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  1. #1
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    breathing through two nostrils better than one?

    i have a significantly deviated septum, but no allergy or sinus issues to go along with it, just 80% blockage one one nostril. breathe right strips make a HUGE difference, but after a visit to an ENT, he suggested septoplasty as a possible fix. coming from a running background, nose-breathing is something i have found more effective than mouth-breathing, though in a hard effort, mouth-breathing is the only option.

    i race as cat 4 pack fodder, and would like to be more competitive, and am wondering how much (if at all) getting my deviated septum fixed would make a difference. has anyone here had the procedure and had a noticeable performance increase .

  2. #2
    Senior Member jsutkeepspining's Avatar
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    to be perfectly honest it probably wont change much in terms of racing, but in a general confort type of setting it would be very nice to hae both your nostrils free!
    cat 1-o-meter: wtf am i doing??????
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  3. #3
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    the gall bladder once served a purpose

  4. #4
    These Guys Eat Oreos Creatre's Avatar
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    I was pretty similar to you. Had pretty significant deviated septum, but no sinus or allergy problems. I had the work done in my first year of riding. I thought it was probably affecting me as well in cycling, and decided to go through with it. It's a pretty significant downtime in your training after the surgery. First of all the surgery blows, and the week after you are totally worthless and miserable. The second week isn't much better, but you at least get the huge crap out of your nose. I had to stay off the bike for two weeks because the intensity could possibly open the wounds back up and start bleeding, and/or remove the stitches. After that, I had sinus blockage for about 3 months, before I truly started to clear up a bit and start breathing like normal.

    I can breathe better now though. I have pretty much full usage of both my nostrils. But, I've had a bit more sinus and allergy problems since then. I have to think it is related to having more airflow now. The inside of my nose seems to be dry a lot as well, which again I would assume is from the improved airflow. I haven't noticed a performance or comfort distance while cycling. I breathe out of my nose just as little as I did before.

    Is the surgery worth it? I don't know. The surgery was awful, and the full recovery took about 6 months. If I would have known the little of benefits I've had, I'm not sure I would have gone through with it. It's hard to remember before hand though. If I went back, I probably would think I'm suffocating, after having the use of both nostrils for so long, haha.
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  5. #5
    Village Idiot
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    6 months for recovery? Really? Dang.

    I had it as well and I recovered in a month at the most.

    I had to have it twice because mine reverted...
    Truth, like light, blinds. Falsehood, on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight that enhances every object.
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  6. #6
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    woof. leaning even more towards buying stock in breathe right instead of the knife. thanks for the feedback!

  7. #7
    These Guys Eat Oreos Creatre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridethecliche View Post
    6 months for recovery? Really? Dang.

    I had it as well and I recovered in a month at the most.

    I had to have it twice because mine reverted...
    6 months for 100% recovery. Obviously, things aren't really too bad after the 2-3month range. But still some soreness on the nose, extra nasal problems, etc. Around 6 months was when I felt like everything was completely back to normal. I was on the bike after 2 weeks, and doing 70+ miles after a month, so obviously wasn't THAT bad.
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  8. #8
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Why not just use your mouth?
    cat 1.

    blog

  9. #9
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    I have a milder version, but even if both sides were always completely open, I'd be using my mouth in a race. Look at the pro peloton, and count the number of guys with their mouths closed. There are a variety of mouth positions, but they are all some form of open.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  10. #10
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    better utilization of oxygen, deeper into the lungs, fewer "stitches" in the side, warms winter air, better filtration, less dry mouth. ymmv, but made a huge difference for me when i was running, and def feel the difference in cycling too.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasal_breathing

  11. #11
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    I have relatively restricted nasal flow, so I'm pretty much mouth breathing once my heart rate is over 120 or so. So two nostrils is better than one, but there's more to it than that. I've considered, now and again, trying out those nasal strips that lift your sinuses open a bit, a la Gilbert. Just experimenting by pinching the skin next to my nose and pulling makes it clear that this could help a bit. But I've never tried it.

    I'm not so sure about all these supposed benefits to nasal breathing. At rest or relatively low levels of exercise, sure. But at a certain point, you HAVE to start breathing through your mouth. I'd be curious to know what level of effort most people can sustain while still nose breathing. Endurance (that's about my limit)? Tempo? Threshold? A threshold effort while breathing exclusively through one's nose seems impossible to me, and I mean for people who don't have restricted sinuses or other breathing issues.

  12. #12
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    for a lot of people, the breathe right strips may not do much, but i can feel a major difference using them. i won't use one on slower rides, but for any fast group ride or race, i'll never go without.

    i would guess that i have to switch from nose to mouth breathing is somewhere between tempo and threshold. i can nose-breathe for about the first half of a cat4 tuesday night worlds crit, but that is when I am not sticking my nose out in the wind at all.

  13. #13
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Breathe Right, that's the name! I'll pick up a box and give 'em a shot.

  14. #14
    Killing Rabbits
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    the gall bladder once served a purpose
    I think you meant the appendix.

  15. #15
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    Op it is unlikely to improve your exercise performance, but it may improve comfort.

    This study compared no nostrils (nose clip), normal nostrils, and externally dilated nostrils (strips) and found no difference in exercise performance parameters between groups.

    Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000 Aug;32(8):1491-5.
    Oxygen uptake and ventilatory effects of an external nasal dilator during ergometry.
    Abstract
    INTRODUCTION:

    Athletes and coaches have begun to use external nasal dilators with the perception that they enhance performance and make it "easier to breathe." This study was conducted to ascertain whether application of an external nasal dilator would enhance performance, as measured by maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), maximal ventilation (V(Emax)), maximal work rate (Wr(max)) or ratings of perceived exertion and dyspnea (RPE, RPD).
    METHODS:

    Fifteen subjects (F = 10; M = 5: age, 20+/-1.4, mean +/- SD) performed three incremental exercise tests to fatigue on an ergometer at 1-wk intervals in randomized order. One test was conducted without a nasal dilator, using a nose clip and mouthpiece for oxygen uptake and ventilatory measurements (control, C). The other two tests used a Rudolph 8900 breathing mask that included the nose in the breathing circuit and subjects wore either a placebo (P) or the active dilator (A). RPE for total body (20-point scale) and for dyspnea (10-point scale) were also measured on all tests.
    RESULTS:

    There were no significant differences in VO2max (mean +/- SD; C = 3.12+/-1.1; P = 3.12 + 1.06; A = 3.04+/-0.94). V(Emax) (C = 117+/-26; P = 125+/-31; A = 122+/-26), Wr(max) (C = 256+/-73; P = 255+/-70; A = 257+/-74), RPE (C = 18.8+/-1.78; P = 18.9+/-1.33; A = 18.9+/-1.22), or RPD (C = 9.1+/-1.58; P = 9.3+/-1.2; A = 9.13+/-1.2) during exercise between any group.
    CONCLUSION:

    Thus, it is concluded that an external nose dilator does not enhance performance as measured by VO2max, V(Emax), Wr(max), or perceived performance as measured by RPE and RPD.

  16. #16
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthalpic View Post
    I think you meant the appendix.
    you don't need no stinking gall bladder.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthalpic View Post
    Op it is unlikely to improve your exercise performance, but it may improve comfort..
    ....
    but did the subjects in the study have significantly deviated septums, or just "normal" noses?

    like i said before, i think the breathe right strips would probably not help people without deviated septums, and i guess that study confirms it.

  18. #18
    My idea of fun kensuf's Avatar
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    Great timing. I had to do a health assessment this morning and the doc said "you have a deviated septum". I never knew.
    Putting the Duh in Floriduh.

  19. #19
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorthings View Post
    like i said before, i think the breathe right strips would probably not help people without deviated septums, and i guess that study confirms it.
    I would have been very surprised to see an improvement in actual aerobic performance from use of nasal strips, since maximum performance requires mouth breathing anyway. I'm more interested in being more comfortable at sub-threshold. Having your mouth hanging open dries it out.

    In general, I would be mildly surprised if even a deviated septum resulted in a reduction of VO2 max or other performance parameters. Your body is just going to command you to inhale by whatever means is necessary to supply the volume of air it needs, and it will simply switch to mouth breathing sooner if your nose is constricted. Effectiveness in terms of results is probably difficult or impossible to judge, but simply being able to breathe comfortably through the nose at lower levels of effort would probably feel better, and that might be worth using strips or even undergoing surgery for some people.

  20. #20
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    that makes sense...if nothing else, comfort and less dry mouth are reason enough for me (and fewer bugs in the mouth!).

  21. #21
    Killing Rabbits
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    you don't need no stinking gall bladder.
    You don't need a right arm, but it still serves a purpose.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by grolby View Post
    I would have been very surprised to see an improvement in actual aerobic performance from use of nasal strips, since maximum performance requires mouth breathing anyway. I'm more interested in being more comfortable at sub-threshold. Having your mouth hanging open dries it out.

    In general, I would be mildly surprised if even a deviated septum resulted in a reduction of VO2 max or other performance parameters. Your body is just going to command you to inhale by whatever means is necessary to supply the volume of air it needs, and it will simply switch to mouth breathing sooner if your nose is constricted. Effectiveness in terms of results is probably difficult or impossible to judge, but simply being able to breathe comfortably through the nose at lower levels of effort would probably feel better, and that might be worth using strips or even undergoing surgery for some people.
    Correct. Mouth breathing is always going to "win" but a well functioning nose helps delay the onset.

    Can J Appl Physiol. 1999 Dec;24(6):538-47.
    Nasal dilator strips delay the onset of oral route breathing during exercise.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10638341

    J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2001 Dec;41(4):470-8.
    Nostril dilatation increases capacity to sustain moderate exercise under nasal breathing condition.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11687766

  23. #23
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    nice...thanks for finding those!

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