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Nasal Obstruction

Southern ENT & Sinus Center

Otolaryngologists located in Birmingham, AL

When a structural problem in your nose causes nasal obstruction, symptoms such as difficulty breathing last until you get the underlying problem treated. D. Trent Lowery, MD, David Walters, MD, Matthew Fort, MD, and the experienced team at Southern ENT & Sinus Center in Birmingham, Alabama, have treated many patients who waited to get help because nasal congestion is a common symptom they tend to treat on their own. Don’t keep struggling with symptoms. Call or schedule an appointment online to get the treatment you need for nasal obstruction.

Nasal Obstruction Q & A

What causes nasal obstruction?

Nasal obstruction refers to a blockage in your nose or nasal cavity. Though enlarged adenoids, swelling due to allergies, or a foreign object stuck in your nose can cause an obstruction, the problem more commonly develops due to two conditions:

Deviated septum

The nasal septum is a piece of cartilage that normally runs down the center of your nose and separates the two nostrils. You have a deviated septum when the cartilage is significantly off-center.

A deviated septum can block the airway or cause congestion and swelling that obstruct your nose and make it hard to breathe. Though nasal trauma such as a broken nose causes a deviated septum, you can have the problem without ever suffering an injury.

Inferior turbinate hypertrophy

The turbinates are structures in your nose that filter, humidify, and warm the air that you breathe in. You have several sets of turbinates, with most of the air flowing between the middle and inferior turbinates.

When the inferior turbinates become enlarged, a condition called inferior turbinate hypertrophy, you develop nasal obstruction. Many problems lead to enlarged turbinates, including upper respiratory infections, allergies, chronic inflammation, pregnancy, and certain medications.

Nasal polyps

Nasal polyps are noncancerous growths that develop in your nasal passages and sinuses. As they become inflamed and enlarged, they cause nasal obstruction.

What symptoms develop due to nasal obstruction?

A deviated septum and inferior turbinate hypertrophy cause similar symptoms:

  • Nasal obstruction
  • Difficulty breathing through one or both nostrils
  • Sinusitis (sinus infections)
  • Snoring
  • Postnasal drip
  • Nosebleeds
  • Reduced sense of smell
  • Noisy breathing while sleeping (in infants and children)
  • Mouth-breathing while sleeping (in adults)

If your nasal obstruction causes sinusitis, you may also develop symptoms such as discolored nasal drainage, pain or pressure around your sinuses, a fever, coughing, and a sore throat.

How is nasal obstruction treated?

The team at Southern ENT & Sinus Center may perform in-office CT imaging to diagnose the cause of your nasal obstruction. Then they create an individualized treatment plan based on your diagnosis.

Medications may help clear congestion, reduce inflammation, or shrink polyps. Most patients, however, need a surgical procedure to repair the underlying cause of nasal obstruction.

Your provider may surgically remove polyps, perform an inferior turbinate reduction, or septoplasty to repair a deviated septum. Whenever possible, the team at Southern ENT & Sinus Center performs procedures using minimally invasive endoscopic surgery.

If you need help with nasal obstruction, call Southern ENT & Sinus Center, or schedule an appointment online.