Conditions and diseases
Symptoms and causes
What is it?
Nasal obstruction is the inability to breathe properly through the nose: on the left, right or on both sides.
Usually a nasal obstruction is present for a short period of time, for example, during a cold. If nasal congestion persists for a prolonged period, further check-ups are recommended.
Chronic nasal obstruction can be due to various causes:
- anatomical anomalies: misalignment of the nasal septum, large nasal conchae, a narrow nose
- swelling of the mucous membranes: allergy, hypersensitivity of the mucous membrane to non-allergic stimuli, medication, sinusitis...
- obstruction due to nasal polyps
- oversized adenoids
- benign and malignant tumours
- medicinal rhinitis: this is caused by prolonged usage of fast-acting decongestant nasal drops. After administering the drops, the nasal breathing will initially be free, but then there will be a rebound effect. You will get the opposite effect where your nose becomes congested due to the use of nose drops. This kicks off a vicious cycle where people become dependent on nose drops. That is why fast-acting nose drops should not be used for longer than one week.
Diagnosis and treatment
The physician will examine your nose using a headlamp and an endoscope. Sometimes additional testing is necessary, such as a nasal breathing test, allergy tests and a scanner.
The treatment of a nasal obstruction varies greatly and depends on the severity and cause. Your physician will discuss the most appropriate treatment with you.
The treatment may consist of:
- nasal rinses
- nasal spray
- antibiotics or other medication
- surgical treatment
Treatment centres and specialisations
Latest publication date: 11/08/2021
Supervising author: Dr Vermeiren Judith