The septum is a thin wall of cartilage that separates the two nasal cavities of the nose. If the septum is crooked or leans more to one side, this is known as a deviated septum. A deviated septum is quite common, and many people don’t even realize that they have one. That’s because this condition is usually rather minor and doesn’t cause serious symptoms; however, if you’re experiencing difficulty breathing through your nose you may want to see your ENT doctor for an evaluation.
If your deviated septum symptoms are mild, then your ENT specialist may recommend over-the-counter or prescription medications that can help reduce inflammation within the nasal tissue to help improve airflow. Common medications used to treat a deviated septum include:
- Antihistamines: May be effective for treating congestion or a runny nose caused by this structural abnormality
- Nasal sprays: Most nasal sprays contain steroids, which can greatly reduce inflammation
- Decongestants: Milder symptoms may respond to simple medications such as decongestants, which can help break up mucus and reduce inflammation within the nasal tissue
Of course, more moderate to severe symptoms may require surgery to fix the underlying problem. Symptoms of a deviated septum include:
- Nasal obstruction or full blockage of a nasal cavity
- Severe facial pain and pressure
- Frequent headaches
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Difficulty sleeping
- Severe swelling
Your ENT doctor may recommend surgery to correct the abnormality if you have a fully blocked nostril or you are dealing with recurring or chronic bouts of sinusitis.
What should I expect from surgery?
If your otolaryngologist recommends surgery to correct the deviated septum, this type of surgery is known as a septoplasty. During surgery, an ENT specialist may need to remove some tissue or cartilage to make it easier to straighten the septum. In some instances, this procedure is performed along with a rhinoplasty to improve the overall shape of the nose. A septoplasty is usually only recommended if people are having significant trouble or cannot properly breathe out of their nose.
If you are unable to breathe through your nose fully or properly, we understand just how disconcerting this can be. An otolaryngologist can provide you not just with the answer you’re looking for but also comprehensive care. Find out the best way to manage your deviated septum symptoms.