If you’re having trouble breathing properly through your nose (or one nostril in particular) you may not be surprised to discover that you could have a deviated septum. A deviated septum occurs when the septum, the wall of cartilage that separates the two nasal passages, is crooked. This means that one nostril may be partially obstructed, which is why you have trouble breathing through your nose. Fortunately, an ENT doctor will be able to provide you with some relief.
While medication won’t treat the nasal deformity, if you are only dealing with mild symptoms then your ENT doctor may simply recommend taking medications to help better control the symptoms you are experiencing. Decongestants are one type of medication that can help reduce swelling within the nasal cavity, making it easier to breathe.
Another medication that is often prescribed is an antihistamine. This is more common if you are also dealing with allergy symptoms that impact your ability to breathe. Those patients exhibiting symptoms such as nasal congestion or a runny nose may benefit most from this type of medication.
Along with decongestants, a steroid nasal spray may also be used in conjunction with this treatment to reduce nasal inflammation to make breathing through your nose easier. This medication is typically only prescribed by your ENT doctor for a couple of weeks.
If someone is dealing with a severely deviated septum that blocks or partially blocks a nostril, or if symptoms aren’t properly controlled with medication, then surgery may be the best option.
Surgery is the only way to actually repair a deviated septum. This procedure, known as a septoplasty, is performed by an ENT specialist who will make small incisions within the septum to reposition and realign the cartilage. In some instances, your ENT doctor will also instruct as to whether or not a rhinoplasty (“a nose job”) is needed to improve the overall shape and size of the nose after the deviated septum is repositioned.
As you can see, there are several ways in which to treat a deviated septum. If you are having difficulty breathing through your nose, know that an otolaryngologist can help you breathe easier.