The inability to breathe through the nose is a problem that affects hundreds of thousands of people. It is often due to multiple factors, but many of these can be easily addressed with medications, office based procedures, or a simple surgery.
One common cause of nasal obstruction is a deviated septum. The septum is the portion of your nose that divides it into a right and left side. The septum is made up of cartilage and bone, and is covered by a mucosal lining. A septal deviation is usually related to some sort of trauma to the nose. This trauma can occur as early as birth (while traveling through the birth canal) and many people can’t remember any injury even occurring. If the septum is deviated it will normally cause a nasal obstruction that affects one side of nose more than the other, and the severity of obstruction normally does not fluctuate. The only way to address a deviated septum is surgery (septoplasty) to remove the deviated portions of the septal cartilage and bone. A septoplasty is a day procedure, is typically very successful, and greatly improves a patient’s ability to breathe through their nose.
Another common cause of nasal obstruction is hypertrophy or enlargement of the inferior turbinates. The inferior turbinates are the tissue that comes off the side wall of the nose and runs along the floor of the nose, which is the area where we want to move air when we breathe through our nose. The inferior turbinates are the tissue that becomes congested with someone has a cold, sinus infection, or allergies. The severity of the obstruction can wax and wane as the turbinates become congested and then decongest. The obstruction may alternate from side to side throughout the day or night. Often turbinate hypertrophy and congestion can be adequately treated by using a daily nasal steroid spray such as Flonase or Nasacort. For turbinate congestion that is not responsive to medications, a quick and simple in office procedure can often be performed to address the issue. This procedure is called a Submucosal Resection of the Inferior Turbinates and is also very successful at addressing this issue.
The lower portion of our nose is made up of cartilage that is covered by skin. This cartilage forms the outer wall of our nose and helps to keep our nose open. If this cartilage is weak it can cause the outer wall of our nose to collapse inward and narrowing our nasal airway. This is another common cause of nasal obstruction. A Breathe Right Strip helps to reverse this collapse and keep the nose open even if the nasal cartilage is weak. There is now an implant that can be easily inserted underneath the skin and over the nasal cartilage to keep the nose open. It basically acts as an internal Breathe Right Strip to permanently support the nasal cartilage and keep the nose open. The implant is small, not visible, and is absorbed by the body after 18 months.
If you suffer from frequent or constant nasal obstruction there are many treatment options available to give you relief. The physicians at ENT of Specialists of Abilene are well qualified to evaluate and treat these issues. Please call for an appointment today if you are tired of nasal obstruction.