Category: Nasal obstruction

Breathe Easier This Holiday Season with VivAer®

A woman standing by a Christmas tree with decorations tired, rubbing her nose and eyes, feeling nasal obstruction.

Breathe Easier With VivAer®

The holidays are full of joyful occasions like office parties, family get-togethers, and even cozy moments at home. The last thing you want is difficulty breathing, headaches, and fatigue while celebrating the most wonderful time of the year. We understand how challenging it can be to enjoy the festivities when you don’t feel your best.

If you suffer from difficulty breathing through your nose, fatigue, and headaches, you may have chronic nasal obstruction. Thankfully, VivAer® Nasal Airway remodeling is an innovative, non-invasive treatment designed to improve all your symptoms. In this blog, the team of experts at Excel ENT discusses all you need to know about VivAer® treatment and how it can help you.

What Are the Symptoms of Nasal Obstruction?

Nasal obstruction is caused by the enlargement, or swelling, of certain structures in the nose, like the septum, lateral wall, or turbinates. As these structures swell, the airway size becomes smaller, causing difficulty breathing. If you frequently have trouble breathing through your nose, you may have chronic nasal obstruction.

Some of the common symptoms of nasal obstruction include:

  • Trouble breathing through your nose
  • A sensation of something blocking your nasal passage
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to breathe through your nose during exercise
  • Loud snoring
  • Facial pain or pressure
  • Headaches

If you are experiencing these symptoms, we recommend you contact your primary care doctor. Your primary physician can refer you to an otolaryngologist, also known as an ear, throat, and nose doctor (ENT), who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of nasal obstruction.

How Can VivAer® Help Nasal Obstruction?

The VivAer® Nasal Airway remodeling procedure is an innovative technology that expands nasal passages. This non-invasive, safe treatment can significantly improve your quality of life and allow you to breathe easier.

After numbing the inside of your nose with a local anesthetic, your doctor will insert a small wand into the nasal passage. The low-temperature radiofrequency energy (RF) on the wand’s tip gently expands and remodels damaged or shrunken tissues and valves. With this procedure, doctors can also shrink turbinates, soft bony structures that often swell during cases of nasal allergies. Just a slight increase in surface area with the help of VivAer® can create significant relief and improve airflow for those suffering from chronic nasal obstruction.

What Are the Benefits of VivAer® for Nasal Obstruction?

There are a variety of benefits of the VivAer® procedure, including:

  • Non-invasive procedure: VivAer® involves no cutting and doesn’t damage any surrounding areas.
  • Comfortable treatment: Most people feel minimal to zero discomfort. Some describe a feeling of pressure if anything.
  • Clinically Proven: Over a 2-year clinical study, 97% of patients experienced vast improvements in nasal breathing.
  • No downtime: This treatment is quick and painless, and most people return to regular activities the same day.
  • The outer appearance isn’t affected: As opposed to other nasal surgeries, VivAer® doesn’t alter the appearance of your nose in any way.

Who Is a Candidate for VivAer®?

If you suffer from chronic nasal obstruction, you are most likely a candidate for the VivAer® procedure. Candidates typically have found treatments like medications and nasal dilator strips to be ineffective. Your provider may suggest the Nasal Obstruction Symptom Evaluation (NOSE) test and the Cottle Maneuver test to confirm a diagnosis.

The Cottle Mannuever is a test you can do at home and involves placing two fingertips on your cheek next to each side of your nose, then gently pressing and pulling outward. If you find relief from your nasal passage expanding, VivAer® is likely an excellent treatment option. Depending on your specific condition, there may be other criteria, but your ENT can provide more information about whether VivAer® is suitable for you.

Find the Relief You Deserve from Nasal Obstruction

Don’t settle for another night of nasal airstrips or frustration while trying to breathe through your nose; contact a provider to learn if the VivAer® procedure is right for you. This non-invasive, comfortable treatment can expand your airway in just minutes. Find the relief you deserve, just in time for the holidays, at Excel ENT in Birmingham!

Excel ENT: Sinus Experts in Birmingham AL

If you are suffering from chronic nasal obstruction or another sinus ailment, contact the sinus experts at Excel ENT. With years of experience, Dr. Davis and his team are experts in nose, throat, and ear treatments. Call us at 205-988-6858 or contact us online to find the relief you deserve!

Lingering Loss of Smell After COVID-19? Here’s What to Do

covid-19 loss of smell

Smell is one of our five senses that we often think little about even though it’s strongly linked to emotion and memory. It can alert us to danger and works with our sense of taste to allow us to experience the flavor of food.

To lose your sense of smell (also called anosmia), and most likely your sense of taste to some extent as well, can pose several challenges, both mentally and physically. The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on anosmia, and doctors and scientists are still trying to figure out more about this common symptom.

Here’s information about why COVID-19 may cause us to lose these senses and some advice about how to manage it.

Loss of Smell After COVID-19 Infection

Many people wonder how common this symptom really is. A recent study collected data regarding COVID-19-related loss of smell or taste from 69,841 individuals who self-reported symptoms. The findings provide a genetic link to the biological mechanisms underlying COVID-19-related loss of smell or taste.

Of those who reported a positive test, 68% said they experienced loss of smell or taste (47,298 out of a total of 69,841 individuals). Female respondents were more likely than male respondents to report this symptom and those with this symptom were typically younger than those without it (mean age of 41 years for those with loss of smell or taste versus 45 years for those without).

While we can clearly see that a large fraction of COVID-19 patients report loss of smell or taste, the underlying mechanism is unclear. The most likely cause is that damage occurs to the cells that support and assist the olfactory neurons, called sustentacular cells. These cells can regenerate from stem cells, which may explain why smell recovers quickly in most cases.

Most often, smell dysfunction does improve soon after the infection. Approximately 90% of those affected can expect improvement within four weeks. But for others, it can take months or recovery may be incomplete. 

Tips to Help Recover Sense of Smell

Currently, there is no proven treatment for lasting smell dysfunction. Topical corticosteroid sprays are often used in the short-term for treatment, but they are unlikely to help outside of the acute illness period. 

One type of treatment that has shown promise is smell retraining therapy, or olfactory retraining. This involves exposing the patient to different strong scents for several minutes for an extended period of time. Smell retraining therapy can be effective for many different causes of smell loss, and not just from COVID.

Typically, you will smell a series of four strong scents that can be found in the home, or in the form of essential oils. Each scent is gently sniffed for 20 seconds. This process is repeated three times daily for six weeks. Long-term commitment is usually required to see improvement.

Smell training may be most effective if you work on the same four scents each day, rather than alternating. It’s also recommended that you concentrate on the scent fully, giving it your full attention, for the entire 20 seconds.

The following scents often work well:

  • ground coffee
  • rose
  • citrus
  • eucalyptus
  • vanilla
  • clove
  • mint

Another good option to consider is ginger, powdered or raw. It has a distinctive, pungent scent that makes it beneficial for use in smell training. Drinking ginger tea may also help. It can help reduce inflammation in the nasal airways and reduce excess mucus formations that block nasal passages, which may be a factor in loss of smell.

If you are unable to smell the above essences at all, try remembering what they smell like. Our brains are powerful tools and may be able to engage your senses. It does take time and commitment, but many people notice an improvement in their ability to smell within a few weeks.

Nasal irrigation can also sometimes help by flushing out allergens and mucus from the nasal cavity. This may help in COVID cases, but it can also help when other common viral upper respiratory illnesses, such as the common cold, cause dysfunction with the sense of smell.

Get More Advice About Correcting Loss of Smell from Excel ENT of Alabama

While these are methods you can try at home to help recover your sense of smell, it can be a good idea to work with an ENT, such as Dr. Davis from Excel ENT of Alabama to come up with a more specific treatment plan. We are happy to offer additional advice and options. Schedule an appointment online, or call to discuss coming in at a time that’s best for you: 205-988-6858.


Want a Solution for Nasal Polyps that Doesn’t Involve Surgery? Try Dupixent!

nasal polyps sufferer excel ent birmingham al

Nasal Polyps & Dupixent


Excel ENT of Alabama is very excited to introduce a new biologic option to treat and manage sinus conditions for patients that could have been candidates for sinus surgery in the past.

The sinus specialists of Excel ENT of Alabama are very passionate about how biologics can be a game-changer for managing sinus disease and are excited to offer Dupixent as an option for treatment in patients with severe/ refractory sinus polyps. 

Dupixent is a treatment used with other medicines to treat chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis in adults.

What Biologic medication Dupixent does:

  • Reduce the size of nasal polyps
  • Improve congestion
  • Improve loss of smell
  • Reduce the need for surgery

Dupixent What Are Nasal Polyps?

Polyps are painless, benign growths inside the nasal passages. If the polyps are small, a person may not know that they even have them but, polyps can grow in clusters that block the nasal passages and inhibit sinus fluid drainage and normal airflow.

Polyps also can cause secondary issues, such as sleep apnea, asthma, and sinus infections. 

Some common symptoms of nasal polyps are:

  • Congestion
  • Breathing problems
  • Recurring infections
  • Reductions in the senses of smell and taste
  • Sinus pressure
  • Pain in upper teeth or face
  • Nosebleeds

What the maker of the Biologic Medication Dupixent says:

George D. Yancopoulos, president and chief scientific officer at drug maker Regeneron, said in a statement, “Dupixent is the only approved therapy that has been shown to shrink nasal polyp size and also improve the signs and symptoms of the associated chronic rhinosinusitis. In fact, approximately three-quarters of patients treated with Dupixent no longer required either corticosteroids or surgery, the current standards of care.”

Dupixent F.A.Qs

How does Dupixent work? By blocking two critical sources of type 2 inflammation, Dupixent shrinks nasal polyps and reduces the need for surgery.

What types of results were seen in clinical studies with Dupixent? There were two clinical trials of 724 adults with uncontrolled chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis. In both studies, Dupixent helped patients breathe better by relieving nasal congestion and reducing nasal polyps size compared to the placebo group.

How is Dupixent taken? Via an injection under the skin at different injection sites. 

How do I know if Dupixent is suitable for me? Call for an appointment today with the sinus specialist professionals at Excell ENT of Alabama to determine if Dupixent is for you.

Learn More About Treatment Options for Nasal Polyps at Excel ENT of Alabama Located in Birmingham!

Are you suffering from nasal polyps? Contact the team at Excel ENT of Alabama today to schedule an appointment for a medical evaluation to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment plan.


Chronic Nasal Obstruction: its impacts, our convenient solutions

Chronic nasal obstructions cleared with Excel ENT

If you experience chronic nasal obstruction, otherwise known as chronic nasal congestion or continually having a “stuffy nose,” you likely already know this significantly impacts your overall wellbeing and happiness. 

Chronic nasal obstruction can often make it difficult to breathe, focus on work, perform daily activities, and even fully experience the world around you, as your attention is usually centered on merely trying to get air into your nostrils. 

Not to mention, this miserable condition can lead to serious health complications if not treated properly. Below we cover the different ways chronic nasal congestion negatively affects everyday life and how it may lead to other problems. 

Additionally, keep reading to discover an in-office treatment for chronic nasal obstruction we offer at Excel ENT. It’s minimally-invasive, completely safe, exceptionally effective, and often less scary than the more popular nasal congestion treatments available today. 

5 Ways Chronic Nasal Obstruction Negatively Impacts Everyday Life

Disrupted Sleep

No doubt, sleeping can seem impossible with nasal congestion problems. A healthy nasal pathway is essential for breathing properly through the night and getting optimal sleep. 

Over time, disrupted sleeping patterns, and years of inadequate rest can lead to chronic fatigue, elevated stress levels, higher chances of depression, weight gain, and more. 

Perpetual Breathing Problems 

The severity of how difficult it is to breathe depends on the type of nasal congestion one has. However, struggling to draw breath day in and day out is never a good feeling. And since this nasal congestion forces you to breathe through your mouth over time, several problems can arise, such as dental issues, dry mouth, poor sleep, mood fluctuations, and more. 

Constant Headaches

Depending on the severity of your condition, blocked nasal passages and chronic nasal obstruction often lead to mild to intense headaches. Without a doubt, what follows is a diminished quality of life, as headaches interfere with daily routine, concentration, work abilities, and sleeping patterns. 

Loss of Taste and Smell 

Considering the sense of smell and taste are connected, it’s no surprise that loss of taste often accompanies the loss of smell due to chronic nasal congestion. While there are several reasons this may occur, loss of taste and smell is usually a side effect of nasal polyps. However, if you have lost your sense of taste and smell, we recommend visiting an experienced ENT doctor for a thorough examination. 

Dwindling Quality of Life

If you are experiencing all the things mentioned above — sleep problems, breathing difficulties, constant headaches, loss of taste and smell — your quality of life is most likely dwindling. No doubt, these symptoms of chronic nasal obstruction put a strain on your physical and mental wellbeing. 

For these reasons, it’s critical to visit a specialized ENT doctor to address and effectively treat your chronic nasal obstruction. 

Now, we understand many nasal congestion treatments available today can often be perceived as invasive, painful, and scary. Thankfully, at Excel ENT, we offer an alternative option many of our previous patients have found effective at treating their chronic nasal obstruction. 

Introducing VivAer — The Nasal Obstruction Treatment at Excel ENT

VivAer is a minimally-invasive procedure that opens the nasal passages and delivers long-lasting results — all without invasive surgery, incisions, or excessive recovery time. 

If you suffer from debilitating chronic nasal obstruction, VivAer might be right for you. It’s clinically proven to help alleviate chronic nasal obstruction symptoms to significantly improve nasal breathing, help you get a better night’s sleep, and elevate your overall quality of life. 

At Excel ENT, we’re passionate about nasal passages and sinuses! 

Treating chronic nasal obstruction can be challenging. It often requires a combination of several methods, such as nasal irrigation, decongestants, and antibiotics. But sometimes, you need the help of a professional to get rid of chronic nasal congestion and chronic sinus infections for good. 

The expert team at Excel ENT of Alabama is passionate about sinus health and helping patients breathe better. If you’re suffering from chronic nasal obstruction, get in touch with Dr. Davis. He will get you feeling better in no time! Call 205-386-6453 or schedule an appointment here.

13 signs of painful chronic sinusitis you should be aware of

Chronic sinusitis

Chronic Sinusitis


Do you feel like every time you turn around, you’re getting another sinus infection?  Are you constantly complaining about sinus pain and discomfort? You may have a condition known as chronic sinusitis. Nearly 30 million American adults suffer from sinusitis, so you are not alone. 

At Excel ENT of Alabama, we understand that these ongoing sinus challenges can be frustrating and cause you to miss school, work, or other important occasions. 

Learn more about what chronic sinusitis is, the signs that you may suffer from chronic sinusitis, and the treatment options available. 

What is chronic sinusitis? 

Chronic sinusitis is persistent sinus swelling that interferes with the way your mucus drains, making it difficult to breathe through your nose. When the sinuses are chronically inflamed, they trap mucus, making your sinuses more susceptible to bacteria growth and infection.

Chronic sinusitis can be brought on by conditions such as sinus infections, allergies, nasal polyps, or a deviated septum

Does this condition sound familiar? The signs below may help you confirm that you suffer from chronic sinusitis. 

13 signs you suffer from chronic sinusitis

Common signs of chronic sinusitis include: 

  1. Congestion or “fullness” in the face
  2. Blockage in one or both nasal passages
  3. Fever
  4. Runny nose
  5. Discolored postnasal drainage (drainage at the back of your throat)
  6. Pus in the nasal cavity
  7. Headaches
  8. Fatigue
  9. Ear pain
  10. Aching in your upper jaw and teeth
  11. Cough or throat clearing
  12. Sore throat
  13. Bad breath

Suffering from two or more of these symptoms typically indicates you have chronic sinusitis.

Chronic sinusitis and acute sinusitis are often confused because they share similar signs and symptoms. The main difference is that acute sinusitis is temporary and often associated with a cold. If you suffer from chronic sinusitis, the signs and symptoms listed above could potentially last at least 12 weeks. 

Chronic Sinusitis treatment options

Treating chronic sinusitis can be challenging. It often requires a combination of several methods, such as nasal irrigation, decongestants, and antibiotics. Some chronic sinusitis treatments you can even do at home for short-term relief, such as a saline rinse, over-the-counter pain medications, and nasal sprays, but sometimes you need the help of a professional to get rid of chronic sinusitis for good.

If home remedies and medication do not provide relief, we may recommend endoscopic sinus surgery or balloon sinuplasty. Every patient is different, so it is important to schedule a sinus evaluation to determine your condition’s best treatment option.

Fortunately, there are many minimally invasive sinus treatment options on the market today, and Dr. Davis is a leading expert on how to get you back on your feet with just a small amount of downtime.

We’re passionate about sinuses!

The team at Excel ENT of Alabama is passionate about sinus health and helping patients breathe better. If you’re suffering from chronic sinusitis, get in touch with Dr. Davis. He will get you feeling better in no time! Call 205-386-6453 or schedule an appointment here.


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