person with clothespin on nose to illustrate that they can't breathe through nose
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Why Can't I Breathe Through My Nose?

Nasal congestion, stuffiness, or obstruction to nasal breathing is a very common problem. It affects people of all ages. Being unable to breathe through the nose can lead to mouth breathing, difficulty sleeping (which in turn can lead to daytime fatigue), and snoring. Symptoms range from being a nuisance to some to seriously detracting from the quality of life for others.

Nasal obstruction is often caused by structural problems of the nasal anatomy. Deviation of the nasal septum, enlarged turbinates, twisting or narrowing of the nose, and poor support of the tip of the nose are examples of such structural anomalies.

Upper respiratory infections, such as the cold and flu, are also common culprits of nasal congestion and obstruction. Allergic and vasomotor rhinitis are yet other conditions that frequently lead to nasal obstruction. Chronic sinusitis is a condition that affects millions of Americans and common source of nasal congestion and obstruction.

Frequently it takes the skill and diligence of a very determined otolaryngology expert to sort out which of these common causes is at the root of your nasal obstruction. Typically, medical management avenues are exhausted before surgery is prescribed.

Why Can't I Breathe Through My Nose at Night?

Mucosal obstruction: Nasal allergies, sinus infections, and the common cold can all cause the linings of your nose and sinus to swell and make breathing at night difficult. Your nose and sinuses also will react to irritation or infection by producing more mucus, which can cause sinus pain, pressure, and postnasal drip - all making for an uncomfortable night.

Anatomical obstruction and sleep apnea: Adults who are overweight may have trouble breathing at night because they have broad necks. Children may have trouble due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Some people may have an overly long soft palate or uvula that can contribute to snoring and sleep apnea. Deformities of the bony structure of the nose, such as a deviated nasal septum, and nasal polyps are other examples of ENT airway obstructions that can interfere with sleep.