Nasal Airway Obstruction
Are you tired?
I often ask patients this question. Many of them look at me somewhat surprised then follow with “why yes, how would I not be?”. “I have 2.3 kids, work 10 hours a day–I am exhausted.” Do you feel like the sleep you get is restful? Often patients will sleep well, but their sleep is neither restful nor revitalizing. Many experience morning headaches or “fog”. Many others experience ear pain, fullness, or pressure. Increasing nasal resistance over time can lead to all of this. It can also contribute to dental problems from teeth grinding or bruxism, sleep disordered breathing, sleep apnea, weight gain, and snoring.
So why am I having increasing nasal airway obstruction? For some the problem has existed since childhood. Children have tremendous reserves. They can be ill one day and back to normal the next. As we get older our “reserves” began to diminish. We now began to show signs of dysfunction or disease as our bodies can no longer compensate for this problem. In children “allergies” are a big contributor to this problem. As children become adults, allergy symptoms may change and the contribution of nonallergic irritants increases. Many adults who may have suffered from “allergies” as a kid, often believe they have outgrown these, yet are unaware of night-time nasal obstruction or increasing nasal resistance.
For others, increasing nasal resistance occurs as allergens or nonallergic irritants–a huge problem in the DFW area–break down the mucosal tissues in the nose leading to congestion and inflammation. This may also lead to chronic sinusitis which also contributes to nasal congestion and obstruction. Early on, treatment for allergens and nonallergic irritants such as nasal steroids and nasal antihistamines can be very effective. Unfortunately for many, by the time they are aware there is a problem, chronic sinusitis has developed and may not be reversed by medical therapy.
So what do I do if this is me? Seek care from a sinus expert who understands this problem. When topical therapy–typically a combination of nasal steroid and antihistamine sprays as well as any treatment for sinusitis–fails to resolve symptoms completely, then it is time to make an appointment for an evaluation and a CT scan. Why is the CT scan so critical? This will show if there is any evidence of chronic sinusitis that may be contributing to the obstruction. If so, then this needs to be addressed. Many patients I have seen have this scenario. They have increasing nasal resistance leading to multiple symptoms. Prescription nasal sprays are partially effective at best and their CT shows mild to moderate chronic sinusitis. Many of these have been very successfully treated with balloon sinuplasty in office and ongoing topical therapy. For those who have no chronic sinusitis or the few that continue to have some obstruction after balloon dilation of the sinuses, in office coblation turbinate reduction can be very successful in resolving these symptoms. (Please see the video on this page for this procedure). The best part of all of this is that common problems of sinusitis, nasal obstruction, and snoring can all be successfully treated in the office with return to work and normal activities the following day.
In conclusion, you not breathing clearly through your nose at night is hazardous to your health over time. Treatment that is safe, effective, and performed in the office setting with return to normal activities the following day is available now. Do not put off making an appointment that can change your life. Call us today or fill out your contact information and we will get in touch with you shortly.