Can a deviated septum cause bad breat... - British Lung Foun...

British Lung Foundation

49,688 members59,643 posts

Can a deviated septum cause bad breathing problems?

DaveT81 profile image

Hi guys,

Among other problems I've had awful breathing issues for almost a year.

I've seen every specialist under the sun about my problems and I am currently being told I have some sort of neurological disorder.

However, over the past few months I've become increasingly aware that breathing through my nose has become more and more difficult, to the point that my body goes into full-on stress mode when it cant ger enough oxygen whilst breathing that way.

It's beginning to seem like it may be the underlying issue, as I breathe through my mouth a LOT, which is only meant to be the back up and I'm thinking I may have actually changed the way I breathe because of it which has causes these problems.

Just wanted to add - I don't know what post-nasal drip feels like, but I often get clear liquid running out of my nose, stop breathing when I'm really tired and falling asleep. My sinuses feel very tight and constricted, almost like they're being squeezed. But no pain that I've noticed at all.

Any ideas?

17 Replies

Perhaps your body and brain have got used to the oxygen/ carbon dioxide levels you have attained through mouth breathing, so when you try and nose breathe it makes you feel anxious, as the balance changes.

Have you tried nose breathing , gently, just for a few seconds so as not to cause panic....then gradually increase the time .

One way I can try and unblock my nose is to breathe OUT very gently....not a big breath....hold my nose for a few seconds then try gently, gently to try and breathe IN through my nose. Don't panic and try a big breath gentle with yourself and relaxed .

The idea is to use gentle breathing to steady yourself.

I used to mouth I try and close my mouth gently , but I do find I revert to mouth breathing if I don't take care.

I learnt to meditate using my breath rate as a first it worried me, as concentrating on my breath caused panicky feelings. But over time I got used to it and managed to slow my breathing rate and size of breath down....try a few minutes with relaxed body, with relaxed shoulders and belly especially.

My nose runs when I get up in the morning, maybe it's because I still mouth breathe at night.

Have your health professionals monitored your breathing pattern when you are talking , or at rest or anxious, in case you may have underlying hyperventilation?

Best wishes .

DaveT81 profile image
DaveT81 in reply to knitter

I have tried to force myself to nose breathe more recently, but it's almost like my nostrils/sinuses feel warm. It makes it really uncomfortable, like the air I'm breathing in isn't enough, or something.. too hard to explain!

No, doctors, specialists and generally agreed that there doesn't seem to be any underlying anxieties or anything that could cause hyperventilation. My breathing is just generally awful, 24/7. Has been for almost 12 months too.

I am considering trying yoga. I'm booked in to see a hypnotherapist nearby that comes highly recommended. He called earlier and seemed quite confident that he can help me.

Post-nasal drip is usually down the back of your throat, have you had a camera up your nose it should show what’s wrong , I have chronic sinusitis and can always breath through my nose even if it’s a bit blocked .

DaveT81 profile image
DaveT81 in reply to Petrie21

Yeah, I realised that as I was posting. Pretty dumb of me to not correct.

I've not had my sinuses or nose look into yet. I've had many, many health issues, all of which have been scanned, tested, etc. in the past 12 months. Sinuses isn't one of them! Yet

Maybe consider polyps in your nasal sinuses, they can cause nostrils to seal & prevent breathing. Initially & for many years they don’t cause any issues other than occasional infections & allergy type symptoms.

DaveT81 profile image
DaveT81 in reply to powderpuff

Thank you, it definitely feels like there's something blocking my airways a little bit. I'll have to get that looked at soon!

Hello Dave.

I had a deviated septum. It can cause lots of issues like sleep apnea, snoring, congestion, difficulty breathing, infections, or nosebleeds. Mine was causing chronic sinusitis with mainly, inflammation and post nasal drip. I eventually had a septoplasty and I have been much better since then. So, yes a deviated septum can cause all sorts of havoc. If you can, perhaps discuss your options with an otolaryngologist.

I hope you feel better very soon. 😊

Cas xx 🙋

Lee1945 profile image
Lee1945 in reply to Caspiana

I suffered with a deviated septum as well. It was caused by damage to my nose when .....I fell down 13 stairs a baby walker!

It was only discovered about 15 years ago and I am now 74!!

Had the op which takes minutes and was able to go home the next day but had to rest at home (away from people) to avoid infection for two weeks.

Caspiana profile image
Caspiana in reply to Lee1945

I'm afraid mine took more than minutes 😞I was awake for it because they couldn't give me a general anaesthetic and recovery was not easy at all. But it was worth it in the long run. xx 😊

Lee1945 profile image
Lee1945 in reply to Caspiana

I was also awake for it as they are reluctant to give anaesthetic for this op.

However, like you said , it has made an enormous difference so was worth it in the end.

I was also fortunate as I had NO bruising which was a blessing too x

I mouth breathe, just can’t permanently change it. My GP sent me to have my nose looked at and it was full of polyps. Had these removed which really helped. At the same time I was told I had a deviated septum. It means I can only lie on one side at night as I just can’t breathe through the other nostril and am starting to get ear and sinus problems on the ‘bigger’ Side so am going to have to get it sorted

Lee1945 profile image
Lee1945 in reply to Sparkywoo

Do get it done - it will change your life x

Hi Dave, I had an infection about 18 months ago which didnt clear up and it infected my sinus's. I was on anitbiotics and steroids for a while but nothing worked. I finally got sent to ent and am booked to have a sinus op next month, they will straighten the bend in my nose at the same time as this is holding infections. I would get your sinus's checked as this could be your problem. Good luck x

DaveT81 profile image
DaveT81 in reply to Izb1

It's funny you mention that, I had a weird virus for 3-4 days just before all of my problems started last year and I've since noticed that I have real issues breathing through my nose. I will definitely mention this to the ENT when I finally see one later this year.

Ask to be referred to an ENT consultant

DaveT81 profile image
DaveT81 in reply to Lee1945

THanks Lee1945, I am waiting on an appointment with the ENT consultant but the NHS being what it is, that's taking a looooong time.

Hey there Dave,

I have the exactly the same problem you do because of a deviated septum, it causes me to feel like I just can not get enough breath in through my nose. (technically you are not).

I find laying down at night makes it worse, and anxiety can kick in and I know form what the specialist told me that mouth breathing makes you anxious, it upsets your CO2/oxygen levels. I have started to use those nasal strips to open the nasal passages at night, and a steroid nasal spray to help clear them. And trying consciously to only nose breath, even through the feeling of suffocating. It does help a little, but there is always that feeling I can not get a good breath in.

Though I do have asthma, my lungs seem clear. My GP thinks it is undiagnosed, stress and anxiety, which can both cause the feeling we describe. I am not convinced and have put a separate post up about just that.

All the best.

You may also like...