Do you suffer with a completely or partially obstructed nasal airway? If so, you can’t breathe through your nose, and that’s a miserable feeling. Nasal obstruction results in fatigue, decreased exercise capacity, dry mouth, poor sleep, poor concentration, headaches, and the list goes on.
The primary function of the nose is to aid in breathing by creating an efficient exchange of air between the environment and your lungs. Your nose humidifies, warms, and filters the air before it enters your lungs. It also creates efficient air movement, allowing for more air to be inhaled through your nose rather than your mouth. When nasal airflow is obstructed, our bodies, and the way we feel suffer as a result.
What Causes Nasal Obstruction?
Nasal obstruction occurs due to abnormal nasal anatomy, inflammation of the nasal lining or mucosa, or a combination of anatomic and inflammatory problems. Examples of nasal anatomy problems include: septal deviations, enlargement of the inferior turbinate conchal bone, middle turbinate concha bullosa, nasal valve problems, and obstructing masses like tumors. Inflammatory problems of the nose are referred to as rhinitis. There are allergic, non-allergic, environmental, and infectious causes of rhinitis. Many patients suffer with both anatomic and inflammatory problems that combined worsen both nasal function and discomfort.
How Are Nasal Obstructions Corrected?
To best correct nasal obstruction, the proper diagnosis or diagnoses must be made before initiating therapy. This requires a proper and thorough workup. A thorough history, a description of the patient’s complaints, must be obtained first. Symptoms such as facial pain may suggest an infectious cause while itching or sneezing may suggest an allergy based problem. A constant one-sided blockage may indicate a fixed anatomic problem like a septal deviation or polyp-like mass.
Following the history, a thorough physical exam is performed. At Sinus and Nasal Specialists of Louisiana we encourage every patient with nasal obstruction to undergo an endoscopic nasal exam. Here a 3.0 mm telescope attached to a camera is gently and painlessly passed into the nose to best examine the entire nasal airway and identify any problems like dynamic valve collapse. It is essential to examine the entire nasal airway because nasal obstruction is often the result of multiple problems occurring in different areas of the nasal airway, and to achieve the best result, all of the problems must be addressed.
Many patients will also undergo a CT scan of the sinuses as part of their workup. The CT scan helps to completely map and describe the patient’s sinus and nasal anatomy. This will help to identify or exclude the possibility that sinusitis or some other sinus problem is contributing to the nasal blockage. If a concomitant sinus problem is present; it must be addressed.
If symptoms include itchy-watery eyes, sneezing, clear runny nose, dry cough at night, wheezing, etc., and physical exam shows changes suggestive of allergic inflammation, then allergy testing may be part of the workup. If allergies are responsible for swelling in the nose, the allergies must be addressed to achieve the best result possible. Sinus and Nasal Specialists of Louisiana offer different methods of allergy testing for adults and children, and can adapt testing strategies to accommodate patients uncomfortable with needles.
After the diagnosis or diagnoses have been made, the treatment plan is created. Suggested therapies may include different surgical interventions, medical therapies, or allergy shots or sublingual drops. Sinus and Nasal Specialists of Louisiana’s doctors, Henry P. Barham MD and Christian A. Hall MD, are both Board Certified ENT doctors that have completed one year accredited fellowships in Rhinology, the medical field dedicated to complex medical problems of the nose and sinuses. Drs. Barham and Hall have the knowledge and skill to fully diagnose and treat the problems causing nasal obstruction.
If you suffer with nasal obstruction Sinus and Nasal Specialists of Louisiana can help you. We are located at 8585 Picardy Avenue Suite 512 Medical Tower 2, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. We can be reached at 225-819-1181. Please contact us for a consultation. There is no referral necessary. We would love to help you.