What Is Nasal Obstruction?
Nasal obstruction or nasal congestion refers to some blockage of the nose or nasal cavity and can be caused by a wide variety of problems.
What Causes Nasal Congestion?
Nasal obstruction can occur from a number of reasons, some of which are listed here:
- Deviated Nasal Septum
- Turbinate Enlargement
- Nasal Polyps
- Variants of Normal Anatomy (Concha Bullosa)
- Adenoid Hypertrophy
- External Nasal Valve Collapse
Signs and Symptoms of Nasal Obstruction
Most common signs and symptoms for nasal congestion or nasal blockage include:
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Sinus pain
- Mucus buildup
- Swollen nasal tissue
How is Nasal Obstruction Diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask for a complete medical history and will perform a thorough physical examination. The ENT & Allergy Centers of Texas will perform nasal examination and may use imaging, including CT scans and MRIs, when necessary.
Nasal Congestion Treatment
Medical treatment for nasal obstruction also depends on the cause, but usually begins with a nasal spray in most situations. These sprays are topical steroids which are generally safe to take for long periods of time. There are also topical antihistamine sprays which are very effective for allergic nasal symptoms. Typically, sprays exert the most effect on the turbinates.
Nasal Obstruction Surgery
Treating nasal congestion depends on the cause of it. In this particular case, we will address the deviated septum and turbinate hypertrophy (enlargement). The septum is a fixed structure which is very frequently crooked or deviated to one side or the other. Because it is fixed, it doesn’t move. It causes the same amount of obstruction of breathing at all times. Septoplasty and Turbinate reduction are often performed together and are well tolerated with few major risks.
This refers to straightening the septum so that it does not obstruct breathing. A septum can be straightened by a number of different techniques, but all currently effective techniques require surgery.
Turbinate Reduction refers to shrinking the turbinates so that they are smaller and less obstructive, this process also helps prevent them from being as dynamic. Turbinates can be reduced surgically which can be done either in the office or in the operating room. The office technique is quicker with good initial results that may start to wear off after a few years. The technique in the OR has excellent results which last at least 5 years and often far longer.
Can I Treat Nasal Congestion at Home?
You can try different options at home to help alleviate the pressure caused by the nasal obstruction and open up your sinuses such as:
- Use a humidifier or vaporizer.
- Take long showers or breathe in steam from a pot of warm water.
- Drink lots of fluids. This will thin out your mucus, which could help prevent blocked sinuses.
- Use a nasal saline spray. It’s salt water, and it will help keep your nasal passages from drying out.
- Sit a warm, wet towel on your face. It may relieve discomfort and open your nasal passages.
Schedule a Consultation
If the nasal obstruction persists and nothing helps to reduce the pressure, call our office at 972.984.1050 to schedule a consultation. Our practice serves McKinney, Allen, Plano and surrounding areas in Texas.