Ear, Nose & Throat

Turbinate Hypertrophy: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Turbinate Hypertrophy can be an irritating problem, leading to many different symptoms like difficulty in taking a breath, bleeding from the nose and experiencing recurrent infections. But, do you know what is Turbinate hypertrophy and what are turbinates?

Our nose has air passages which are long called turbinates. Most of people have 3 turbinates. The other name or synonym of Turbinates is nasal conchae. They are the superior, middle and inferior turbinates. Some people also have 4 turbinates, which is seen less often.

These turbinates have the function of warming and humidifying the air passing through them, or the nose. The enlargement of the size of these turbinates is called turbinate hypertrophy. There are many different causes, symptoms and treatment options for turbinate hypertrophy. Let us explore them in detail in this article.

Causes of Turbinate hypertrophy:

turbinate hypertrophy
Image Source: healthline.com

Let us see the causes of turbinate hypertrophy:


We are exposed to many different irritants on a day to day basis. These irritants can cause enlargement of the turbinates. Some such irritants include environmental pollution, chemical gases, smoke from the cigarette, dust, etc.


An allergen is a substance which produces an abnormal reaction in our immune system, which is the fighter system in our body. We can be allergic to many different things like pollen from the flowers, animal fur, dust, cool air from the air conditioner, etc. These allergens can enlarge the turbinates.

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Hormonal changes:

Women can be susceptible to hormonal changes during menstruation, pregnancy, etc. These hormonal changes can lead to turbinate hypertrophy in some women.


Infections, either bacterial or viral infections can also cause inflammation or swelling of the turbinates and lead to their hypertrophy.

Deviated nasal septum:

The nasal septum is the separation that we see between the 2 nostrils. This nasal septum can be deviated in some people due to various reasons. This deviated nasal septum can also lead to hypertrophy of the turbinates.

Symptoms of turbinate hypertrophy:

Turbinate hypertrophy can cause many different symptoms like below:

Change in the sense of the smell:

You won’t be able to smell like before as there is an obstruction in your nose.

Nasal blockage:

You will feel that your nose is blocked and you are not able to breathe normally.

Dryness of mouth:

Since your nose is blocked, you will try to breathe through your mouth. Due to this, you will keep your mouth open. This will lead to drying up of the mouth.

Snoring or Sleep apnea:

As your nose is blocked due to the turbinate hypertrophy, you will also snore loudly at night. Snoring occurs when there is any form of obstruction in the air passage.

Pain in the face:

You will experience pain and pressure in your face, which will make you feel uncomfortable.

Treatment Options for Turbinate hypertrophy:

Let us explore the Treatment options for Turbinate hypertrophy below:

Steps to avoid allergens:
  • Avoid having pets or going near the pets as animal fur is an allergen.
  • Avoid going near the pollen or flowers
  • Keep your house very neat and clean.
  • Clean your sofas, pillows, bed sheets regularly
  • Keep your carpets dust free by cleaning them at frequent intervals.
  • Use an air purifier in your home, which helps to remove the dust particles from the air.
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Tips to prevent infections:
  • Try to enhance your immunity by following various methods
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat food rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Exercise regularly
  • Sleep enough at night
  • Avoid taking too much stress
Steam Inhalation:

Steam inhalation is a good way to reduce the congestion in your nose. It will make the air passage moist and you will feel relieved. Try to do steam inhalation at least 2 times a day.


There are several medications which can help you in reducing the hypertrophy of the turbinates. They are:


Antihistamines drugs help to reduce the allergic nature in your body by blocking the histamine receptors. Some examples of such drugs include cetirizine, levocetirizine, fexofenadine, loratadine, etc.

Decongestant nasal spray or drops:

You have several decongestant medications available in the form of spray or drops. They contain medicines like Pseudoephedrine, Phenylephrine, etc. These help to reduce the inflammation or swelling in your nose and the turbinates.

Steroid nasal spray:

Usage of steroid nasal spray containing steroids like mometasone or fluticasone helps to reduce the swelling of the turbinates to some extent.


There are some surgical options to get rid of turbinate hypertrophy. They are:

Submucosal diathermy:

It uses heat to reduce the size of the enlarged turbinates.

Inferior turbinate bone resection:

In this method, a little part of the bone structure of the turbinates is removed surgically. It helps in promoting airflow and prevents symptoms like snoring, etc.

I hope you understood the causes, symptoms and treatment options available for turbinate hypertrophy. We will meet you with another informative article.

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