Nasal obstruction, which causes difficulty breathing through the nose, results from a blockage in the nasal passages. Nasal obstruction can be caused by a variety of underlying nose and sinus issues, including anatomic abnormalities of cartilage, bones, and membranes in the nose and nasal inflammation due to allergies. There may be obstruction on one or both sides of the nose and it may be present constantly or intermittently during certain times of the year, or even only during certain times of the day.
TREATMENT FOR NASAL OBSTRUCTION IN HOUSTON
The frequency and location of a nasal obstruction often reveals the underlying cause, but you have to ask the right questions. That’s why you need an experienced nose and sinus specialist like Dr. Arjuna Kuperan at Houston Advanced Nose & Sinus. Dr. Kuperan is a Board Certified Otolaryngologist (ENT) and one of few fellowship certified Rhinologists in Texas. He uses his specialized expertise to diagnose the cause of nasal obstruction and create an effective treatment plan.
NASAL OBSTRUCTION SYMPTOMS
- Difficulty breathing through the nose, on one or both sides
- Congestion that makes it difficult to exercise or sleep
- Runny nose
- Recurring sinus infections
UNDERSTANDING THE CAUSES OF NASAL OBSTRUCTION
Common causes of nasal obstruction include:
Deviated septum is a common structural abnormality and is frequently an underlying cause of nasal obstruction. Some patients have enlargement of the inferior turbinates which are “hotdog” shaped structures that sit inside the floor of the nasal cavity and humidify the air we breathe. These can become enlarged in response to nasal allergies or with chronic use of nasal decongestants like Afrin. Another structural abnormality that can cause nasal obstruction is called internal nasal valve collapse, in which the outside of the nose collapses when we inhale.
Nasal polyps are fluffy soft tissue growths inside the nasal cavity. They may be the result of allergies, sinus infections, or aspirin sensitivity. They can cause severe or complete nasal obstruction on one or both sides of the nose.
An allergic reaction to mold, pollen, animal dander, and dust also causes a stuffy nose or nasal congestion. The body reacts to these allergic substances by releasing histamine and similar substances that lead to excess production of watery or thick clear nasal mucus and congestion. Studies show that patients suffering from nasal obstruction due to allergic rhinitis often suffer from severe sleep impairment, which can have a negative effect on overall quality of life.1
A viral or bacterial infection causes the body to release histamine, a chemical that increases blood flow to nose and results in swelling. As a result, the nasal membranes become congested with blood and produce extra mucus that blocks the nasal airway. The infection also can result in the production of purulent mucus causing discolored nasal secretions that obstruct the nose and drain into the throat, causing a cough.
HOW IS NASAL OBSTRUCTION TREATED?
If you are experiencing nasal obstruction symptoms, it is essential to consult an experienced Rhinologist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Dr. Kuperan will begin with a thorough examination, which may include the use of nasal endoscopy (looking inside the nose with a small camera). He will also discuss your symptoms and medical history. Once he has determined the cause of your nasal obstruction, he will create a treatment plan to relieve your symptoms.
Potential treatments include:
Nasal Sprays: Nasal obstruction due to allergies or structural abnormalities is generally first treated with nasal steroid sprays.2 These sprays decrease the inflammation inside the nose and shrink the structures inside the nose to promote better nasal breathing. If these medications fail to improve the nasal breathing, a surgical procedure may be necessary.
Inferior Turbinate Reduction: If there is evidence of inferior turbinate enlargement, a procedure called inferior turbinate reduction may be necessary to restore your breathing.
Septoplasty: In situations where the nasal obstruction is caused by a deviated septum, an endoscopic septoplasty is required to maximize nasal breathing.
Nasal Valve Repair: If nasal valve collapse is the cause then a nasal valve repair is needed to optimize your breathing.
The key to successful nasal obstruction treatment is choosing an approach that is customized for the severity and cause(s) of your nasal obstruction. There is not one single solution that is correct for every patient, and that’s why Houston Advanced Nose & Sinus is unique. We don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment like some other practices. Dr. Kuperan’s super specialized expertise and experience as a Rhinologist will ensure you get the best treatment so you can Breathe Better Now.
1 Léger D, Annesi-Maesano I, Carat F, et al. Allergic rhinitis and its consequences on quality of sleep: An unexplored area. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(16):1744-1748. doi:10.1001/archinte.166.16.1744.
2 Johns Hopkins University. Nasal Obstruction. Available: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/otolaryngology/specialty_areas/pediatric_otolaryngology/conditions/nasal_obstructions.html. Accessed July 9, 2020.
Dr. Arjuna Kuerpan has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.