How to Find out If your Congested Nose is due to a Deviated Septum or Enlarged Turbinates

If you frequently suffer from a congested nose, you may think it is because of a deviated septum. However there may be another cause, enlarged turbinates. This article will give you information on the turbinates as well as the deviated septum.

Nasal Septum Deviation

The septum inside your nose is composed of both cartilage and bone. Its main function is to divide your nose into two equal halves i.e. the left and right breathing passages. As long as the septum remains straight, it will permit air to flow in a free manner. However if crooked or deviated, one part of your airways will be blocked. If the deviation is severe, then one part of your nose may be completely blocked. This is one of the major reasons behind frequent nasal congestion.

This deviation can take a number of different forms. It can be deviated in only one side of the nose or in both sides at different places. These deviations can occur due to a myriad of reasons. No matter the cause, for major deviations of the septum, surgery is the only cure available.

While one of the most common causes, another cause of your congestion may be enlarged turbinates.

What is a Turbinate?

Turbinates are large scrolls made up of bone. They are present on the side walls inside the nose. This bone is covered with a pink lining of cells which

The three turbinates

contain blood vessels. The major function of these turbinates is to warm and humidify the air as it passes through the nose into the throat and subsequently to the lungs.

There are in total three turbinates:

  • Inferior turbinate
  • Middle turbinate&
  • Superior turbinate

Of all the three, the inferior turbinate is the one which causes congestion of the nasal passageway. This occurs when the thick lining of the inferior turbinate swells up and increases in size. When this happens, it will close up the nasal passageway, hence the congested nose. This can occur due to a plethora of causes. From allergens to infections, anything can cause the swelling of your turbinates. But this can be cured by medication and at times with surgery. So make sure to check with your ENT specialist, unlike a deviated septum where the only permanent cure is surgery, here in some cases medication does work.

Author: Perumal G.

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