Nasal Obstruction or Blockage of the nose can occur at any age. They are due to many reasons. When the there is obstruction of the upper airway, snoring or noisy breathing takes place.

Long term mouth breathing and snoring has been linked to poor sleep quality. If severe, the child may have obstructive sleep apnoea. The child stops breathing or holds his breath many times through the night. The child wakes up lethargic, unable to focus on his activities or school. Their academic performance is often affected. Mouth breathing can lead to upper mouth teeth crowding requiring dental correction later.

Newborn are obligate nose breathers that is if there is any blockage of the nose, they will have significant problems with breathing. The causes of nasal obstruction (blocked nose) at this age are choanal atresia (where there nose passage is not patent) and enlargement of the normal structures in the nose such as the turbinates. Excessive mucus production can also contribute to block nose.

In the older children, blocked nose can be due to narrowing of the nasal passages by

  • Turbinate enlargement: this can be caused by allergy, sinus infection (sinusitis) or a flu. If the obstruction is persistent despite medication, turbinate reduction using coblation or radio frequency is a simple procedure that can effectively enlarge the nasal passage.
  • Deviation of the nasal septum: the nasal septum is the internal centre divide of the nose. Trauma from childbirth or a knock on the nose can cause it to buckle to one side and narrow the nasal passage causing a blocked nose (nasal obstruction).
  • Adenoids Hypertrophy: the adenoids can grow to a large size and blocked the back end of the nasal passage. The child is often mouth breathing, a nosily breather or snores during sleep. Removal of the adenoids is often the only way to cure the obstruction if there are no other reversal factors.
  • Tonsil enlargement: This often goes hand in hand with adenoid enlargement. The tonsils besides causing breathing problem, can also cause the child to be a slow eater or poor eater. Snoring can be prominent. If the tonsilar enlargement is persistent, then removal of the tonsil will eliminate the problem.

Treatment of nasal obstruction in children requires accurate diagnosis. The ENT doctor  will be able to co-ordinate treatment of the allergies, upper airway infections such as sinusitis as well as deal with structural obstruction to the air passages.

Contact our clinic for an assessment if your child has

  • Frequent Blocked Nose
  • Runny Nose
  • Frequent Colds
  • Mouth Breathing
  • Snoring or Noisy Breathing
  • Frequent Sore Throat
  • Frequent or persistent Cough