Minor ailments such as headaches, nasal congestion and itchy, watery eyes occur in everyone from time to time. Although bothersome, they often are no cause for concern and can be treated easily at home. In some cases, the symptoms are related. Migraine headaches, though, typically are not caused by the same things that lead to a stuffy nose and watery eyes. Understanding each symptom can help you determine whether you need to visit your doctor.
Your eyes become watery when tear production increases and it cannot be accommodated through either evaporation or drainage through the tear ducts. Medically, any number of conditions can cause watery eyes. Common culprits include a cold, allergies such as hay fever, eye infections and blocked tear ducts, MayoClinic.com. In most cases, treating the underlying condition -- whether it be taking an allergy medication or antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection -- can help keep the watery eyes under control.
Severe headaches classified as migraines can be debilitating. Migraines are much worse than a common headache, and often are accompanied by visual disturbances, sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting. The cause of migraine headaches remains unknown, but some people have discovered certain triggers, including smoking, alcohol consumption, chocolate consumption and food additives. Regular pain relievers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen and aspirin typically are not strong enough to treat migraines, but several prescription drugs can offer some relief for many migraine sufferers.
Nasal congestion typically develops because of swelling and inflammation of the tissue lining the nose, although mucous buildup in the nose can also contribute, MedlinePlus reports. People often develop a stuffy nose as the result of common bacterial and viral infections, including colds, the flu and sinus infections. Seasonal allergies also can cause chronic nasal congestion, as can pregnancy. A stuffy nose is rarely serious and can usually be treated at home with decongestants or antihistamines, if allergies cause the problem. In babies and young children, using a saline nasal spray can help empty the nasal passages.
When to See the Doctor
In most cases, watery eyes and a stuffy nose are minor ailments that can be treated at home. However, if home care is not effective or if the symptoms persist, visit your doctor. When these symptoms are caused by allergies or bacterial infections, you may need a prescription medication to help you get relief. Your doctor can also help you determine a cause by doing a thorough examination, taking a complete medical history and asking about when and how you experience the symptoms. In the case of migraine headaches, a trip to the doctor is warranted to see if you can establish a cause for the headaches. Your doctor can also help by prescribing medications that are more effective at treating the debilitating headaches.