Why don’t I breathe well through my nose?

To find out the different causes of your bad nasal breathing, you should go to an ENT specialist. The otolaryngologist is the only doctor who has the appropriate technical means, the nasal fiberscope, to visualize the inside of your nose and make an accurate diagnosis. Without seeing the inside of the nose, the diagnosis may not be correct.

After this initial exploration, sometimes, other types of studies such as allergic tests, radiological tests, etc., may be necessary.

What can make breathing difficult?

There are many reasons why nasal breathing is not possible, sufficient or satisfactory, but we highlight among them:

1. deviated nasal septum. The nasal septum separates both nostrils in the midline of the nose. Occasionally, spontaneously, during growth, development of the face or due to trauma, there is a deviation towards one nostril or an “S” shaped bending, causing uni- or bilateral nasal breathing difficulty.

  • Treatment: The only effective treatment to solve these deviations is surgery. This surgery is performed from the inside of the nostril, without leaving marks or external cuts.

Chronic rhinitis: it is an inflammation of the nasal mucosa and enlargement of the turbinates.

The turbinates are a structure located in the nostrils. Their center is composed of bone. Their function is to condition the air we breathe so that it reaches the lungs in optimal conditions: it filters, warms and moistens the air we breathe in.

This increase in size of the turbinates (hypertrophy), especially of the lower turbinates, causes nasal breathing difficulty. The turbinate increases in volume and there is less free space for breathing. In addition to bad breathing through the nose, there is often clear mucus (liquid rhinorrhea), decreased sense of smell, nasal itching and sneezing.

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Many of these chronic rhinitis are of allergic cause. Allergies are more frequent in spring due to grasses, but they can occur at any time of the year due to dust mites, arizonias, etc.

  • Treatment: chronic rhinitis is treated with drugs: antihistamines and nasal sprays with corticoids. With the use of these medications, most rhinitis is controlled.

What can we do if these treatments do not work?

However, there are people who do not improve in spite of carrying out the treatment correctly. For these cases we have minimally invasive surgery performed under sedation, in which we try to reduce the size of the turbinates, it is called Radiofrequency turbinate surgery.

In this surgery a high frequency energy is applied by introducing an electrode through each nostril. It is performed on an outpatient basis, the patient can go home a few hours after being operated, it has few risks and few complications, but on the other hand, the result is usually satisfactory.

3. Chronic rhinosinusitis and nasal polyposis: these are inflammations and infections of the mucosa and paranasal sinuses that cause, in addition to nasal breathing difficulty, abundant mucus and facial pain or pain.

  • Treatment: the initial treatment is with medication, reserving surgery for cases with worse control and repetitive symptoms. Surgical cases are approached by endoscopic nasal surgery through the nostrils without external scars.