Trouble Breathing Through Your Nose? Check Out These 9 Strategies

They say you never appreciate what you have until it’s gone, which may be true for some people who struggle with breathing through their noses. When you have trouble breathing through your nose, it can be temporary, seasonal, or even long-term. The one thing that we know for sure is that it can be a major bother in our daily lives.

If you’ve been having trouble breathing through your nose, there are some strategies you can try to finally get the relief you are looking for.

What Could Be Causing Your Nose Breathing Issues

cause of nose breathing issues

There is no simple answer to what causes nose breathing issues because each case varies and depends on the person. Some cases may come from severe or long-term causes that will require more serious methods for relief. However, some cases are common and easy to work through in a short period of time.

That being said, we want to talk about three of the main causes that are known to lead to nose breathing trouble – nasal obstruction, chronic sinusitis, and allergies.

Nasal Obstruction

Nasal obstruction is a term used for something that is preventing or restricting the flow of air throughout your nasal passages. Research shows that more than 20 million Americans are estimated to suffer from nasal obstruction. While it can be common, nasal obstruction may also cause severe health problems, especially for your sinuses. 

On average, about 70% of airflow that enters the lungs comes by way of nasal breathing. That said, nasal obstruction can have a significant impact on a patient’s overall breathing and lead to certain health risks. Nasal obstruction can be caused by multiple factors and this limited airflow can result in different symptoms that vary by case.

Symptoms of nasal obstruction are often easy to notice and can cause a burden on your everyday life. Some of the most common symptoms are a need to rely on mouth breathing for oxygen, nasal congestion, difficulty sleeping, decreased exercise performance, and a nasally-sounding voice. Other symptoms may lead to a lack of focus or daily discomfort. 

Depending on the cause of the nasal obstruction, some symptoms can be resolved easily, while others may require long-term care and serious treatment. So, what causes nasal obstruction? 

The typical cause of nasal obstruction is a swelling of the nasal tissue that leads to the nasal airways getting smaller, making it more difficult to breathe. There are also more serious factors that could be creating a nasal blockage, including enlarged adenoids, nasal tumors, polyps, nasal valve collapse, a deviated septum, and more.

These kinds of serious causes can have a negative effect on one’s quality of life and lead to long-term health damage if not treated properly by a professional. For example, you may see some people who get surgery on their nose (often referred to as “nose jobs”) for non-cosmetic reasons, such as help fixing a deviated septum. 

Chronic Sinusitis

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 29 million Americans will experience sinusitis, although in different forms & severity. Chronic sinusitis (also known as a sinus infection) occurs when the tissues within your sinuses are inflamed, causing blockages, mucus buildup, and swelling. The difference between chronic sinusitis and other forms is that chronic cases will often last longer than 12 weeks. 

Less severe forms of sinusitis can arise from congestion of the common cold or other short-term illness, and will typically go away much faster than chronic cases.

Some symptoms of chronic sinusitis are postnasal drip, sinus pressure, trouble tasting/smelling, hard or colored mucus, soreness, and nausea. These symptoms will last longer than 12 weeks in chronic cases and can be caused by different environmental & health factors. Some people will experience this due to severe allergies, nasal polyps, deviated septums, or certain respiratory infections.

There are also some underlying health conditions that may result in chronic sinusitis, including asthma, HIV, cystic fibrosis, and more. Patients may also have an increased risk due to poor nutrition, alcohol use, drug use, smoking, and other physical factors. Plenty of sinusitis cases can be treated at home with natural remedies, but more severe/chronic cases may require surgery.


You may find yourself having trouble breathing and start to panic, but before you do– ask yourself if it could just be allergies. Some environments may contain more allergens (carpets that collect dust, old buildings, etc.) and allergy season can also have a profound effect on your ability to breathe. 

Not all, but some allergens will make it more difficult for you to breathe properly– why is that? For most common allergies, your body will respond by producing more mucus in your airways, which can leave you feeling congested and clogged up. When allergens are really kicking in, you might even feel like you have a common cold. Allergies will often block your nasal airways, making it harder to breathe through your nose until you find relief. 

While it is common, it’s important to be mindful of your symptoms to make sure your allergy symptoms are not a sign of something serious. However, most allergies will develop quickly and respond fast to over-the-counter treatments or other natural remedies.

Nasal obstructions, chronic sinusitis, and allergies are all common causes of troubled nasal breathing. Luckily, there are different treatment options for all of these conditions that can be helpful.

Treatment Options To Unblock Your Nose

treatment options to unblock nose

For Nasal Obstruction

Nasal obstruction is a very common cause of trouble with nose breathing, so there are plenty of remedies and treatments for you to try.

#1 Use A Humidifier:
This is a helpful method for people who need to relieve nasal blockages from the common cold. Humidifiers help to moisten the air which promotes an opening in the nasal passages. Another way to use moisture in the air for nasal relief is with a hot shower. Take a  shower and be sure to inhale the steam to open your nasal airways– it’s easy and can work efficiently.

#2 Hydrate:
Try to drink as much water as possible throughout the day, or even try drinking tea. This can help the flow of mucus to relieve buildup. The more you hydrate, the easier it will be to flush out your congestion.

#3 Saline Solutions:
Whether you want to use a neti-pot or a saline nasal spray, this technique can help open the passageway in your nose. 

For Chronic Sinusitis

These treatments may range in severity because chronic sinusitis will require serious medical attention in certain cases. 

#1 Antibiotics:
If your case is a result of a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics as treatment. However, this isn’t recommended if you are going to self-diagnose your case– go to a doctor for proper treatment.

#2 Oral Corticosteroids:
This is a treatment that should be provided by a medical professional, in order to treat severe and long-term symptoms of chronic sinusitis. Alternatively, you can also try an over-the-counter decongestant.

#3 Surgery:
In extreme cases, especially patients with deviated symptoms– nasal surgery may be the most effective option. It depends on your case, but surgery can help to eliminate the blockage in your nasal airways long-term.

For Allergies

If allergy season is taking a toll on your sinuses, these treatments may help.

#1 Reduce Allergens:
Try to rid your home and environment of allergens by cleaning regularly, washing your sheets, and avoiding areas that have multiple allergy triggers for you.

#2 Nasal Inhalers:
You may find effective and immediate relief from the use of nasal inhalers. Inhale the soothing vapors on both sides of your nose and open up your airways so you can breathe better. These blends are made to stimulate your body with a refreshing feeling that will open your nasal blockages for fast allergy relief.

#3 Immunotherapy:
If you have severe allergies that respond to other treatments, a doctor may suggest getting an allergy shot to reduce your reaction to allergens.

We hope you found this information helpful to learn more about the causes of nasal breathing trouble and possible treatments that can work for you.

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