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The turbinates are thin, bony plates inside your nose. Allergies or a lengthy cold can irritate them and cause them to swell, or enlarge. The swelling makes it hard for you to breathe. Another cause of the swelling is overuse of decongestant nasal sprays.
Sometimes it is not clear why turbinates swell. In most cases, the swelling does not cause pain. But it can feel like an object is blocking one side of your nose.
Your doctor may do tests to be sure about what is causing the problem. He or she may prescribe a steroid spray to reduce swelling. Your doctor may advise you to stop using over-the-counter nasal sprays.
If the turbinate swelling does not go down, you may need surgery to open your nasal passage.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
Current as of: May 4, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Charles M. Myer III MD - Otolaryngology
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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