How can a deviated septum affect a person's breathing?Ear, Nose & Throat Plastic Surgery
I have always had some breathing problems since young, and I was told by my GP that a deviated septum could be a cause. I would like to better understand how a deviated septum can affect my breathing please.
The nasal septum is the bone and cartilage that divides the nasal cavity in half. If the nasal septum is deviated it will make one nasal passage smaller. When this is severe, it may block one side of your nose, reducing airflow and causing difficulty in breathing.
Most septal deformities or deviations do not result in any symptoms and patients may not even know if they have a deviated septum. However, some deviations can cause an obstruction in one or both nostrils giving rise to difficulty breathing which may be more obvious during a cold or allergies. You may have disturbed sleep due to inability to breathe comfortably through the nose at night. This may lead to noisy breathing, snoring, mouth breathing and dry mouth and preference for sleeping on a particular side. Occasionally, the surface of the nasal septum may become dry and this may increase the risk of nosebleeds.
Septal deviations can be congenital (ie. present at birth) or it can be due to a result from an injury to the nose such as a nasal fracture.
Whilst the treatment of nasal obstruction may include medications and sprays, the treatment of a deviated septum would involve surgery to correct the deviation.
I hope this answers your question. Have a great weekend!
The nasal septum is the wall that divides the left and right side of the nose.
The following photograph, which shows a severely deviated nasal septum, clearly illustrates how a deviated nasal septum causing poorer air flow on the side of the deviation
Think of your nasal passage as a tube for air to flow through. There are many things making up the wall of this tube, such as your turbinates and your septum.
If the septum is bent inwards (as in a deviated septum), it is like the tube is narrowed. Similary, if your turbinates are large, it can also reduce the flow through this "tube".
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