry animals she could be sensitive or allergic to them. Cigarette smoke is another thing that could bother her. If your home has currently or has ever had a leak there could be mold lurking around from the leak. That can make you really sick as well as being a cause for allergies. I would ask for a referral to an allergist so you can find out what she is allergic too. Then you can start to take steps to help her feel better. I would also tell the dr about what you observed when she was sleeping, make sure to let him know that it appeared that she stopped breathing. Good Luck and God Bless!

Updated

As a person with allergies as well as three kiddos with allergies, it does sound like allergies. It also sounds like the medicine does not work. Most of the allergy pills also come in a D (decongestant variety). She may need that. I take Zyrtec-D. Talk to the doctor about the decongestant type and possibly changing medicines. The other thing that has happened to us is when your body constantly has all the mucus junk it is a breeding ground for infection. She could have an underlying sinus infection. If she has bad breathe even after brushing her teeth, swelling and/or tenderness in the face, under the eyes, behind the eyes or going back towards her ears, complains of headaches or has a funny feeling in her head when bending over talk to the doctor about sinus and or upper respiratory infection. If she has allergies they can be both indoor and outdoor. If you have furry animals she could be sensitive or allergic to them. Cigarette smoke is another thing that could bother her. If your home has currently or has ever had a leak there could be mold lurking around from the leak. That can make you really sick as well as being a cause for allergies. I would ask for a referral to an allergist so you can find out what she is allergic too. Then you can start to take steps to help her feel better. I would also tell the dr about what you observed when she was sleeping, make sure to let him know that it appeared that she stopped breathing. Good Luck and God Bless!

Sounds to me like she may need to have her adenoids removed. My now 4 and 1/2 year old daughter had similar symptoms. She snored no matter how she slept and constantly had a runny nose. I was lucky that we did not have to have a referral and just made her an appt with an ENT. He checked her and we had the surgery done the following week. She was 2 at the time. It was an outpatient surgery and she was fine the next day. She had bad breath and a runny nose for a few days, but it definitely improved how she breathed. I hope you are able to get your daughter the help she needs. I know it's frustrating when you know something isn't right and no one will listen.

Can you switch doctors? I would keep taking her in until they would give you the referral, of find a doctor who will. It could very easily be just "allergies", since she was tested, what were the results? The doctor should be concerned about her not breathing while sleeping. That right there would trigger a change in doctors if he/she wouldn't do something about it. I know this girl, who's over 18, said she ended up going to 6 doctors until one of them decided to do a CT because the others told her it was just sinus infections, gave her antibiotics and steroids for over a year. Anyway, the doctor did the CT found out all her sinus cavities were inflamed and did surgery to clean them out (very painful she added). The steroids really ruined her body for over 2 years; she hasn't been sick like she was (also had black model in the dorm room she lived in for over a year when her symptoms started). Also, since they kept her on antibiotics so long she ended up becoming allergic to them, some stop working anyway.
I just think you need to see another doctor if yours isn't listening.

You need to take her to an ENT. She could have a deviated septum, polyps, adenoid/tonsil problems, etc and an ENT will help you deal with all of that. Switch primary care doctor if he's not being helpful. To say she has allergies and treat her for something they are not even sure about and not even test her (or send her to an allergist) is ridiculous.

I agree that she also needs to see an ent. Im not sure how you go about that without a referral unless you just insist on it from her pediatrician. If she has had tubes before then she should already have an ent and maybe you would not need a referrl since she is an existing patient. Are the tubes still in place? She may need another set. My daughter has had three sets. Her tonsils my be enlarged and causing the sleep apnea. I would definately get her to an ENT some how. Mine had her tonsils out two months ago and she has been great since. No infections, no antibiotics and she is starting to gain weight again. Great decision for us. Good luck.

Hi C.,

I find it amazing that no one questions why her body is dealing with this congestion in the first place. It seems like the quick fix is to remove body parts that are there to serve a purpose. Determine the underlying cause and her body will begin to repair and heal itself.

It could be anything causing her congestion...ie environmental, toxins, diets, etc. Does she eat a lot of dairy? I encourage you to eliminate all dairy from her diet. Dairy is mucus forming and could be adding to the problem.

When my youngest was 2 weeks old she was overcome by congestion, cough and mucus that doctors treated as pneumonia despite the fact that all tests were negative. Even after treatment we dealt with ongoing congestion, cough and mucus for 6 more weeks until her ped suggested she thought our daughter could possibly have acid reflux. I didn't believe it because she didn't have classic symptoms but we researched acid reflux, articles on infant/children's digestion and decided to treat her naturally. We used positioning, diet, chiropractic, homeopathics and essential oils and saw results within days of starting her on the homeopathic. My husband and I wouldn't haven't believed it had we not seen it for ourselves. Her acid reflux and an intolerance to dairy was causing her congestion and excess mucus, the cough was a result of her body protecting her airways to keep the mucus away from the lungs. To clarify, I'm not saying your daughter has reflux, just that we were told many things with my daughter but once we addressed reflux, eliminated dairy and started the homeopathy we saw results.

I encourage you to be assertive and advocate for your child, keep a journal to document if there are certain foods, environmental factors, etc that seem to make her congestion worse. Our digestive tracts play a huge role in a healthy immune system...if she's not already, look into starting her on a probiotic and boosting her immune system.

Good luck,
J.

I'm writing this before I rad the other answers.
So perhaps you already have the information you need.
But, just from my observations after reading your story,
you have either a miscommunication with your medical provider,
or you haven't talked to their membership services department.
The child needs to be seen and treated by an allergy specialist.
and needs relief from her symptoms . . . even if she hasn't
yet been tested to know what she is allergic to.
I had those symptoms when I was a child but in those days
we didn't know all the things we know now.
Poor kid. She is suffering but doesn't know any better
because she's used to her symptoms.
In addition to claritin and a nose spray,
you might find some relief for her by changing her bedroom situation.
If there are curtains, take them down.
If there is carpeting, take it up.
If she has a feather pillow, change it for an artificial pillow.
If there are any animals in the house,
make sure they do NOT spend any time in her bedroom.
I'll probably write more after I read the other answers.
However . . . . all these years.
I'm crying just thinking about how uncomfortable she has been,
apparenty her entire life.

My son just turned 5, and he has had a similar experience. Our pediatrician tried every medicine on the market, and when none of them helped, we went to an ENT, and he had his adenoids removed. Then we went for allergy testing. We know now that it is definitely allergies and have tried another coarse of treatment. We had to go to 2 allergists to get answers though. He still seems congested all the time. Good luck....I am not 100% sure what the answer is. I believe my son would benefit from allergy shots, and that will be my next item to push for. I don't even know if that has helped!

I agree allergies. I took claritan for mine and it didnt phase me see if you can get her on allegra. I would suggest an internest and or an ent. get on your docs rear and dont get off until they refer you. harass them so they will refer you to shut you up. :) she need a scratch test.

The 'stopping breathing' for upwards of 30sec or more is apnea.

It sounds like the apnea is triggered by other issues (like sinuses), but simply having apnea can cause all kinds of havoc on the body... Including issues during the day.

I also agree with 'B'... there could be so many different things going on. You sometimes must INSIST the Physician give you a referral. What in the heck are they to lose by giving you that referral???

Issues with anything in the ear, nose, and throat CAN cause apnea which in turn will cause all kinds of other issues.

It's NOT just allergies.

C.:
As someone who suffers from allergies, it could be that. Does she get dry mouth? I do and it is causing cavities in my teeth. There is stuff out there you can use for that. Because of her age, I would have MD look at her tonsils and see if they are enlarged. Also almost sounds like sleep apena. I would go to another MD until I get this resolved. If you have to go to several, please keep going as she def needs refief. Good luck
A.

I was stuffed up for years. I saw allergists and ear,nose,throat dr.s and they prescribed medicine but really nothing ever stopped me being congested. They sprays and decongestants did help but when they ran out I just got congested again. At the time I worked with a friend who had a 5 yr old daughter who was allergic to wheat and corn and she said once her daughter stopped eating these foods her nose stopped being constantly runny/congested. I had never gone to a naturapathic Dr before but I tried it...it turns out I had food sensitivities. For me it was msg and msg related ingredients (google "msg myth" if you want to learn about it. It's in EVERYTHING!) Once I stopped eating certain things my stuffy nose went away!!! It is crazy that for over 10 years I thought it was pollen allergies or something! It's something to think about for your daughter.

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