A septum is the cartilage and bone wall that divides your nose into a right and left nostril. For most people, it’s not centered or is crooked, and they have a deviated septum. It’s usually not severe enough to cause problems, but if it’s crooked or off center to a significant degree, a deviated septum can make breathing through the nose difficult.
Many parents wonder if their child could be suffering from a deviated septum and if so, they want to know the signs they should be looking for.
What is a deviated septum?
Ideally, the wall of soft cartilage and bone known as the nasal septum separates the nose into two nostrils that are equal in size. When deviation is present, it causes this separation to be unequal, shifting more to one side than the other. When this happens, it can make breathing through the nose difficult.
If your child’s septum is quite a bit off center or crooked, a number of symptoms can result.
What are the signs for a deviated septum in children?
The symptoms of a deviated septum in children can include:
- Nasal congestion
- Blockage of one or both nostrils
- Frequent sinus infections
- Headaches and/or facial pain
- Postnasal drip (the obvious sensation of mucus dripping down the back of the throat)
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Noisy breathing during sleep
What causes a deviated septum in children?
It takes some time for nasal tissue to become less soft and more resilient, so from the womb to childhood to infancy, children can be vulnerable to developing a deviated septum. They’re susceptible to developing a deviated septum as a result of any significant force that pushes against the nose.
A deviated septum in children can develop in two ways. It can be caused either by a congenital disorder (one that’s present at birth) or by a trauma to the nose.
Many children develop a deviated septum from an injury that occurs during childbirth process. Others may develop a deviated septum while still in the womb if they pressed their nose against the womb for an extended period of time.
A child may also be injured in an accident that results in a deviated septum. It doesn’t necessary have to be particularly traumatic and could even be caused by a seemingly minor playground fall or collision with another child.
What are the treatments for children with a deviated septum?
Several different options are available for treating a deviated septum in children.
Decongestants may be prescribed to help reduce inflammation and swelling in the nasal passages, which may make breathing easier.
Nasal sprays may also be used to help alleviate symptoms, but they can cause side effects as well as a “rebound effect” that cause symptoms to get worse. For these reasons, long-term use of nasal sprays isn’t usually recommended.
Ultimately, these types of treatments address the symptoms that a deviated septum can cause rather than actually correcting the deviated septum.
If more conservative options such as oral medication and nasal sprays have failed to provide enough relief, surgery may be considered. Septoplasty is a type of surgery that corrects a deviated septum by changing its alignment and making both nostrils equal in size.
If your child is experiencing persistent issues such as chronic sinus infections, frequent nosebleeds, difficulty breathing, blocked nostrils, or other symptoms that aren’t responding to treatments, it’s important to make an appointment with a doctor who specializes in disorders of the nose.
Where can I find treatment for my child with a deviated septum?
DFW Sinus Select has numerous practices located throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
The first step in treating your child’s deviated septum is to set up an appointment to have your child evaluated by one of our specialists. We combine compassion with experience and state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and treatments to offer the best possible care.
Once a thorough exam and medical history have been conducted, your ENT (ear, nose, and throat specialist) will be able to tell you exactly what is causing your child’s sinus problems. We’ll thoroughly explain the treatment options available and answer any questions you may have.
Take the first step toward relieving your child’s breathing problems, nosebleeds, and other chronic symptoms by filling out the appointment request form on this page or by contacting one of our offices.