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Understanding The Deviated Septum And How It Contributes To Nasal Obstruction

A deviated septum is a well known factor causing nasal obstruction in people. However, many patients with a deviated septum will also state that there are times when they can breathe just fine from their nose. As such, can a deviated septum truly be the cause of their nasal obstructive symptoms? Shouldn’t the obstruction be constant?

The blunt answer is ABSOLUTELY nasal obstruction can be intermittent OR constant with a deviated septum!!! It’s more a question of degree.

To begin with, a deviated septum is when the wall that separates the right and left nasal cavities is bent one way (green arrow in left illustration) instead of being perfectly straight (right illustration).

If there is no mucosal swelling, a person with a deviated septum is able to breathe from both sides just fine. However, if there is the slightest bit of mucosal swelling from turbinate hypertrophy, allergies, upper respiratory infection, or any other environmental irritation, the side that is more narrow will obstruct much more readily with less swelling given there is just “less room” for swelling to occur before obstruction occurs.

Below is the same exact nose and septum as above, but with mucosal swelling present. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Fauquier ENT Blog*

Research Shows That Nasal Congestion Is Affected By Temperature And Humidity

Researchers at Monell Chemical Senses Center have figured out that nasal congestion is influenced by more than just nasal airflow. Apparently temperature and humidity influence the perception of nasal congestion just as much as how physically obstructed the nose is.

By having volunteers breath air with variations in temperature and humidity, they have determined that cool and dry air minimizes nasal congestion without any change in how open the nasal cavity is.

By taking into account other measured variables, they have deduced that nasal congestion is influenced by Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Fauquier ENT Blog*

Kids, Upper Respiratory Viruses, And Ear Infections

According to a new study published this month, more than 20 percent of young children with colds or other upper respiratory viruses will develop middle ear infections.

This finding isn’t that surprising. Eear symptoms along with a viral upper respiratory infection (URI) are common, including ear fullness and difficulty popping the ear. Although adults tend to be able to keep their ears clear by swallowing, chewing gum, yawning, or ear popping, most kids don’t know what to do when their ears feel full.

Whether in adults or kids, when the ears don’t ventilate or clear properly it can lead to ear problems including fluid buildup and middel ear infection. Why does this occur?

With a viral URI the lining of the nose swells, leading to symptoms of runny nose, nasal congestion, and sometimes nasal obstruction. This swelling doesn’t just occur in the nose, but also in the eustachian tube, which connects the back of the nose to the middle ear. When the ear “pops,” the eustachian tube opens to allow pressure and fluid to drain from the ear into the back of the nose. This is why yawning, swallowing, or noseblowing can cause an ear to pop normally.

When the lining in the eustachian tube swells up, the tube becomes blocked and prevents the ear from popping, leading to symptoms of ear pressure and fullness, fluid buildup, clogging, and often ear infections.

Read more about eustachian tube dysfunction here.


Clinical Spectrum of Acute Otitis Media Complicating Upper Respiratory Tract Viral Infection.” Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. February 2011, volume 30, issue 2, pp 95-99.

*This blog post was originally published at Fauquier ENT Blog*

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