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Deviated Septum: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Do you notice that you often have trouble breathing out of one side of your nose? Are you constantly plagued with stuffiness or nasal congestion? Most Kansans suffer from seasonal allergies at one time or another, but if you find yourself suffering more often than not, you may have an underlying issue.  One culprit of your suffering may be a deviated nasal septum.



woman with nose pain


What is a Nasal Septum?

The nasal septum is the wall between the left and right sides of the nose. Ideally, the nasal septum should lie exactly in the center, so that the left and right nostrils are of equal size. 

In about 80% of the general population, however, the nasal septum is a little off-center. Most of us never notice. When the septum is more drastically off-center, it is called a deviated septum. 


For people who have a deviated septum, one side of the nose is wider than normal and the other is narrower. This can alter the airflow pattern in the nose and sometimes block the narrower side. 


What Causes a Deviated Septum?

Some people are born with a deviated septum because the nose developed that way before birth. A deviated septum can also be caused by injury during birth or by trauma, usually a blow to the nose during contact sports, playground games, or a traffic accident. This trauma can knock the nasal septum out of position. 


Common Symptoms Due to a Deviated Septum:

  • Difficulty breathing out of one or both nostrils

  • Headaches

  • Facial pain

  • Nasal congestion, sometimes on one side

  • Frequent nosebleeds

  • Frequent sinus infections

  • Noisy breathing during sleep in infants and young children 


What Treatments are Available?

Depending on the severity of your condition, most people do not need treatment because they have little to no symptoms. In some cases, people with a mildly deviated septum have symptoms only when they also have a cold or other upper respiratory tract infection. 


You can treat these symptoms with over-the-counter medications, including:

  • Nasal decongestants

  • Nasal steroid sprays

  • Antihistamines


Our doctors at Topeka ENT are happy to examine your condition and will help to treat minor symptoms with medication, but if your deviated septum is keeping you from breathing properly, you may be a candidate for surgery. 


Are You a Candidate for Surgery?

The most common deviated septum treatment is Septoplasty. If you have breathing problems, frequent sinus infections, or other bothersome symptoms, a septoplasty may be an option. 


At Topeka ENT, when conservative treatment with nasal sprays and other medications fails, we offer septoplasty to correct the alignment and function of your nasal septum. It’s an outpatient procedure done here at our Topeka facility by our team of expert doctors and requires no external incisions. You can typically expect to return to work and other normal activities within a week.


How to Know When to See A Doctor?

Talk to our doctors at Topeka ENT if your symptoms interfere with your breathing, disrupt your sleep, or negatively impact other aspects of your life.  


You can rely on the expertise of our team at Topeka ENT to provide effective treatment with optimal results for your deviated nasal septum. Call the office today or book your visit online.

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