Blocked Nose

A blocked or obstructed nose is a common problem. It may be the result of an injury or may simply be the way you were born.

People with a blocked nose will typically have difficulty breathing through one or both nostrils. They may complain of a dry mouth after sleep and it can contribute to snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). The nasal blockage can be intermittent or may be present at all times.

What is the cause?

There are a few reasons why a person may have a blocked nose.

Physical obstruction due to structures of the nose is the most common reason. The cartilage and/or bone of the nose can be deviated into the nasal air passages leading to a blockage. At the front of the nose, there can be weakness in the cartilages of the nostrils leading to collapse of the airway, while at the back of the nose the adenoids may cause a blockage.

Diseases of the nose may also cause nasal obstruction. Common problems such as nasal allergies and nasal polyps can cause swellings of the nasal linings leading to blockage. Less commonly, tumours and growths within the nose may lead to a nasal blockage.

How can we work out what the problem is? 

Once the symptoms related to the nose are clearly understood, an examination of the nose will often identify the cause.  Additional tests such as blood tests, biopsy and CT scans can help to better define the problem in order to plan for its correction. 

What are the solutions?

There are some problems that may benefit from the use of medications and saline nasal rinses, which act to clean the nose, remove irritants and reduce inflammation.

Structural problems and some diseases such as nasal polyps may require an operation to improve the nasal airway and help correct the problem.

The particular solution will vary from person to person and will usually need to be tailored to their individual circumstances in order to obtain the most favourable result. A consultation with Dr Morrissey can help to answer the above questions should you have concerns regarding a blocked nose.