Nasal obstruction refers to the condition where the nasal passages are obstructed or when there is a difficulty in breathing through the nose. The cause of this may be due to a runny nose or other factors. It can be quite common in children which often leads to missed school days. If you are a parent in Singapore, The ENT Clinic is a great place to consult with its friendly and experienced ENT doctors who will help to understand the root cause behind the nasal obstruction.
How does nasal obstruction occur?
When a child’s nasal cavity is partially or completely blocked, it is referred to as nasal obstruction. The nasal cavity starts from the nostrils and goes all the way to the back of the throat. This blockage can occur in one or both passages of the nose.
Sometimes, a nasal obstruction may become apparent soon after birth if the infant struggles with breathing or produces noisy breathing sounds. Crying can temporarily improve breathing, as it helps air move more freely in and out. Nasal obstructions can particularly cause feeding difficulties in infants.
As children grow older, symptoms of a nasal obstruction may include a runny nose, snoring, mouth breathing, or raspy and noisy breathing. These symptoms can impact the child’s quality of life, such as affecting their sleep or causing discomfort during daily activities. It is important for parents or caregivers to seek medical attention if they notice any of these symptoms in a child. A doctor can help identify the cause of the nasal obstruction and recommend appropriate treatment options. Specialists in ear, nose, and throat (ENT) have specific expertise in treating conditions related to these areas, including those affecting children. If your child’s condition is not improving with treatment from their primary physician, it is recommended to directly contact an ENT specialist. Seeking help sooner from an ENT specialist can improve the chances of a successful treatment outcome for your child’s condition.
What are the causes of nasal obstruction?
There are numerous factors that can lead to nasal obstruction in children. While some children may be born with blockages, others may develop them as they grow older. If you observe your child breathing loudly or noisily, it is important to take note of when it started and if there were any triggering factors that led to it. This information can be useful in identifying the cause of the obstruction. By keeping track of these details, an otolaryngologist can better understand the underlying issue and determine the most appropriate course of treatment for your child. One important reason to rectify nasal obstruction is because it can cause facial changes in children and dental arches.
Insertion of Foreign Objects:
One common cause is the insertion of small objects such as peanuts or beads into the nose during playtime. This can be identified by the presence of unpleasant-smelling nasal discharge, and removal of the foreign object is usually performed in the specialist’s office. In cases where the object has been present for a long period, it may need to be removed under general anesthesia.
This is another cause of nasal obstruction, which occurs when the back opening of the nasal cavity is blocked by bone or tissue. This condition may affect one or both nostrils, and in cases where both nostrils are affected, it is typically diagnosed soon after birth and requires immediate surgical repair. If only one nostril is affected, the diagnosis may be made later in life. Symptoms of choanal atresia include nasal discharge, stuffiness on one side, and sinusitis on one side. In some cases, flexible scopes may be used to repair the condition in children with one-sided atresia.
Nasal septal hematoma:
This is the accumulation of blood that can lead to nasal obstruction, typically following a nose injury. This condition requires prompt treatment to prevent loss of support for the nose.
This is another cause of nasal obstruction, which occurs when the cartilage that separates the two nasal passages is crooked due to birth defects or injury. If the tissue is severely twisted, it can block one of the nasal passages. Septoplasty, a surgical procedure, is commonly used to correct this problem.
This is a swelling or inflammation in the lining of the nasal passages, which can also cause nasal obstruction. This condition can be caused by infection, irritants, or allergies. Infants experiencing distress may require careful evaluation to determine if rhinitis is the underlying cause.
These are growths that develop from the lining of the sinuses and can obstruct the nasal passages. These polyps are often diagnosed through the use of X-rays, as they are typically caused by long-term infections or irritation.
One possible cause of nasal obstruction in children are tumors in the nose. A type of tumor called nasopharyngeal angiofibroma, or juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma, is a benign tumor that spreads locally and is made up of blood vessels. Nasopharyngeal angiofibroma typically develops in the back of the nasal cavity and is most frequently diagnosed in teenage males. Its symptoms include persistent bleeding and obstruction on one side of the nose. Nasopharyngeal cancer, a rare condition, occurs when malignant cells appear in the lining of the throat and nasal cavity. This disease is more prevalent among teenagers than children under 10 years of age.
How is nasal obstruction diagnosed?
When you take your child to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist, they will conduct an examination and inquire about the age when your child’s symptoms started. The specialist will use an endoscope to examine the nose, and imaging tests may be required to get a more detailed view of the sinuses. These examinations typically last between 10 to 20 minutes. Nasal obstruction is diagnosed and treated at an ENT clinic.