Does Nasal Spray Help a Deviated Septum?

Reviewed on 3/9/2021

A deviated septum does not always need treatment. In patients who have a badly deviated septum, a surgery called a septoplasty is used to straighten a crooked septum. Nasal sprays do not help a deviated septum.
A deviated septum does not always need treatment. In patients who have a badly deviated septum, a surgery called a septoplasty is used to straighten a crooked septum. Nasal sprays do not help a deviated septum.

A deviated septum does not always need treatment. In patients who have a badly deviated septum, a surgery called a septoplasty is used to straighten a crooked septum.

Nasal sprays do not help a deviated septum. There are several types of nasal spray that work in different ways. 

  • Saline nasal sprays can clear nasal passages
  • Glucocorticoid nasal sprays can reduce inflammation inside the nasal cavity and sinuses 
  • Antihistamine nasal sprays have some anti-inflammatory effects and can relieve nasal congestion
  • Decongestant nasal sprays shrink swollen nasal passages

If you have a cold, a stuffy nose, or allergies as well as a deviated septum, some of these sprays may alleviate symptoms, but none of them correct a deviated septum. Surgery is the only way to fix a deviated septum. 

What Is a Deviated Septum?

The nose is divided into two nostrils by bone and cartilage called a septum. When the septum is off-center, it is called a deviated septum. 

A deviated septum is a very common problem and it is estimated that up to 80% of people have one.

What Are Symptoms of a Deviated Septum?

A deviated septum may not cause any symptoms. If you have a deviated septum, you may experience the following:

  • Difficulty breathing through the nose, usually worse on one side
  • Stuffy nose, especially on one side
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Repeated sinus infections
  • Nosebleeds
  • Mouth-breathing during sleep in adults
  • Noisy breathing during sleep in infants and young children

What Causes a Deviated Septum?

In some cases, people are born with a deviated septum, and in other cases a deviated septum may be caused by any injury or trauma to the nose. 

QUESTION

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How Is a Deviated Septum Diagnosed?

A deviated septum is diagnosed with a patient history and physical examination of the inside of the nose. 

Tests used to diagnose a deviated septum include: 

What Are Complications of a Deviated Septum?

Complications of a deviated septum may include: 

  • Repeated nosebleeds
  • Mouth-breathing at night, which can worsen sleep disorders

Complications from surgery to fix a deviated septum (septoplasty) can include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Complications from anesthesia
  • Creation of a hole connecting the right and left sides of the nasal cavity (called a septal perforation)
  • Numbness of the upper teeth and nose
  • Change in the appearance of the external shape of the nose
  • Cerebrospinal fluid leak (extremely rare)

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Reviewed on 3/9/2021
References
https://www.uptodate.com/contents/deviated-septum-the-basics?search=Deviated%20Septum&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~34&usage_type=default&display_rank=1

https://www.enthealth.org/conditions/deviated-septum/

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/pharmacotherapy-of-allergic-rhinitis?search=nasal%20spray&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1