Do you suffer from nasal valve collapse?
This condition has been around since ancient times, but only recently has research begun to shed light on how to treat it. In this post, I’ll explain exactly what this condition is, why it happens, and how to prevent it. Then I’ll go over the treatments available and how they work.
Nasal Trauma | Definition and Patient Education
First, let’s start by understanding what nasal valve collapse actually is. The term “nasal valve” refers to the area in your nose where the two nostrils meet. When the nasal valve collapses, the space between the nostrils gets smaller, which causes stuffy airways.
The most common symptom is congestion. You may feel like you can’t breathe through your nose because there’s too much mucus or other debris blocking your airway. Other symptoms include:
- Difficulty sleeping due to snoring
- Frequent colds
- Runny nose
- Sinus pressure
Types of Nasal Trauma
The following sections describe three common types of nasal valve collapse:
1) Inferior turbinate hypertrophy (ITH). ITH occurs when one or both inferior turbinates become enlarged. As these tissues grow larger, they push against the septum, causing it to narrow.
2) Septal deviation. Septal deviation happens when the septum deviates toward the side where the nostril is located.
3) Turbinates and septum are not symmetrical. A person who has this typically has asymmetric turbinates and/or septa.
When discussing this condition, it’s important to note that symptoms vary widely among individuals. The following list describes some of the most common signs and symptoms associated with it.
- Difficulty breathing while sleeping. If you snore loudly, you could have one. Snoring can be caused by many factors, including nasal congestion, sinus infections, allergies, obesity, and mouth problems.
- Frequent colds or sore throats. People with this condition tend to experience frequent colds and sore throats because their noses don’t drain properly.
- Nosebleeds. Because this condition prevents proper drainage, nosebleeds can occur.
- Runny nose. You may notice a runny nose if you have this condition
What Causes Nasal Valve Collapse?
There are several reasons why your nasal valve could be collapsing. Some people have genetic predispositions toward having their nasal valves collapse. Others develop one as a result of sinus infections. Still, others experience it when they’re exposed to certain allergens.
How Can Your Doctor Diagnose Nasal Valve Collapse?
Your doctor might diagnose NVC based on your symptoms and Physical Exam. They’ll check for signs of nasal obstruction such as:
- A runny nose
If your doctor suspects that you have o\ne they’ll perform an endoscopy to look inside your nose. During the procedure, they’ll insert a tiny camera into one nostril and use a small instrument called a speculum to open up the other nostril. With both nostrils opened, they’ll then examine the inner walls of each nostril.
If your doctor finds any blockages or deformities, he or she will likely recommend surgery to correct them. However, if your condition isn’t severe enough to warrant surgery, your doctor may prescribe medication instead.
Treatments For Nasal Valve Collapse.
Now that we understand what this condition is and how it affects patients, let’s take a closer look at some of the different treatments available.
One of the first things doctors usually suggest for treating nasal valve collapse is antihistamines. These medications reduce swelling and inflammation in the nasal passages. Antihistamines also work by relaxing muscles in the throat and nose so that mucus doesn’t build up.
Another option is decongestants. Decongestants contain chemicals that constrict blood vessels. This causes the veins in your nose to swell, which reduces the amount of mucus in your nose.
Steroid sprays are another type of treatment used to treat this These sprays contain steroids that decrease inflammation in the nasal passages and improve breathing.
In rare cases, nasal valve collapse requires surgical intervention. Doctors often perform this operation during a simple office visit. When performing this procedure, your doctor inserts a tube down your nose and removes excess tissue from around your nasal valve.
In addition to removing excess tissue, your doctor may also place implants in your nose to support the collapsed area and facilitate the improvement in nasal airway.
There are several other types of treatments that may be recommended depending on the severity of your condition. One example is a special pillow that supports your head when you lie down. Another is a humidifier that warms the air flowing through your nose.
The most effective treatment for it depends on the underlying cause of your problem. Your doctor should always be able to determine the source of your nasal valve collapse.
Preventing Nasal Valve Collapse
Unfortunately, there aren’t many ways to prevent it. The best way to avoid getting it is to keep your nose clean. Washing your hands regularly helps remove bacteria that can cause infection. Avoid touching your face with dirty hands. Also, don’t blow your nose until you wash your hands.
Another thing you can do is try to avoid allergies. If you know that you’re allergic to something, make sure to wear a mask while you’re outside. And if you’re sensitive to pollen, consider using an allergy pill.
Finally, if you think you might have nasal valve collapse, talk to your doctor about taking medicine before going to bed. This will help you get more restful sleep.