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I have a strange breathing disorder that I've suffered from for a very long time. During the day, I can breathe about 95% through one nostril and 50% through the other. It alternates between nostrils. I do not notice anything unless I hold one of my nostrils closed.

This problem gets worse as I go to sleep. When i lay on my back, each nostril gets about 50% air flow. When I sleep on my side, the nostril facing down becomes completely obstructed. 0% air flow, while the other one gets about 90%. Interestingly, when I alternate sides, the obstruction alternates as well.

I have tried the following medications with no result:
- Sudafed Nasal Decongestant (pseudoephedrine HCL 30mg)
- Nasacort AQ (perscription)
- Neti pot nasal irrigation

The only thing that has given me relief is the Afrin nasal spray (Oxymetazoline HCl) However, the relief is only temporary and the spray is not to be used for more than three days.

Please help, Thank you very much!

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replied January 31st, 2008
Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders Answer A3582
Given your symptoms (nasal congestion and obstruction), you could be experiencing chronic inflammation of the nasal cavity, upper pharynx and maybe also the sinuses. Obstruction can be due to the inflammation that also causes congestion and mucus secretion. You can request a physical examination by an ENT-specialist to confirm the inflammation and to identify the reason for the nasal inflammation (infection, allergy, nasal tumor, deviation of the nasal septum, foreign body etc.). Further, an X-ray image of the sinuses and microbiological smear can be also requested. The therapy and treatment prescribed will depend upon the reason(s) for the inflammation.

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