Blocked nose

A blocked nose is a common problem and it can cause problems with sleep, exercise and general quality of life.

What causes a blocked nose?

There are a wide range of possible causes. Physical obstruction can be due to problems with the septum (the dividing wall of the nose) or the cartilages at the front of the nose (the nasal valve). In kids, large adenoids are a common cause but the adenoids disappear in most adults.

Irritation or inflammation of the lining of the nose (called Rhinitis) is a common cause of blocked nose and may be due to allergies or other irritants. It is often associated with itchy nose and eyes, runny nose and sneezing. Chronic sinusitis also usually results in a blocked nose and may be associated with nasal polyps.

Less commonly, tumours and growths in the nose can be a cause of nasal obstruction.

How is this assessed?

Once we have discussed the symptoms, examination of the nose usually includes using a small endoscope to see the structure and the lining of the nose. A CT scan may be recommended, particularly if there is concern about sinusitis. Allergy tests are helpful in some people, and more rarely blood tests, biopsies or MRI scans.

How is it treated?

Treatment depends on the cause of the obstruction and can range from nasal sprays and / or washes, other medications or possibly surgery.

There are a range of different surgical procedures which are tailored to the specific problem and can include:

Your ENT surgeon will make a thorough assessment and advise on which options are appropriate for you.