• Tejas Ear, Nose and Throat 512-255-8070
  • Tejas Hearing Aid Center 512-733-8821
 

Your Family’s Ear, Nose, Throat, and Hearing Rehabilitation Specialists

Nasal Obstruction / Nasal Congestion/ Mouth breathing

Nasal obstruction can be straight forward but it is not uncommon to encounter complex cases. There may be more to nasal obstruction than a deviated septum. Sinus inflammation and concha bullosa (enlarged nasal filters) are common causes of nasal obstruction. The valve at the tip of the nose may be compromised in which case a functional rhinoplasty (opening up of the nose) may be recommended. Dr. Tamez has extensive experience with great success rates correcting nasal obstruction. In general, if one does not breathe well through the nose, he/she will not sleep as well as he could be sleeping, and being able to breathe through the nose can cure mild sleep apnea/Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). Better breathing through the nose often reduces snoring.

Prior to getting a sleep study, get evaluated by Dr. Tamez to assess your ability to breathe through your nose. Being able to breathe well through your nose improves your quality of life, exercise endurance, snoring and sleep. Children who cannot breathe well through their nose can have abnormal facial growth (adenoid facies). Adenoid hypertrophy is a common cause of nasal obstruction in kids. Surgery would only be offered by Dr. Tamez after maximal medical therapy has failed. Dr Tamez can help you with all your nose and breathing issues.

What are the causes of nasal congestion?

Infection

An average adult suffers a "common cold" two to three times per year. These viral infections occur more often in childhood because immunity strengthens with age. A cold is caused by one of many different viruses, some of which are airborne, but most are transmitted by hand-to-nose contact. Once the virus is absorbed by the nose, it causes the body to release histamine, a chemical which dramatically increases blood flow to the nose and causes nasal tissue to swell. This inflames the nasal membranes which become congested with blood and produce excessive amounts of mucus that "stuffs up" the nasal airway. Antihistamines and decongestants help relieve the symptoms of a cold, but no medication can cure it. Ultimately, time is what is needed to get rid of the infection.

During a viral infection, the nose has poor resistance to bacteria, which is why infections of the nose and sinuses often follow a "cold." When the nasal mucus turns from clear to yellow or green, it usually means that a bacterial infection has set in. In this case, a physician should be consulted.

Acute sinus infections produce nasal congestion and thick discharge. Pain may occur in cheeks and upper teeth, between and behind the eyes, or above the eyes and in the forehead, depending on which sinuses are involved.

Chronic sinus infections may or may not cause pain, but usually involve nasal obstruction and offensive nasal or postnasal discharge. Some people develop polyps (fleshy growths in the nose) from sinus infections, and the infection can spread to the lower airways, leading to a chronic cough, bronchitis, or asthma. Acute sinus infections generally respond to antibiotic treatment; chronic sinusitis may require surgery.

Structural abnormalities

These include deformities of the nose and nasal septum; the thin, flat cartilage and bone that divides the two sides of the nose and nostrils. These deformities are usually the result of an injury, sometimes having occurred in childhood. Seven percent of newborn babies suffer significant nasal injury in the birth process. Nasal injuries are common in both children and adults. If they obstruct breathing, surgical correction may be helpful.

One of the most common causes of nasal obstruction in children is enlargement of the adenoids. These are a tonsil-like tissue located in the back of the nose, behind the palate. Children with this problem may experience noisy breathing at night and may snore. Children who are chronic mouth breathers may develop a sagging face and dental deformities. In this case, surgery to remove the adenoids and/or tonsils may be advisable.

Other causes in this category include nasal tumors and foreign bodies. Children are often known to insert small objects into their noses. If a foul-smelling discharge is observed draining from one nostril, a physician should be consulted.

Possible Testing

  • Computed tomography (CT) scan of the sinuses
  • Allergy Testing

Possible Treatments

  • Septoplasty
  • Functional Rhinoplasty
  • Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS)
  • Balloon Sinuplasty
  • Allergy Evaluation

Tools/Technology

  • Coblation
  • Microdebrider
  • Stryker Image guidance
  • Merogel
  • Doyle splints
  • Balloon Sinuplasty

Dr. Tamez of Tejas Ear, Nose and Throat has extensive experience both medically and surgically in treating ailments of the nose and sinuses in all ages. He is meticulous and prides himself on consistent positive outcomes. Make an appointment and let Dr. Tamez help you and you family live improve your quality of life and health.