The Surprising Link Between Nasal Obstruction and Anxiety: What You Need to Know

Are you one of the millions of people who suffer from nasal obstruction? Whether it’s due to allergies, sinusitis, or a deviated septum, nasal obstruction can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition to deal with. But did you know that there may be a surprising link between nasal obstruction and anxiety? In this post, we’ll explore the connection between these two conditions and what you can do to find relief.

The Link between Anxiety and nasal obstruction:

Nasal obstruction is a very common condition that can be attributed to a variety of factors, including allergies, sinus infections, and structural abnormalities such as a deviated septum. When the nasal passages are obstructed, it can make it difficult to breathe, which can lead to a range of symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and poor sleep quality.

But what does nasal obstruction have to do with anxiety? Some research suggests a link between these two conditions. For example, a study published in the International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology found that patients with chronic rhinosinusitis and nasal obstruction were more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression.

So why might nasal obstruction be linked to anxiety? One possibility is that the difficulty breathing associated with nasal obstruction can trigger a fight or flight response in the body, leading to increased feelings of anxiety and stress. Additionally, the chronic nature of nasal obstruction can be frustrating and can impact the quality of life, which may contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression. Further, nasal obstruction can significantly impact sleep quality which has a tremendous impact on mood and mental health. Poor sleep quality interferes with the brain’s ability to recover and cope with the mental fatigue that accumulates throughout the day and thus contributes to anxiety.

Fortunately, there are a variety of treatments available for nasal obstruction that can help alleviate symptoms and improve the overall quality of life. Depending on the underlying cause of your nasal obstruction, your doctor may recommend medications such as antihistamines, nasal corticosteroids, or decongestants. When these medical interventions don’t work, we at Del Rey MD can offer a minimally invasive office procedure such as septoplasty, turbinate reduction, balloon sinus dilation, or all of the above to correct structural abnormalities. And it can all be done in less than an hour with minimal recovery!


While studies suggest that treating sinus issues can help alleviate anxiety symptoms, we have had a multitude of patients report a significant improvement in their anxiety once a nasal obstruction issue has been fixed.  If you’re experiencing symptoms of either condition, feel free to reach out and see if you are a candidate for intervention.

We hope this post has helped explain the connection between nasal obstruction and anxiety.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out!


Here are a few references to research that explores this connection:

  1. Hong SC, Min YG, Kim SW, Lee CH, Rhee CS. Improvement in anxiety and depression after endoscopic sinus surgery in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2017 May;7(5):494-498. doi: 10.1002/alr.21917. Epub 2017 Feb 2. PMID: 28152102.
  2. Terzioğlu G, Karataş E, Karadağ Ö, Şahin M, Uğur MB. Improvement of anxiety and depression scores following septoplasty and turbinate surgery in patients with chronic nasal obstruction. Braz J Otorhinolaryngol. 2020 Jan-Feb;86(1):36-43. doi: 10.1016/j.bjorl.2018.12.002. Epub 2019 Jan 5. PMID: 30612928.
  3. Sari M, Aslan A, Ozbay I, Caglar E, Yuce I, Erkorkmaz U, Demirci M. Effect of functional endoscopic sinus surgery on anxiety and depression in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis: A prospective study. Laryngoscope. 2017 Dec;127(12):2727-2731. doi: 10.1002/lary.26614. Epub 2017 Jul 14. PMID: 28707704.

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