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What causes nasal obstruction?

Nose block could be done to a sharp bend in nose bone called Deviated Nasal Septum (DNS) or abnormal growth of tissue in nose.

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Deviated Nasal Septum

The septum between the two nostrils is made of cartilage and bone covered with mucosa on both sides. A bend in septum could be caused by injuries to nose or a differential growth in facial bones during puberty. It can be easily corrected by a small surgery called Septoplasty where the bent portion of bone or cartilage is removed through a small incision inside the nose.

Soft tissues obstructing nasal passage is different in various age groups. The common ones are:-

Adenoids in young children between 3-10 years. Adenoids are lymphoid tissue like tonsils behind the nose. They increase in size in response to inhaled pathogens. The nasal obstruction may lead to open mouth breathing, snoring, sleep apnea and deformities of teeth and upper jaw. If they do not reduce with a trial of medications, they are surgically removed singly (Adenoidectomy) or with tonsils (Adenotonsillectomy).

Polyps are excessively swollen mucosa of nose and sinuses, usually due to allergy or infection. They may be in one nostril or both. Patients in addition to nasal obstruction have recurrent sneezing, itching and watering from nose and eyes.

Early polyp may regress with oral steroids or nasal spray. Established polyps require complete removal under endoscopic guidance (FESS). The chances of recurrence are reduced by complete removal and post operative nasal douching

Juvenile Nasopharyngeal Angiofibroma is a cause for brisk nasal bleeding in young males. A locally aggressive benign tumor of blood vessels. JNA often requires extensive surgery by an experienced surgeon for optimal results.

Nasal cancers often occurs in older adults and elderly and present as ulcers and bleeding. A combination of surgery and radiotherapy is used to treat the same.