Are you breathing difficult or unable to breathe properly through the nose? You may have deviated septum that you are probably unaware of.
The nasal canal is the only source of breathing, and the majority o people in the world have minor to significant misalignment in their noses. No human body is perfect, so not every nose can be perfect. A minor misalignment of the nasal septum might not look prominent, but you will notice the difference if it is displaced enough.
So what is deviated septum, what are the causes and symptoms behind it, and how the deviated septum is treated? The blog post has gathered all the essential details for you.
What is a Deviated Septum?
The nasal septum is the thin but bendable wall between the left and right sides of the nose that is surrounded by blood vessels. The nasal septum lies exactly in the center, ensuring the left and right sides of the nose are equal in size; however, in 80% of people, the septum is not placed ideally in the center.
Not every person observes the displacement of the nasal septum if it is minor; however, if it is more deviated, there are chances that it might disturb your breathing mechanism.
People with deviated septum usually have one side of their nose wider while the other is narrower. This sometimes leads to a change in the airflow pattern; sometimes, a sinus blockage may occur, resulting in a sinus infection. The sinusitis or sinus infection keeps affecting the individual by appearing again in intervals and usually lasts longer.
The airflow pattern in the deviated septum affects the moisture inside the nose. It becomes dry and even results in nose bleeding. When a deviated septum interacts with dry airflow more often, it leads to more frequent crusting inside the nose.
What Causes a Deviated Septum?
Some people are born with a deviated septum. In contrast, others may develop it during any injury, trauma, or sports injury in which the nasal septum gets displaced from its position. Any swelling on the tissue lining that results from deviated septum can be severe and lead to nasal blockage.
A deviated septum may result from the following causes:
- A deviated septum may develop naturally in the fetus that appears at birth.
- Any injury that may displace the nasal septum from its center position.
- Aging can be the reason behind it, and if the person already has a deviated septum, the aging process may make it look more visible and even worsen it.
- Any minor face injury can affect the nasal septum. Some people who develop deviated septum right after any minor injury are unaware of when they damaged their nasal septum.
Deviated Septum Symptoms
It is unnecessary that every person with a deviated septum must show any sign or symptom following the deformity. Sometimes, it even goes unnoticed if the misalignment is not apparent. However, in some people, a deviated septum can be noticed from the following signs:
1. Nostrils Obstruction
People with a deviated septum may develop blockage or congestion in one or both sides of the nostrils. The obstruction in the airflow makes it difficult to breathe. The nostrils obstruction gets more severe if the individual has any allergy or catches a cold.
2. Nose Bleeding
Nose Bleeding is also frequent among those with a deviated septum. Due to the dry airflow exposure, the deviated septum starts bleeding or causes crusting.
3. Noisy Breathing During Sleep
If you have a deviated septum, you might breathe loudly while sleeping. This is because of the swelling of the tissues inside the nose. It may result in snoring or weird wheezing sounds. Obviously, you cannot tell about it, but the other person in the room can.
4. Altering the Nasal Cycle
If the person has a deviated septum, his nose obstructs in different patterns. For example, one side of the nose gets blocked, and the other side gets affected after some time.
5. Facial Pain
Some people may even complain of the facial pain that is caused due to the deviated septum. Under the severe condition of a deviated septum, one side of the face feels pain due to the nose putting pressure on the surface inside the nose.
6. Loss of Sense of Smell and Taste
Not all, but some people with a deviated septum have complained about losing their sense of taste and smell as the narrow nostril of one side of the nose does not allow them to smell properly.
Deviated Septum Treatment
See your doctor if you observe sinusitis more often, frequent nose bleeding, or blocked nostril. Your doctor may suggest further surgical or non-surgical treatments based on your symptoms to maintain your overall health and fitness.
How to fix a Deviated Septum without surgery?
If your ENT specialist suggests the non-surgical repair of the deviated septum, the primary focus would be to manage your symptoms.
The issue of nasal congestion is prevented through certain medications known as decongestants. These medications are prescribed as pills or a nasal spray, ensuring the airflow on both sides of the nose is open. However, some people habitually use nasal sprays, so the symptoms worsen once they stop using them.
2. Nasal Steroid Sprays
Individuals with swelling in their nasal passages are prescribed nasal steroid sprays to reduce swelling and maintain balance with the drainage. You might not feel its effects initially as these sprays take at least 2 to 3 weeks to show their effective results. For proper relief, you must use nasal sprays for a long time.
If you have an allergy that causes stuffy or runny nose or dry skin within the nose, your doctor may prescribe you Antihistamines to prevent the allergy symptoms. Antihistamines can stimulate the effect of drowsiness, so it is recommended not to perform such tasks which require physical coordination.
4. Nasal strips
These band-aids like strips uplift the sides of the nose, keeping the right airflow by opening the nasal passage. The nasal strips are also helpful in reducing snoring and can be found easily in any pharmacy.
5. Nasal valve support
The nasal valve support is placed inside the nose to remove nasal obstruction so you may breathe easily without discomfort.
The dry airflow inside the nasal passage can worsen the signs of deviated symptoms, and to prevent the condition, the use of a humidifier or vaporizer is suggested. The purpose of a vaporizer is to make the surrounding air moist so you may breathe the moisturized air and get rid of a stuffy nose.
7. Surgical treatments
You need to know a real ‘fix’ of a deviated septum is only possible through the surgical procedure. Medications can help you lessen the discomfort while breathing or improve nasal obstruction. Still, if you want to align or fix the deviated septum, you must consult your ENT specialist regarding the surgical repair, i.e., Septoplasty.
During Septoplasty, the cartilage or bone causing discomfort or obstruction during breathing is removed. During this surgical process, the patient is given general anesthesia. The process does not change the nose’s appearance but removes the deviated bone while preserving the shape of the septum.
The success rate of the deviated septum surgery is 40% to 80%, while a few patients have reported unsuccessful results after the surgery. In such cases, the patients choose to have another surgical round to improve the airflow.
In some cases, the doctors may combine Septoplasty with other surgical treatments such as Rhinoplasty, Turbinoplasty, and Cartilage Grafting. These procedures ensure that your deviated septum is straightened and the nasal obstruction is healed.
The nasal septum deviation is common among a large number of people. You might not even require treatment if the symptoms are not visible or discomforting your breathing mechanism.
Pharmaceutical and surgical alternatives can assist if your deviated septum is creating problems. Never try to correct a deviated septum on your own. Always consult an ENT specialist and follow his directions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the different types of deviated nasal septum?
In some people, the deviated septum may look like a ‘C’ or an ‘S,’ while some may look slightly tilted. Some individuals with deviated septum do not feel any obstruction or discomfort while breathing, while in some, the condition may lead to nasal blockage or sinusitis.
What are the risk factors of a deviated septum?
Although some people are born with a deviated septum, those involved in contact sports or driving vehicles without taking proper measures are more vulnerable to ending up with a deviated septum.
What are the complications of a deviated septum?
A deviated septum alters the breathing pattern, causes nasal passage congestion, and makes breathing difficult during sleeping hours.
How to prevent a deviated septum?
Those born with a deviated septum can align their septum through surgical treatments. However, to prevent deviated septum, you must consider wearing a helmet or a seat belt while driving.
What are the symptoms of a deviated septum?
Some of the symptoms of a deviated septum are loud snoring, nasal congestion, runny or stuffy nose, post-nasal drainage, and trouble tasting and smelling.
What is septoplasty?
Septoplasty is the surgical treatment in which a deviated septum is straightened by removing a nasal cartilage or bone that causes obstruction or discomfort while breathing. Septoplasty is performed by an ENT specialist who analyzes the causes and severity of the deviated septum and performs techniques based on these factors.