May people have nasal obstruction, which could be temporarily (ie. a cold) or more persisent (ie. a deviated septum). Blockage of air flow through the nose is associated with sinusitis, allergies, snoring and other medical conditions.
The nasal septum is a wall that separates the left and right side of our nose. If this wall is bent to one side we call it a deviated septum. Although most people have some deviation of their septum, it is only important if it is causing blockage of airflow or pain. The cause of this deviation could be from trauma/injury, excessive growth of the septum, or just the way it developed.
The nasal turbinates are also a common source of blockage of airflow. These can quickly change in size and if they grow too big they will block that side. The turbinates are normal tissue in the nose that humidifies and warms the air we breathe. Allergies, colds, and sinusitis can cause them to enlarge and block our nose.
There are many possible causes of nasal obstruction including:
- Infection (a viral cold, bacterial sinusitis, etc)
- Nasal Polyps
- Deviated Septum
- Turbinate Hypertrophy
- Vasomotor rhinitis (triggered by odors, temperature changes, etc)
- Hormonal (pregnancy)
A deviated septum can also create turbulent airflow through the nose and create a dry, “chapped” area which can lead to nosebleeds (epistaxis) (link).
The correction for nasal obstruction is to treat the underlying cause. If the cause is due to deviate septum and/or turbinate hypertrophy there is a simple and effective procedure to correct these areas. A septoplasty and turbinate reduction [link] is an outpatient procedure which straightens the septum and reduces the size of the turbinates.