Nasal Obstruction

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Do you have trouble breathing through your nose? Or do you notice that one or both sides of your nose is always blocked? Are you struggling with dry mouth from being forced to breathe through your mouth? It’s possible that you might have a nasal obstruction.

About Nasal Obstruction

Several different factors can cause nasal congestion, also called nasal obstruction, stuffy nose, blocked nose, or plugged nose. We are able to treat some of these symptoms with medicine, but for more severe symptoms we recommend 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 perform a full exam of your ears, nose and throat.

Causes and Treatment for Nasal Blockage

There are several different reasons people’s noses are blocked, and treatment is dependent on the cause. Below are some of the most common reasons and corresponding treatments.

Deviated Septum

One reason may be from a trauma or injury to the nose. Some patient’s noses may have been twisted since birth. In these cases where the outside structure of the nose is crooked, our surgeons will recommend a functional rhinoplasty as it offers good 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 we can correct through a procedure called a Septoplasty.

Nasal Inflammation

Inflammation of the lining of the nose can cause swelling inside the nose, blocking airflow. Turbinates are structures in the nose that are covered with the sinus 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 decrease this swelling, but for patients who have tried medication without success, we may suggest a Turbinate Reduction.

Bacterial Or Viral Infection

A bacterial or viral infection (like a cold) leads to excess blood flow in the lining of the nose, causing 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. This obstruction then leads to nasal congestion. Patients with sinusitis may also experience facial pain, headaches, drainage from the nose, and a lack of sense of smell. For patients with sinusitis who have not responded to medical therapy, we may suggest Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery.

If you have nasal congestion, it is best to have your condition evaluated by a member of our team who will work with you to find a solution. At your appointment, one of our physicians will examine your nose. They may also use a small camera (endoscope) to see the inside of your sinuses. Based on what we see, we can work together to determine a definitive treatment for nasal obstruction.

Effects of Nasal Blockage

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 restlessness, snoring, and can be associated with sleep apnea. Additionally, constant mouth breathing can lead to premature tooth decay.

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The Doctors at My Houston Surgeons have either authored or reviewed and approved this content. Page last updated:


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