Plenty of kids have breathing issues, and, sometimes, those issues can be chalked up to colds, allergies, or asthma. But, at other times, the nasal structure is to blame. A deviated septum is one structural issue that can cause a lot of problems with breathing — but, fortunately, treatment is typically straightforward.
As a trusted provider of pediatric ENT treatments in Salt Lake City, Murray, Draper, Tooele, and West Jordan, Utah, the doctors at ENT Specialists tailor deviated septum treatment to each child’s unique needs. In this post, our team offers a brief review of what a deviated symptom is and how we can help treat it.
Quick facts about deviated septums
The septum is the thin wall of tissue that separates your nostrils (or nares). Typically, the septum is located more or less in the middle of your nostrils, equally dividing the air passages on either side. A deviated septum happens when the septum is “off-center,” partially blocking one of the air passages.
Deviated septums aren’t uncommon. In fact, a perfectly-centered septum is actually pretty rare. In one study, about three-quarters of those studied had some deviation in the septum. In many people with deviated septums, however, the deviation isn’t enough to cause a noticeable or uncomfortable change in breathing.
However, when deviation is more significant or severe, it can narrow one of the air passages enough to interfere with normal breathing or cause other symptoms, like:
- Noisy breathing during sleep
- Mouth breathing
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Frequent sinus infections
- Facial pain
Because a deviated septum causes blockage on one side of the nasal airways, your child may prefer to sleep on one side or complain that side-sleeping makes it hard to breathe.
Treating your child’s deviated septum
In kids, difficulty breathing during sleep frequently results in daytime drowsiness that can affect your child’s school performance or their desire to socialize or take part in sports or other extracurricular activities. What’s more, since a younger child’s nasal airways tend to be smaller, breathing difficulties can be especially pronounced, even interfering with physical activities.
Our team offers several options for managing a deviated septum. For kids with very mild deviations, we may recommend oral medicines or nasal sprays to treat or prevent congestion, reduce swelling, or treat allergy symptoms that can make breathing more difficult.
When deviation causes moderate to severe symptoms, surgery usually is a better solution. The surgery to correct a deviated septum is called a septoplasty, and in most cases, it’s performed using tiny incisions inside the nose. In a few cases, we may need to make a tiny incision at the very base of the nose.
During the surgery, the doctor repositions the septum or removes portions of it to correct the deviation and improve breathing. Many septoplasty procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, and recovery is quick for most kids.
ENT care for your child’s health
A deviated septum is just one possible cause of breathing issues in kids. To find out what’s causing your child’s symptoms and how we can help, book an appointment online or over the phone with the team at ENT Specialists today.