As many as 80% of Americans have some detectable level of septum deviation. The cartilage divider between your nostrils would ideally sit perfectly in the middle of your nose, but that’s not common.
The minor variances typically cause most people no issues. When your deviated septum is more severe, however, or when other factors combine to create airflow issues, you may have difficulty breathing at any time, while colds and allergies can be much harder to deal with.
Any problem with your upper airways suggests a visit to Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat for an examination and consultation with Dr. Scott Bateman. While surgical solutions exist for treating a deviated septum, there are other, more conservative therapies as well. Here’s what you need to know about your options.
Most septum deformities cause no problems on their own. However, noses are sometimes prone to injury, particularly if you play contact sports. As well, there are other problems that can affect your upper airways that may also impede breathing, such as nasal polyps. These can combine with the septum to create breathing restrictions, even if individual issues are minor.
You might suspect deviated septum issues if you experience one or more of the following:
- Difficulty breathing through one or both nostrils
- No nasal cycle: one nostril stays blocked, rather than alternating sides
- Noisy sleep breathing
- Favoring one side for sleep because of breathing
- Nosebleeds, due to drying of the septum
Potentially, a deviated septum may also contribute to facial pain, though a direct link has not yet been established.
Your deviated septum may only cause issues in combination with other respiratory problems, such as the rhinitis that accompanies a cold or flu. Septum deformities can even contribute to making rhinitis a chronic problem.
Your initial treatments may be aimed at reducing inflammation of the nasal tissue. When swelling of the nasal lining goes down, the obstruction caused by your septum may no longer be an issue. Dr. Bateman may turn to decongestants in pill or spray form, over-the-counter or prescription, to reduce swelling and open airways.
Antihistamines are the choice when your respiratory issues are due to allergies, though sometimes they can produce results for some nonallergic conditions. Prescription corticosteroid sprays are even more aggressive on inflammation, though they can take several weeks to produce results, and they’re not suitable for long-term use.
Septoplasty is the surgical procedure that repositions the septum into the center of the nose to even out your nasal airways. It’s reserved for cases that aren’t adequately improved by other treatments. Septoplasty may be combined with cosmetic nose work.
As a sinus care specialist, Dr. Bateman considers how your sinuses may be contributing to breathing problems. As a pioneer in minimally invasive balloon dilation techniques, he uses these to improve sinus performance.
Contact Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat whenever you have persistent breathing issues. You can book an appointment by phone at 307-672-0290 or online. There’s no reason why you can’t breathe easier, so schedule your consultation today.