Nasal Obstruction in Children - Is it a concern?

Nasal Obstruction in Children

Nasal obstruction in babies and children can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from a bad cold to a developmental abnormality. The severity of the problem is determined by the cause and the extent to which the blockage impairs the child’s ability to breathe. As newborns breathe primarily through their nose (unless they cry), they may develop a blockage of their nasal passage. Nasal obstruction can have many underlying causes that may necessitate immediate intervention.

Let’s understand what and how nasal obstruction affects a child’s overall health.

What is a nasal obstruction in children?

A blockage in your child’s nasal cavity is referred to as nasal obstruction. This cavity extends from their nostrils to the back of their throat. It could be partially or completely blocked in one or both passages.

If the infant has difficulty breathing or has noisy breathing, an obstruction may become apparent immediately after birth. When infants cry, their breathing improves because air flows freely in and out. Breathing problems are especially problematic during feeding times. Runny noses, snoring, mouth breathing, or raspy, noisy breathing are all symptoms of nasal obstruction in older children.

nasal obstruction in kids

What are the possible causes of nasal obstruction?

There are numerous causes of nasal obstruction. These are some examples:
  • Swelling of the nasal lining
  • A birth deformity causes nasal cavity narrowing (the space behind the nose in the middle of the face).
  • A cyst in one of the tear ducts
  • Septum deviation (when the bone or cartilage in the middle of the nose is crooked and makes breathing hard)
  • Incomplete nasal cavity development
  • Adenoids that have grown in size (the tissue at the back of the nasal passage)
  • Polyps in the nose (small growths in the nasal passage that can sometimes cause breathing problems)
  • Vascular malformation (when veins do not form properly)
  • Tumors

What are the symptoms of nasal obstruction?

When a foreign body obstructs the nasal passages, it is the most visible symptom of nasal obstruction. 

Symptoms of an obstruction that cannot be seen include:

  • Heightened difficulty using the nose to breathe
  • Noisy breathing due to snoring
  • A hampered sense of smell
  • A “nasal” tone of voice
  • Drainage

Why is nasal obstruction a concern?

Nasal obstruction caused by mucus or a runny nose is frequently self-limiting and resolves on its own. However, when it persists, nasal obstruction can be a symptom of other causes, such as those listed above, and must be treated.

How is a nasal obstruction diagnosed?

Our ENT specialist will examine your child and ask you when his symptoms started. He will then use an endoscope to examine the nose. Imaging tests may also be required to get a better view of the sinuses. These exams typically last 10 to 20 minutes and are painless for your child.

What are the options for nasal obstruction treatment?

The underlying cause of nasal obstruction in children will determine how it is treated.

Non-surgical treatment is recommended when the obstruction is caused by excess fluid buildup, swelling, and congestion. To clear the sinus cavity, use intranasal antihistamines or intranasal corticosteroid sprays, oral antihistamines, and nasal wash.

When non-surgical treatment is ineffective, surgery to remove the obstruction is advised. Surgical procedures may include:

  • Using specialized tools and equipment to remove a foreign object.
  • To alleviate allergy symptoms and improve airflow, consider cauterizing or removing turbinates.
  • Surgically realigning a deviated septum (if any).
  • Endoscopic sinus surgery involves the use of small instruments to remove a blockage.
  • Surgical removal of enlarged or infected adenoids.
  • Surgical removal of a cyst that is obstructing the nasal passage.

Don't let your child's nasal obstruction linger on

As parents, it’s important to find the best possible solution when it comes to addressing your child’s health concerns. Dr. Peter Baptista provides excellent options for treating nasal obstructions in children safely and effectively. His endoscopic diagnosis is highly accurate that helps in determining the necessary treatment for each and every patient. His methods have been proven to be successful in improving the quality of life for many children with chronic or acute nasal obstructions.

By utilizing his expertise in pediatric ear, nose, and throat disorders, Dr. Baptista helps families find relief from nasal obstructions so that they can have peace of mind knowing their children are receiving quality medical care.

Book a consultation for your child today.


Dr. Peter Baptista

 Dr Peter Baptista Jardin

European Board Certified ENT Doctor In Dubai

Dr. Peter Baptista Jardin is an ENT specialist with a special interest in treating sleep apnea. He is a revered expert in Spain for performing the first ever robotic transoral surgery in 2011, and the only series of hypoglossal nerve stimulation proved revolutionary for obstructive sleep apnea treatment worldwide. He currently serves as an ENT doctor in Dubai’s Al Zahra Hospital.