My Nose Whistles, Should I Be Concerned?
Published Nov 16, 2020
Whenever any part of our body produces weird noises, it can be disconcerting. These sounds typically tell us that there’s something that needs fixing. One of those sounds is a whistle coming from the nose, and while it may come off as entertaining at first, it’s usually a symptom of an underlying cause or condition. But what causes that whistling in my nose, and how do I get rid of it? Read on to find out more.
Why does my nose whistle?
The Cambridge Dictionary defines a whistle as “to make a high sound by forcing air through a small hole or passage, especially through the lips.” But what does that mean for my nose?
Well, when our noses are healthy, air freely passes in and out of our nasal passages. This results in comfortable, and barely even noticeable, breathing. But human as we are, it’s inevitable for infections to strike us. When infections hit our nose and sinuses, the nasal mucosa (the normally thin and moist lining in our sinuses) becomes inflamed, causing an unnecessary mucus buildup to occur.
This congestion in your nasal passages could be one possible cause for the whistling noise. The whistle may result from the obstruction in airflow, where airflow is restricted to small holes and gaps in the congested mucus.
Problems with the septum
The septum is the cartilage in the nose that separates the nostrils from one another. In a healthy and typical nose, it sits firmly at the center, dividing both sides evenly. But being cartilage, the septum is vulnerable to getting damaged, which can lead to health issues and negatively impact your quality of life.
One possible complication is a deviated septum. A deviated septum is when the septum is glaringly uneven, rendering one nostril larger than the other. This can result in difficulty breathing and is another possible cause for your nose to whistle. However, not all deviated septums are the same. Some may be congenital, meaning people were born with it, which may not significantly affect their lives.
Some deviated septums result from injury to the nose. Ranging anywhere from a car accident to a contact sports injury to getting punched in the nose may cause this condition.
However, another equally likely possibility for the whistling sound is a perforated septum. This injury is when a hole develops in your septum. It has a wide array of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. In many cases, these symptoms vary according to the size of the hole. When air travels from one nostril to the other through this hole, that could cause the whistling that you hear.
To solve the whistling from your nose, you will need to tackle the underlying cause behind them. Treatment for nasal congestion will be different from problems to your septum.
Nasal congestion is typically caused by minor illnesses, such as the flu, common cold, and sinus infections. Here are some home remedies and over-the-counter medications you might want to try to alleviate it:
- use a humidifier
- take a hot shower
- keep hydrated
- nasal irrigation
- warm compress (on sinuses)
- nasal steroid spray
- nasal strips
Both deviated and perforated septums still utilize the same treatments, as listed above, in addressing the various symptoms that come with these conditions. However, when these treatments fail to make any significant improvement to your situation, surgery is likely in order. For deviated septums, this surgery is called septoplasty. Doctors do a whole number of operations, including inserting a splint into your nose so that your septum becomes straight again.
For a perforated septum, one nonsurgical treatment method is plugging the hole with a prosthetic button. Your doctor may fill that hole in by using local anesthesia. However, if doctors deem it fit, you may need more aggressive treatment to plug up the hole. You will have to undergo surgery in some cases, where a doctor may use cartilage from other parts of your body to patch up that hole.
When to see a doctor
Often, these conditions won’t significantly affect your quality of life. They could cause slight discomfort but are otherwise bearable and manageable. But once they start affecting your general wellbeing and breathing, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor.
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