Narrowed Sinus Passage - Causes and Treatment

Question: One day I had stuffed nose, cold it went away in couple days normal treatment. It was 18 months ago and since then my left nose hole when I look inside the walls are much more narrowed than the right one, I can breathe through the left nose hole 80 % less then before and has less smell senses. When I cover the right one, I can hardly breathe through the narrowed sinus passage of the left one alone. I visited general doctor and told him I am not sick (I mean no cold, mucus, headache) only dry left hole of my nose, he didn’t even look inside and gave me Nasonex, didn’t help.


First of all, thanks for your question.  Please realize that I can only offer general answers, which cannot replace your physician.  Specific answers would require a full history and examination.

It is not uncommon for an upper respiratory tract infection to set off prolonged congestion.  Quite frequently, unilateral congestion will be caused by an underlying narrowing of the passageway- such as from a “deviated nasal septum”  that was not blocking enough to cause symptoms.   Once one gets a little more swelling from a cold, you can get into a cycle of irritation and swelling, causing nasal obstruction (narrowed sinus passage), causing more irritation and swelling, etc.

Other times a cold can set off a low grade persistent sinus infection, which may present as one sided obstruction.   Additionally, nasal polyps are swellings that can develop after a cold.  Lastly, one can have other growths in the nose creating a narrowed sinus passage.

Antihistamines will work only for allergies and are not the recommended treatment for most of these problems.   It really takes a good nasal evaluation, done in the office with a lighted telescope (or endoscope) to accurately determine what is causing your problems, and therefore how best to treat.

I hope this helps, but your problem should be able to be taken care of.

Robert Pincus MD

New York Sinus Center