A deviated septum is a crooked or off-center wall in the middle of your nose that separates your two nasal passages. If this wall is deviated, it may be a congenital trait or it may have resulted from an injury.
If you have a deviated septum, you may find that one side of your nose is much wider inside than the other. The narrower side can easily feel like a stuffy nose.
Because the nasal septum is not centered, the airflow in your nose is altered. This can trigger recurrent sinus infections and/or nosebleeds, because the septum can become cracked and dry.
When Do You Need Medical Intervention?
If you have this condition but you do not experience any adverse effects on your health or lifestyle, no action is needed. However, if the look or feel of the deviated septum is bothering you or if you are having trouble breathing, it is in your best interest to consider treatment.
Problems like a chronic stuffy nose can breed bacteria, which can lead to inflammation and infection. To avoid this, it is best to consult with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor – also called an otolaryngologist – and seek an evaluation and possible treatment.
Treatments for a Deviated Septum
The following treatments – available over-the-counter or by prescription – are often recommended to alleviate the symptoms of a deviated septum. Keep in mind that any nasal sprays must be sprayed toward the outside of the nose rather than upward or inward, because otherwise you can create a perforation (cut or opening) in your septum.
Available orally or by spray, nasal decongestants can significantly reduce the swelling in your nasal cavity. These help in keeping your airways clear and open.
In addition to reducing nasal inflammation, taking a decongestant can also help in relieving other related symptoms like headaches, facial pressure/pain, or feelings of stuffiness. Follow your doctor’s instructions and do not overuse these medications, however, as they can cause dependency and make your symptoms even worse than they were before.
Antihistamines work by relieving symptoms like postnasal drip, runny nose, or chronic sneezing. They provide relief by targeting the histamine, which causes an allergic reaction. A deviated septum may make allergic reactions seem worse and more intense because of the uneven nasal airways.
Prescription corticosteroid nasal sprays can help to reduce swelling in the nasal passages and aid in the drainage process. Depending on your situation, your doctor may recommend a once-a-day maximum use of the corticosteroid spray. When using this, it is very important to read the instructions very carefully and to follow your doctor’s recommendations.
If the deviation of your septum is severe, your ENT doctor may recommend septoplasty. This is the surgical straightening and repositioning of your nasal septum. A nose job (rhinoplasty) is often done in the same procedure as septoplasty.
If your condition persists and presents further problems, other interventions may be suggested by the doctor. Consult with your ear, nose, and throat doctor before trying any treatment option on your own.
Ear Nose and Throat Doctors in Georgetown, TX
If you’re having trouble breathing or if you constantly have a stuffy nose, it’s best to see an experienced ear, nose, and throat doctor right here in Georgetown. Our physicians can recommend and provide the best treatment for your particular case, as every nose is different.
Contact our medical team today to schedule an appointment by calling us at (512) 869-0604. We look forward to seeing you here and helping you breathe easier!