Care of the nasal cavity is one of the primary skills of the Otolaryngologists at Proliance Eastside ENT. The primary problems that occur in the nose are sinus infection, obstruction and cosmetic repairs. These can also make it hard to breathe easily through the nose.

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Nasal obstruction can be caused by a deviated nasal septum, enlarged turbinates, nasal polyps, enlarged adenoids, tumors and nasal congestion. Nasal obstruction encompasses anything that hinders the airflow in and out of the nose affecting one or both nasal passages. Nasal obstruction is usually caused by either swelling of the nasal tissue or an anatomical blockage which results in a narrowing of the nasal cavity and the feeling of the passages being congested. Nasal obstruction and can lead to sleeping disorders, snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.


Common temporary causes for nasal congestion include:

  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Allergic rhinitis (allergies, such as hay fever)
  • Environmental irritants, such as smoke or dust
  • Sinus infection
  • Cold or flu
  • Certain medications, such as high blood pressure medicine

Some common anatomical factors which can contribute to nasal obstruction or congestion include:

  • Deviated nasal septum (crooked cartilage within the nose blocks the airway)
  • Enlarged turbinates (bony structures within the nasal cavity)
  • Nasal polyps (benign growths within the nasal cavity)
  • Enlarged adenoids (block the back of the nasal passage)
  • Nasal tumors (benign or cancerous)

No matter what the cause, nasal obstruction/congestion is uncomfortable, and when experienced regularly, can often become a hindrance to your quality of life.


Treatments to alleviate nasal congestion can help you breathe easier and enhance your enjoyment of everyday activities, as well as your quality of sleep. Knowing the cause of your nasal congestion will determine the best treatment for you.


At-home treatments that may alleviate nasal congestion, and thus reduce snoring, include:

  • Avoiding any known allergen is a good first step to relief.
  • Nasal and sinus irrigation with a saline solution using distilled water. You can purchase pre-made saline solutions or use a neti-pot or bulb syringe to irrigate the passages.
  • Use a humidifier: Moist air helps keep nasal passages open.
  • Blow your nose before going to sleep: Try to keep mucous from building up by keeping the airway as clear as possible prior to bedtime.
  • Use steam to open up nasal airways: A hot shower before bed can reduce symptoms. Breathe the steam in slowly.
  • Drink plenty of water: Liquid helps keep mucous flowing.
  • Do not smoke: Outside irritants can worsen congestion.
  • Sleep on your side or propped up with pillows: Laying on your back can encourage mucous build-up.

Depending on the cause and severity of your nasal congestion, your doctor may prescribe:

  • Topical nasal steroids or antihistamine spray
  • Oral antihistamines or steroids
  • Antibiotics (if a bacterial infection is present)

If nasal obstruction is due to an anatomical problem and conservative treatments are unsuccessful in alleviating symptoms, a surgical treatment may be recommended.


Outpatient Treatments for Nasal Obstruction

Surgical procedures which may be recommended to treat anatomical nasal obstruction are:

  • Septoplasty: Surgery performed to straighten the nasal septum
  • Endoscopic Sinus Surgery: Outpatient procedure performed using an endoscope to restore ventilation and drainage within the nasal cavity and sinuses
  • Turbinate Reduction (also called turbinectomy or turbinoplasty): Surgery, typically performed under general anesthesia, to decrease airway resistance by reducing turbinate size
  • Nasal Valve Surgery (functional rhinoplasty): Surgical procedure, usually performed under general anesthesia, in which the internal and/or external structures of the nose are repaired or reconstructed to enable proper airflow into the nasal passages