Following up on my previous post where I talked about my deviated septum, this topic extends by finding an answer to the cause of my mouth breathing.
During my last meeting with my ear nose and throat doctor I asked if the main cause of my mouth breathing was my deviated septum, or the inflammation of my turbinates.
In my case, all day one nostril or the other is 80-100% inhibited, and this seems to swap back and forth every few hours.
Prior to him explaining how this inflammation response is mediated, I did not truly understand the impact Turbinate hypertrophy has on getting adequate circulation through the nasal passage.
I had been told all my life by doctors that my deviated septum was the main issue, and it would likely correct itself with invasive surgery.
After this meeting, I realized that this likely is not the case at all.
My Inflamed Turbinates
Turbinates in the nose are responsible for warming and moistening the air we breathe.
The turbinates can become enlarged, and they will grow in response to irritants or allergies.
According to him, irritants include things like smoke, weather changes, barometric pressure changes, etc.
And allergens include things like molds, grasses, etc.
But the big question is what really causes the blockage in my nose and why does it shift back and forth?
Is it really because of my deviated septum, or a case of my turbinates getting extremely inflamed?
The fact that one of my nostrils always has decent circulation while the other is almost completely blocked, coupled with the fact that this blockage swaps back and forth over the course of the day, every single day, leads me to believe that the root of my mouth breathing is mainly caused by inflamed turbinates in response to some unknown environmental allergen or irritant.
There is no logical reason why a deviated septum would cause swapping airway inhibition over the day as it is deviated to one side and remains there.
So, I had uncovered the root of my issue, but now comes the challenge of discovering what irritant or allergen is triggering my inflammatory response.
An elaborate allergy test would be justified, and probably an extensive assessment of my work/living environment as well to check for any kind of molds or potential triggers.
Turbinate Reduction Vs Deviated Septum Surgery
I had almost gone through with deviated septum surgery in the past, but now I'm glad I hadn't, as I truly believe turbinate inflammation is the major cause of my issue.
Surgical intervention for a deviated septum is very invasive, and doesn't seem overly necessary in my case based on what I now know.
While I am more interested in finding out what is triggering my inflammation in the first place and removing it so I can naturally alleviate my issue, I was still interested in hearing the potential surgical interventions designed to deal with this problem.
My ENT detailed how a turbinate reduction procedure would shrink my enlarged turbinates, and likely significantly alleviate my airway inhibition on my right side, but perhaps less significantly on my left side as that is the side my deviated septum is bent towards.
By reducing the inflammation in my turbinates, I believe I would be able to Mew much more comfortably, and perhaps even start to incorporate mouth tape into my sleeping routine.
I have extreme obstructive sleep apnea, so mouth tape is probably too dangerous for me to use right now until I address my turbinate inflammation.
However, knowing how to go about addressing turbinate inflammation (and being aware of its existence in the first place) now potentially opens up a whole new way for me to not only circumvent my circulation issues, but to allow me to maintain proper tongue posture 24/7, and maybe even get rid of my sleep apnea down the line.