Nasal obstruction is anything that blocks the flow of air into and out of the nose. Most cases of nasal obstruction are temporary due to the nature of the blockage. Nasal obstructions often result in snoring and even sleep apnea. Signs of a obstruction include breathing difficulty in one or both sides of the nose and mouth breathing.
An obstruction in the nasal passage can be caused by a deviated septum, turbinates, enlarged adenoids, swelling of the nose lining from allergies, and nasal congestion. It’s common and temporary for the nasal passages to be blocked by swelling of the tissue lining the nose or nasal congestion from allergies or a cold. The nasal passages are separated by the septum. When the septum is off center, this may also cause a nasal obstruction.
The turbinates are normal, bony structures in the nose and are covered by the tissue lining the nose. They help humidify the air breathed in through the nose, but can become a nasal obstruction depending on their configuration or swelling of the lining. Swelling also plays a role in nasal obstruction caused by the adenoids, which sit at the back of the nose. Enlarged adenoids is more commonly a problem in children, but it can also affect adults in some cases.
If the cause of the obstruction is swollen linings or nasal congestion, the cause will likely be treated with medication. However, a deviated septum, turbinates or adenoids may require surgery. A visit with an otolaryngologist will help diagnose the cause of a obstruction and determine a treatment plan.
If you or someone you care for is showing signs of a nasal obstruction, please contact our office at 717-728-9700 to schedule an appointment with an otolaryngologist.