Try to take a deep breath by inhaling air only through your nose. Don’t forget to close your mouth beforehand. Do you feel like you’re able to do it just fine, or does something inside your nose seem to be blocking the airflow? In the second case, you’re in the right place.
Before you decide on seeing your ENT, consult with this guide. This article’s here to tell you what to do if you can’t breathe through your nose. So, if you’re ready to be breathing freely again, stick around.
What Are the Causes of Your Trouble with Breathing Through the Nose?
There might be a couple of reasons why you’re unable to breathe through your nose. But you should know right from the start that your treatment will entirely depend upon the exact cause of your condition. In some cases, you may even be able to resolve this issue on your own, without medical help. With that in mind, we’re here to guide you through the possible causes of your nasal situation first.
So, what are the things that might be causing you trouble breathing through your nose? As you’re about to see, we’re going to propose three different factors that might be blocking your airflow. Hopefully, you’ll be able to take a deep breath once you’ve found the culprit. Take a look at the ideas we’re about to propose and see if any of them seems to be making sense.
As its name suggests, nasal obstruction is the blockage of the airflow inside your nose or nasal cavity. In most cases, it will result in you having to breathe through your mouth until the issue gets fixed.
Another nasal obstruction symptom can be nasal drainage or developing a nasal voice over time. But as you’ll see, this condition is, in itself, a symptom of some other underlying issue.
Therefore, your nasal obstruction might stem from the swelling of your nasal lining because of your issues with allergies. It can also be the symptom of a cold, a viral or bacterial disease. Your condition might even be a result of foreign objects getting stuck inside your nasal cavity. Enlarged adenoid glands behind your nose can also prevent you from breathing properly.
In some cases, you might be able to blame your situation on the deviated nasal septum. The deviation happens when the bone and connective tissue that divides your nasal cavity is crooked. This condition can block the airflow in at least one of your nostrils and cause you breathing problems.
The funny thing is, many people can suffer from deviated septum without even realizing it, as this condition can vary in degrees.
Chronic sinusitis means having inflamed sinuses continuously for over 12 weeks. This condition is often related to nasal polyps, which you probably haven’t heard of. These guys form in grape-like groups inside your nasal cavity. In other words, they are soft, noncancerous growths either inside your nasal passages or your sinuses.
These polyps can swell due to an infection or grow even larger. When that happens, they can start to block your airflow and prevent you from breathing through your nose. Polyps can also suddenly increase on your bad allergy day, blocking as much as 90% of your nasal cavity. If this happens, you might need to think of a treatment plan as soon as possible.
In general, the symptoms of your chronic sinusitis will be swelling, pain, and discomfort in your nose. One of the reasons can be biofilms — a colony of bacteria that forms a thick film inside your sinuses. As a result, you’ll be left with a hard-to-beat sinus infection. You should also know that if you already have a deviated septum, you’ll be more prone to developing chronic sinusitis, too.
Some other reasons for your issues with breathing through the nose can be physical. In other words, you might be able to blame it all on a less temporary nose injury or a more severe nasal trauma. For example, your condition can stem from you breaking your nose recently. The onset of your trouble with breathing can be the fact that your nose hasn’t healed properly.
Apart from a limited airflow, you might also experience other symptoms related to nose injuries. They can include bleeding from your nasal cavity or developing bruises around your nose. You might also be able to notice a discharge of mucus coming from your nostrils. And in most severe cases, your nose will end up crooked or misshapen.
In general, if you’re dealing with nasal trauma, you’ll also experience nose sensitivity or pain. Watch out because nose injuries happen more often than you’d think. They can result from physical abuse or happen during a fistfight. But in most cases, this condition will occur due to sports injuries, falls, and car accidents.
Treatment Options for Your Problems with Breathing Through the Nose
We get it — having problems with breathing might feel so frustrating. Naturally, you’ll be looking for the best way to address this issue as soon as you notice it. You might be able to treat your self-diagnosed condition at home or by visiting your ENT. Here are a couple of things you’ll need to do to make yourself feel better and start breathing again.
If you suffer from nasal obstruction, the best way to treat it will be by using medicines. Depending on the exact cause of your condition, your ENT might prescribe you different drugs to address your symptoms. For example, you may get antibiotics if your condition turns out to be stemming from a bacterial infection. Your doctor might also give you a nasal steroid spray or allergy medications.
Unlike nasal obstruction, chronic sinusitis doesn’t usually come from a bacterial infection. That’s why antibiotics won’t be of much help in this situation, except for treating biofilms. On the other hand, antifungal medicine and intranasal corticosteroid sprays might make a difference.
Another option would be taking pain relievers and avoiding the environmental factors that might be triggering your breathing problems.
Finally, antibiotics should help you treat a potential inflammation caused by nasal trauma. For reducing irritation, you can also opt for different kinds of nasal sprays. But given how much these injuries can hurt, you’ll probably need to take a couple of painkillers to ease your discomfort.
When to See a Doctor for Your Inability to Breathe Through the Nose
For less severe kinds of breathing issues, you might be able to get a nasal spray from your local pharmacy. You’ll also be able to buy a couple of painkillers that would momentarily ease your pain. But other than that, you might not be able to improve your condition on your own. Especially if you notice some other symptoms accompanying your breathing issues, you may need to visit your ENT.
That’s because other kinds of problems might indicate an underlying condition you haven’t been aware of. In this case, the symptoms you’ll need to look for include:
• heavy nosebleeds
• unbearable pain
• nose distortion
• uncontrollable swelling
• high fever
• bruises around the nose and below your eyes
The first thing your ENT will do is give you a valid diagnosis of your condition. If prescription medications don’t help, your doctor might suggest other alternative solutions. Depending on your exact condition, they might include removing your adenoids or shrinking your turbinates surgically. Your ENT may also recommend balloon sinuplasty to drain and clean your sinuses and stop your inflammation.