A blocked nose can be caused by a variety of reasons. An accurate diagnosis will go a long way in resolving the issue. Often one get used to not breathing through the nose clearly that one forgot what a breath air feels like.
The nose is divided into 2 halves by the septum. On each side of the nose are structures growing from the outer walls called turbinates. Each one of us has 3 pairs of turbinates.
Blockage of the nose can be due to structural changes or additional material in the nasal passages causing blockage.
- Deviated Nasal Septum: This is caused by injury or trauma to the nose. Often this happens during our childhood days. To correct this, surgical intervention is required.
- Turbinate Hypertrophy.: The inferior or the lowermost turbinate can fluctuate in size. It consist of a bony turbinate covered by soft tissue. The soft tissue fluctuates with allergy and infection. By shrinking the turbinates with a procedure called coblation turbinate reduction or radiofrequency reduction, one can obtain a clear airway through this outpatient procedure taking about 15 minutes.
- Often there is a combination of a deviated nasal septum and turbinate hypertrophy. If this is so, both areas will need to be addressed.
- A flu with mucus and phlegm can block the nose. Treating this will revert the condition
- Nasal Polyps: This are outgrowth from the nose. While they are benign, they can grow very large and obstruct the airway, causing sinus infection and poor sense of smell. Treatment is by a combination of medication and surgery. They are also related to food allergy. This will also need to reevaluated to prevent recurrence of the polyps
- Tumours in the nose can also cause obstruction and a blocked nose. Bleeding or blood stained mucus may be signs of this.
In general if your blocked nose last more than a week, it should be assessed by a physician.