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Nasal Obstructions: Causes & Treatments



What is nasal obstruction?

The term nasal obstruction refers to the inability to breathe through your nose. On average, we inhale between eighteen and twenty liters of air per day. When we inhale oxygen through our nose, the air we breathe in is filtered and heated; removing larger particles. Consequently, as we filter air when we breathe in through our nose, individuals often suffer a sore throat when their nasal passages are blocked. Similarly, nasal obstruction can result in disturbed sleep, reduced sense of smell, lack of taste, snoring, and possibly sinusitis.

What causes nasal obstruction?

Difficulty breathing through the nose could be a result of numerous causes; therefore, it is essential to get an accurate diagnostic before undergoing treatment. Problems with a nasal lining such as allergic rhinitis or polyps are the main causes of nasal obstruction. However, other causes could be as a side effect of medication or systemic diseases such as an underactive thyroid.

Another cause of nasal obstruction is problems with the bone or cartilage in the nose. In this instance, the partition dividing the two nasal passages may be uneven; consequently restricting the airflow through one side of the nose. This condition can either develop as we grow or can be as a result of trauma caused by accident or injury. As nasal obstructions can vary in severity, it is important to consult a nasal specialist after any form of injury or trauma to the nose.

How can nasal obstructions be treated?

Many mucosal causes of nasal obstruction can be simply treated through medical prescriptions or advice. A common example of medical application to treat nasal obstructions is in the case of individuals suffering from allergies – in these instances, a medical professional may prescribe a course of antibiotics or allergy control medication. Similarly, a patient may be advised to practice allergy avoidance techniques including; cleansing of the nasal passages, topical nasal steroids, regularly replacing pillows and using a mite impermeable mattress cover.

Although patients suffering from nasal polyps may be able to successfully seek treatment from their GP, in the instance that the polyps could be deemed sinister, further medical assistance may be required to provide reassurance to sufferers.

In the instance that nasal obstructions don’t respond to medical treatments, surgery may be advised to rectify the blockage and restore the nasal passage to a healthy, functioning state.

As well as serving the purpose of clearing a nasal obstruction, nose plastic surgery may be used to alter or improve the physical appearance of the nose so as to create a more aesthetically pleasing feature.