In this guide we explain the connection between deviated septum and breathing problems, including the underlying connection, how can you tell if a deviated septum is the cause of your breathing problems, and how can you treat it.
Can a Deviated Septum Cause Breathing Problems?
Yes – in fact, one of the major consequences of having a nasal septum deviation is nasal obstruction.
Nasal breathing delivers approximately 70% of airflow to the lungs, but if the nasal airway is obstructed, airflow through the nose is limited and can have a significant impact on the day-to-day life of the patient.
A patient suffering from nasal obstruction may show signs of nasal congestion or stuffiness, nasal blockage, trouble breathing through the nose, trouble sleeping, and problems with breathing during exercise.
It has been shown in research that nasal obstruction can cause resistance during breathing and affect the airflow, which causes an imbalance between the pressure difference that is required between the atmosphere and the lungs during normal breathing.
There exists significant differences amongst individuals with nasal septum deviation and the extent of their nasal obstruction - however, it has been identified that the deflections that occur towards the anterior nose (at the front side) have a detrimental impact on the nasal valve and hence, cause severe obstruction of the nasal airflow in comparison to those that occur posteriorly (at the back side) and towards the middle of the nose.
It is important to note that nasal septum deviation is not the sole cause of nasal obstruction-related breathing problems. Mucosal inflammation, allergic rhinitis, rhinosinusitis, nasal polyposis and certain specific neural pathways can also cause nasal obstruction, and a correct diagnosis can only be performed by a medical expert.
Spirometry is an initial procedure that can sometimes be used to measure the movement pattern of the air during breathing and can estimate the level of nasal obstruction.
Will a Corrected Deviated Septum Stop My Breathing Problems?
Several studies have been done to evaluate the effectiveness of septoplasty, which is a surgical procedure to correct a deviated septum. These studies compared the breathing competence of individuals before and after the surgery using spirometry values. The results from these studies indicate that septoplasty was extremely beneficial in improving breathing problems in patients with nasal septum deviation.
Nasal obstruction in patients with a deviated septum is one of the major reasons to consider a septoplasty. Septoplasty not only improves the airflow but can also correct breathing patterns, increase the capacity of air taken in during breathing, and improve deep breathing. In addition to this, some studies indicate lesser use of medication after the operation in patients suffering from asthma.
Deviated Septum Breathing Relief
If your breathing problems are caused by a deviated septum, we recommend looking into having your septum corrected through deviated septum surgery (also known as “septoplasty”).
But if you can’t have septoplasty done soon, here are some things you can do at home to reduce the septum’s impact on your breathing problems:
- 1Use of medications: Although nasal obstruction can have various causes, the principal cause of nasal obstruction is inflammation. This inflammation may cause increased nasal secretions and tissue swelling. Both of these factors lead to nasal flow congestion and decreased airflow. Non-prescription drugs such as antihistamines, nasal decongestants and anti-inflammatory can be used to improve some symptoms of nasal obstruction and hence, can be beneficial in improving breathing.
- 2Using a heated humidifier device: This device makes use of a water reservoir and a breathing circuit to deliver molecular water vapor directly to the patient. It has been observed that using such a device can improve nasopharyngeal (involving nose and mouth) symptoms of patients with nasal disorders.
- 3Nasal breathing exercises: Nasal breathing exercises such as those performed during yoga have shown to improve symptoms involving inflammation, which in turn improves nasal airflow. In one study, two groups of patients with nasal obstruction were given the same treatment and one of the two groups was asked to perform nasal breathing exercises for three months. Results from this study indicated that the group that practiced nasal breathing received greater benefit in comparison to those who did not practice any nasal breathing exercises.
- 1Improvement of Pulmonary Functions Following Septoplasty: How Are Lower Airways Affected?
- 2Pulmonary function improvement following septoplasty.
- 3What is Nasal airway obstruction?
- 4Nasal obstruction as a risk factor for sleep-disordered breathing.
- 5Nasal Obstructions, Sleep, and Mental Function.
- 6Nasal Obstruction.
- 7Epidemiology and burden of nasal congestion.
- 8Pathophysiology of nasal congestion.
- 9Diagnosis and Management of Nasal Congestion
- 10The effects of heated humidifier in continuous positive airway pressure titration.
- 11Nasal Breathing Exercise and its Effect on Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis.
- 12Treatment of Congestion in Upper Respiratory Diseases.
- 13The Reason of Dissatisfaction of Patient after Septoplasty.
- 14Role of Spirometry in Detection of Nasal Obstruction