Nasal obstruction can affect one’s quality of life significantly. The nose has a special function in humidifying the air that we breathe in before sending it to the lungs. Nose breathing is therefore important, and you shouldn’t rely on breathing through your mouth if you are suffering from a blocked nose. Investigation and proper treatment of nasal obstruction is important.
There are several causes of nasal obstruction. In children, large adenoids (like tonsils) at the back of the nose are a common cause. In adults, causes include a deviated septum (which can be present at birth or occur from trauma later on) or environmental allergies which cause the nose to swell inside and feel blocked. Sometimes, sinusitis can cause one to feel congested or cause a blocked nose if polyps (inflammatory swellings) develop. Very rarely, tumours can cause nasal obstruction – these are easily seen or ruled out with nasendoscopy (see Diagnosis below).
Apart from feeling that you nose is blocked, people may also suffer from a dry mouth from mouth breathing, poor sleep, difficulty exercising, reduced sense of smell or snoring at night. In addition to snoring, children may also drool excessively throughout the day or at night.
Nasendoscopy (using a small camera to look inside the nose) gives excellent visualisation of what may be causing your blocked nose. Dr Levin has a very high-quality endoscope with a camera and large monitor and is happy to show you the areas of your nose that are likely causing you to feel blocked.
Sometimes, allergy testing or a CT scan may be arranged if Dr Levin suspects you may also have sinus disease, as this will also require treatment. In children, an X-ray of the adenoids may be requested.
Treatment is directed at the cause of the blockage. It may involve nasal sprays, drops or washes. Treating diagnosed allergies may improve your blocked nose. An Adenoidectomy (surgery to remove adenoids), or Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction Surgery (to correct a deviated septum or enlarged turbinates) are usually very successful if performed in appropriately selected patients. Dr Levin will be happy to discuss all these treatment options with you.