Allergy, Nose & Sinus

Blocked nose – Top 3 reasons for a stuffy nose!

February 10, 2020
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1.  SENSITIVE NOSE

 

 

 

What is it?

 

The medical term for sensitive nose is called Rhinitis  which refers to inflammation of the nasal cavity. It can be “Allergic” (i.e. inflammation due to exposure to a particular allergen)  or “Non-Allergic” (i.e unknown trigger and is often due to exposure to cigarette smoke, perfumes or change or weather).

 

 

What are the symptoms?

 

Common symptoms include:

 

  • Clear runny nose
  • Blocked nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose and eyes
  • Postnasal drip

 

 

How do you treat it?

 

Avoidance of trigger: Most common culprit is House Dust Mite. Ensure that you wash your bedsheets and pillowcases weekly with hot water (at least 60 degrees Celsius high) to get rid of the Dust Mites!

 

Medications: Nasal steroid sprays, antihistamines and decongestants

 

Surgery: To relieve blocked nose, the inferior turbinate (sausage-like bony structure at the side wall of the nose) can be reduced in size

 

 

2. DEVIATED NASAL SEPTUM

 

 

 

What is it?

 

The nasal septum is a bony-cartilaginous wall that separates the nasal cavity into right and left sides. Most people have a little crookedness or bent in their nasal septum (born with it) but it can also be deviated after injuries to the nose. A bent or crooked septum is known as a deviated nasal septum.

 

 

What are the symptoms?

 

Most people with mild deviated nasal septum do not have any symptoms. However, when the crookedness or bent is severe, it can cause:

 

  • Blocked nose from physical blockage of one side or both sides of the nasal cavity
  • Frequent sinus infections – if the deviated septum obstructs the drainage pathway of the sinuses
  • Nosebleed – If there are prominent vessels that form on or behind the deviated septum (which may form due to a change in airflow to the nose from the deviated nasal septum)

 

 

What is the treatment?

 

No treatment is required if you do not have any symptoms. However, if you are symptomatic, the only way to correct a deviated nasal septum is through surgery. The surgery is called Septoplasty and is performed through the nose. There is no cut or wound on the external nose or face.

 

 

3. SINUSITIS WITH OR WITHOUT POLYPS

 

 

 

What is it?

 

Sinuses are air-filled hollow cavities or spaces surrounding your nasal cavity. We all have sinuses. They are part of our normal anatomy in our face. They produce mucous which drains into the nasal cavity. When the sinuses are blocked, the trapped mucous gets infected and there will be inflammation of the lining of the sinuses. This condition is called sinusitis. In some people, when the sinuses are inflamed for a long time (chronic), polyps (benign inflammatory outgrowths from the lining of the nose) can form.

 

 

What are the symptoms?

 

  • Coloured nose mucous (yellow, brown or green)
  • Blocked nose
  • Feeling of mucous stuck in the nose or face (congestion)
  • Pain in the face
  • Postnasal drip
  • Reduced sense of smell

 

 

What is the treatment?

 

Medications: In an acute infection, oral antibiotics, nasal wash (saline wash or douche) and nasal steroid sprays are usually required. If there are polyps present, a course of oral steroids may be given.

 

Surgery: Sinus surgery may be necessary if the sinus infection fails to respond to medical treatment, is frequent (e.g. more than 4 times a year) or is of a particular subtype (e.g. fungal sinusitis or allergic fungal sinusitis)

 

 

RARER BUT SIGNIFICANT CAUSES OF BLOCKED NOSE

 

 

1. OVERUSE OF NASAL DECONGESTANT

 

 

Many people are unaware that nasal decongestants, e.g. Afrin, Iliadin, Nazolin are not meant to be used for longer than 1 week. Chronic users of these decongestant will become refractory to it. Decongestant abuse can cause rebound swelling and inflammation in the nasal cavity (a condition is called Rhinitis Medicantosa). Treatment includes immediate cessation of the nasal decongestant and the use of nasal steroid sprays and saline sprays/nasal wash.

 

 

2. TUMOURS IN THE NOSE

 

 

 

Fortunately, this is a rarer cause of blocked nose. Majority of tumours in the nose are benign (non-cancerous). If your ENT Specialist suspects a tumour in the nose, a biopsy (sample of the tumour) may be performed in the clinic to rule out cancer.

 

 

Best wishes,

 

Dr Gan Eng Cern
ENT Specialist Singapore

When Should You See An ENT Specialist In Singapore?

  • Any Ear, Nose or Throat symptoms that you are troubled with or concerned of
  • Persistent blocked nose with mouth breathing or snoring

Dr Gan Eng Cern

Dr Gan Eng Cern is a fellowship trained Consultant Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) Surgeon. He completed his ENT training in Singapore and obtained his subspecialty training in Rhinology and Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery at the world renowned St Paul’s Sinus Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. He was also a Senior Clinical Lecturer at Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore. Dr Gan was an avid researcher with numerous publications in reputable international ENT journals. He was also an invited speaker and surgical dissection teacher in many ENT conferences and courses.

Awards

  • 2020 – Reader’s Choice Gold Award for Best ENT Specialist
    (Expat Living Singapore)
  • 2016 – Best Educator Award (Eastern Health Alliance)
  • 2016 – “Wow” Award (Patient Compliment)
  • 2014 – Eastern Health Alliance Caring Award – Silver
  • 2014 – 19th Yahya Cohen Memorial Lectureship (awarded by the College
    of Surgeons, Academy of Medicine Singapore for best scientific surgical
    paper)
  • 2012 – Human Manpower Development Award (Ministry of Health,
    Singapore)
  • 2007 – Singhealth Best Doctor Award

Qualifications

  • MBBS - Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
  • MRCS (Edin) - Member of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • MMed (ORL) - Master of Medicine in ENT (National University of Singapore)
  • FAMS - Fellow of the Academy of Medicine Singapore

Why Choose Dr Gan Eng Cern

1

Reliable & Reputable ENT Expert

Experienced and patient ENT Specialist who has your best interests at heart. We aim to provide you with accessible and specialized care for any ENT condition in a comfortable setting.

2

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Our friendly staff will assist you to the best of our ability and we are happy to accept most insurance providers and assist with E-filing with relevant insurance providers or Medisave.

3

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Our ENT Specialist, Dr Gan Eng Cern, will be able to diagnose and offer personalised treatments for your specific ENT condition. You can expect a high level of ENT care in a spacious setting with in-house minor surgical, endoscopy, allergy testing and microscopy services.

4

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There are various financial options available for you to ensure that you are able to receive the most optimal treatment and care. Our ENT clinic staff will be able to assist you with your medical insurance claims and work with your chosen healthcare organization to minimize the hassle and paperwork required. In some cases, you may be able to utilise the funds in your Medisave account to defray part of the costs of your treatment. As our clinic is accredited by the Medisave board, we are able to process your claims from your Medisave for certain clinic procedures.

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