Breathing through your nose
Do you have trouble breathing through your nose? Is the trouble with just one nostril or both nostrils? Do you blow your nose but still can’t breathe well?
Breathing through your nose has a few benefits you may not be aware of. Nasal breathing warms, humidifies and filters the air before it reaches your lungs. The nose is also designed to circulate the air you breathe to provide you with a sense of smell.
The structure of your nose
Inside your nose, the left and right nostrils are separated by a wall of cartilage and bone called the nasal septum. Inside each nostril are structures called turbinates. The turbinates help circulate the air you breathe and protect your respiratory system. The turbinates also produce and help transport mucus, which contains antibodies and anti-inflammatories to help prevent infections. Did you know the nose can produce over a quart of mucus every day? That’s 32 ounces, or 2 pints daily, and that is normal.
Effects of troubled nasal breathing
When your nose is stuffy, congested, obstructed or blocked, it can lead to a couple of problems. Your sense of smell can be decreased. If you have to breathe through your mouth a lot, your mouth gets dry and can lead to a sore throat, bad breath, gum disease and dental problems. Having a stuffy nose at night can cause trouble sleeping, or cause you to start snoring. Trying to exercise when you can’t breathe well through your nose can decrease your endurance.
Possible causes for nose breathing troubles
When you can’t breathe well through your nose, it can be due to inflammation inside the nose, an anatomical problem, or both.
Examples of inflammation are seasonal allergies, sinusitis, and nasal polyps. Allergies to pollen, animals or dust cause the turbinates to become swollen, and will make your nose stuffy. Sinusitis is an infection of the sinuses, which can cause an increase in mucus production, create facial pain and makes you feel like you have a cold. Nasal polyps are growths in the nose that will cause trouble breathing and decrease your sense of smell. These growths are benign (non-cancerous) and are usually due to allergies or infections.
Anatomical problems include a deviated septum and enlarged turbinates. Sometimes the septum will not be straight and can be crooked or “deviated”. When the septum is deviated, one nostril can be too narrow and lead to one side of your nose always feeling blocked or congested. If the turbinates are too big, they can cause nasal obstruction that will alternate sides; sometimes the left nostril will be stuffy and other times the right nostril will be stuffy.
If you’re having trouble nose breathing, we’re here to help
If you think you are having trouble breathing through your nose, the providers at Proliance Surgeons Eastside ENT have extensive experience evaluating and treating nasal problems both medically and surgically. There are various oral and nasal medications, lifestyle changes, and other options to help you breathe better. There are also some in-office procedures and surgeries that we offer that can improve nasal breathing. If your quality of life is negatively affected by problems breathing through your nose, call us today to set up an appointment.