Nasal obstruction or blockage can occur as a result of inflamed nasal tissues or abnormalities in nasal structures that can cause problems because of their size or shape.
The most common causes of these abnormalities are related to the nasal septum (the wall of cartilage and bone that separates your nose into two nostrils) and turbinates (structures on the side inside wall of the nose). The size of adenoids causes an issue less frequently, and these glands are usually more of a problem in children than in adults.
In this blog, the specialists at Sinus Center of Atlanta will explain the common causes of nasal obstruction.
What is nasal obstruction?
This type of obstruction refers to a blockage of the nasal airway. This can disrupt normal breathing and mucus drainage, which in turn leads to numerous other symptoms, such as headaches, recurring sinus infections, and snoring.
What are the symptoms of nasal obstruction?
The following are common symptoms of nasal obstruction:
- Difficulty breathing through the nose (one or both sides)
- Heavy mouth breathing
What are the causes of nasal obstruction?
Obstructions can have several common causes, including:
- Inferior turbinate hypertrophy – Bony structures cause turbinates that are located on the inside of your nose. They help to filter, warm and moisten air as it passes through the nose. They’re susceptible to irritation from allergies and dust, and if they become swollen, it may be difficult to breathe through your nose.
- Deviated nasal septum – The septum is a structure made of bone and cartilage that separates the two nostrils. In some cases, it’s deviated – crooked or off-center. This can make breathing through the nose difficult (particularly on one side) and cause a chronic runny nose. A deviated septum may be caused by an injury that may not necessarily have seemed serious at the time, or you may have been born with it.
- Foreign bodies in the nose – Foreign bodies are more common in children than in adults. Tumors can also occur (rarely).
- Large adenoids of the lining of the nose – These may become inflamed due to allergies or frequent throat infections.
- Nasal polyps – These soft, noncancerous growths can form in the nose or sinuses, and if they’re large, they can create a blockage that keeps mucus from draining normally.
What are the treatment options for nasal obstruction?
The first course of treatment is usually one or more medications – such as a nasal steroid spray – that may alleviate allergies or other similar causes of nasal reversible causes of nasal swelling. In some cases, however, surgery is necessary.
The following are some common types of surgeries used to treat obstructions in the nose:
- Septoplasty is considered if a deviated septum is causing your nasal obstruction. Your doctor can perform this as an outpatient procedure, and the only incision is made inside the nose, so there’s no outside scarring, and recovery is typically easy. The crooked portions of the septum are removed while supporting areas of cartilage and bone are left intact. In some cases, a slightly more involved procedure may be required, and you may be referred to a head and neck plastic surgeon.
- Turbinate reduction may be performed if the tissue covering the turbinate bone is very swollen. One common, conservative way to address this issue is by making a small incision inside the nose in order to shave down the excess tissue. The bone may also be repositioned in order to make the airway larger. This type of surgery is an outpatient procedure that results in very little discomfort afterwards. In fact, patients can often return to work the next day.
Where can I find the best nasal obstruction treatment in Atlanta?
The Sinus Center of Atlanta is dedicated to the treatment of sinus and nasal conditions and allergies. Our physicians are among Atlanta’s finest board-certified otolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat doctors), with a special interest in the treatment and management of sinusitis, nasal obstructions, allergic rhinitis, and other related conditions.
Schedule an appointment today if you’re experiencing any symptoms of nasal obstruction!