Do you have trouble breathing through your nose? Do you notice that one or both sides of your nose is always blocked? Do you get dry mouth from always being forced to breathe through your mouth? It’s possible that you might have Nasal Blockage.
Nasal congestion, also called nasal obstruction, stuffy nose, blocked nose, or plugged nose, can be caused by several different factors, some of which can be treated with medicine and some may require surgery. The best way to find out how to improve your nasal breathing is to come to our office for an evaluation. At your visit, we will listen to your description of the problem and then perform a full exam of your ears, nose and throat.
What causes a Nasal Blockage?
There are several different reasons people’s noses are blocked.
- One reason may be from a trauma or injury to the nose; some people’s noses may be twisted since birth. In these cases where the outside structure of the nose is crooked, a functional rhinoplasty may give the best results.
- In others, the outside of the nose may appear fine, but the inside of the nose is crooked. The most common structural problem inside the nose is a deviated septum, which can be corrected through a procedure called Septoplasty.
- Inflammation of the lining of the nose can cause swelling inside the nose and cause the airflow to be blocked. The turbinates are structures in the nose that are covered with this lining. Irritation of the lining may be caused by allergies (hay fever), irritants in the air, certain nose sprays (rhinitis medicamentosa), or the common cold. Usually medication can help to decrease this swelling, but for patients who have tried medication without success a Turbinate Reduction may be indicated.
- A bacterial or viral infection (like a cold) leads to excess blood flow in the lining of the nose, leading to swelling along with the increased production of mucus. Anti-decongestant sprays and over the counter medication are typically used for short term treatment of nasal congestion, while antibiotics can be prescribed to treat nasal infections.
- Sinus disease or sinusitis may also cause nasal obstruction. Sinusitis patients might also have polyposis or nasal polyps, which are little waterbag-like growths that obstruct the nose and sinuses because of inflammation, which then leads to nasal congestion. Patients with sinusitis may also experience facial pain, headaches, drainage out of their nose and a lack of sense of smell. For patients with sinusitis, who have not responded to medical therapy, Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery may be indicated.
Nasal obstruction can interfere with your quality of life and result in poor effects on your health. Unfortunately, prescription treatments might not be an effective for everybody with nasal obstruction. Not being able to breathe through your nose can interfere with your ability to exercise, making it difficult to reach your fullest potential. Nasal congestion can also interfere with sleep, leading to restless sleep, snoring, and can be associated with sleep apnea. Constant mouth breathing can lead to premature tooth decay.
If you have nasal congestion, it is best to have it evaluated by a member of our team to work with you to find a solution. At your appointment, the doctor will examine your nose, and may use a small camera called an endoscope to see the inside of your nose. Based on what we see, we can work together to make a definitive treatment for nasal obstruction.