Feeling Stuffed Up? Your Turbinates May Be to Blame

Christine Franzese, MD, FAAOA

Congested? Stuffed up? Can’t breathe through your nose?

When your nose feels stuffed up and congested, many times the feeling is because your turbinates are swollen or enlarged.

So what are turbinates? They’re generally thin bones that hang out on the insides of your nose that are covered with tissue and a layer of cells called mucosa that make mucus. When something causes inflammation in your nose, like allergies or a cold, blood vessels in soft tissue of the turbinates dilate, making the turbinates larger and causing them to block the airflow through your nose. It also causes them to produce a lot of mucus.

Allergies can cause this to happen and make it very difficult to breathe through your nose. People with sleep apnea can also have trouble with breathing through their nose, making it hard to wear their CPAP machine, a special device that helps some patients breath and sleep better overnight. For these patients, enlarged turbinates can also make snoring worse!

Inferior Turbinate

Medications to treat the cause of inflammation, like allergies, can help. If medications are unable to help, there are very simple, low risk outpatient surgeries that can be done to shrink your turbinates and help you breathe better all the time.

+ Learn more about sinus and allergy treatment in Hampton Roads.

If you’re interested in learning more about allergy and sinus treatment options from Dr. Franzese and her team of specialists please call her office directly at (757) 889-5632.

About Dr. Franzese
Christine Franzese, MD, FAAOA, is a board certified otolaryngologist. She completed a residency in Otolaryngology at University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. Dr. Franzese’s specialties include: allergies and allergy shots, sinus problems (acute and chronic), mild asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, thyroid masses or nodules, salivary gland disorders and nodules, and pediatric ENT issues (ear infections, tonsillitis). She has surgical expertise with removing tonsils and adenoids, thyroidectomies, parathyroidectomies, parotidectomies, and has extensive experience with sinus surgeries. She offers functional endoscopic sinus surgery, image-guided sinus surgery, and balloon sinuplasty procedures.

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