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Nasal blockage: the causes, symptoms and treatments

ENT Consultant, Mr Bertram Fu

If you’re struggling with a stuffy, blocked nose, you could have a nasal obstruction, also known as a nasal blockage which we can treat at Benenden Hospital. Our experienced ear nose and throat (ENT) Consultant Surgeon, Mr Bertram Fu has put together a short guide on how our private ENT service can help you to breathe easily again.

We see patients with a whole range of ENT conditions at Benenden Hospital with everyone seen by fully qualified ENT Consultants, all of whom have special interests in a certain area of ENT. My area of special interest is Rhinology, which is the diagnosis and management of conditions in the nose and sinuses. As such, I see a lot of patients who have nasal blockage symptoms in my clinic.

What are the causes of nasal obstruction?

There are different causes of nasal obstruction, the common ones include:

  • Deviated nasal septum – this is usually a result of previous nasal injuries. It means there is a structural problem with the shape of the partition wall in the centre of your nose, making the nasal passages narrow on one or both sides
  • Enlargement of turbinates – turbinates are normal structures situated at the side wall of the nasal cavities. Enlargement occurs when the mucosa (soft tissue) is chronically inflamed. It is often attributed to allergies or other types of rhinitis
  • Nasal polyps – these are benign growths inside your nose. They are a consequence of chronic rhinosinusitis and they can make you feel like you have a permanent cold

If you have a blocked nose which feels ‘stuffy’ and is making you suffer from congestion, read about the causes and treatment of a blocked nose.

How do you know if you have a nasal obstruction?

Nasal obstruction is a similar feeling to that of having a blocked nose. Common associating symptoms of nasal obstruction may include:

  • Difficulty breathing through your nose
  • A feeling of congestion inside your nose
  • Mouth breathing
  • Dry mouth and throat in the morning
  • Poor or absent sense of smell and taste
  • Snoring

Depending on the severity of your nasal obstruction, patients can be affected temporarily or more permanently.

It may affect one or both nostrils. It can be simply an annoyance to some but can also significantly impact the quality of life, affecting your ability to eat, exercise and sleep. If you’re struggling in this way, I’d recommend you see an ENT specialist as soon as possible for an examination.

Treatments for nasal obstruction

Normally when we receive your referral, we will offer you an initial consultation with one of our ENT Consultants in our Outpatient clinic.

We will discuss your symptoms and problems, before carrying out a thorough examination of your nose, often using a small sized endoscopic instrument.

After your examination and clinical assessment, we will have a further discussion with regards to the findings. We will then recommend appropriate diagnostic investigation, if required, and will develop a treatment plan.

There are different medical and surgical treatments we use to treat nasal obstruction depending on the exact cause. We may offer our patients non-surgical treatments such as antibiotics, antihistamines, steroid tablets and nasal sprays.

We may also offer a range of surgical procedures if have a more severe nasal obstruction. These may include:

Access our ENT service

We see a range of patients who suffer from common conditions such as ear or sinus infections, breathing or hearing difficulties and impaired balance.

If you’re struggling with the symptoms of nasal blockage, you can book an appointment to see one of our expert Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Consultants to begin your patient journey.

To find out more, or to book an appointment, complete our online booking form or contact our Private Patient team via Livechat or on 01580 363 158.

Published on 09 February 2023