What Is a Deviated Septum?
The septum is
cartilage in the nose that separates the nostrils. Ideally, it is at the center
and divides the nostrils evenly. But this often isn’t the case. Many people
have an uneven septum, which makes one nostril larger than the other.
unevenness is known as a deviated septum. This can cause health complications
such as a blocked nostril or difficulty breathing.
An uneven septum
is very common. It requires medical attention only if it causes other health
issues or negatively impacts quality of life. According to The University of
Chicago Medicine, 80 percent off all septums are deviated to some degree (UCM).
What Causes a Deviated Septum?
symptom can be congenital. This means that a person was born with it. It can
also occur as a result of an injury to the nose. People often get these
injuries from contact sports, fighting, or car accidents. A deviated septum can
worsen with age.
What Are the Symptoms of a Deviated Septum?
Most people with
a deviated septum have only minor
deviations. Symptoms are unlikely in these cases. The most common symptom is difficulty breathing, especially through
the nose. For most people with a deviated septum,
one side of the nose is easier to breathe through.
include nosebleeds, sinus infections, or dryness in one nostril. People might
snore or breathe loudly when they sleep, or experience sleep disruptions. There
can be nasal congestion or pressure. Breathing through the mouth can result in
dry mouth. Severe deviation can be accompanied by facial pain.
You should see
your doctor if you frequently have nosebleeds or sinus infections. Also see a
doctor if breathing difficulty is having an impact on your quality of life.
How Is a Deviated Septum Diagnosed?
To diagnose a
deviated septum, your doctor will first examine your nostrils with a nasal
speculum. The doctor will check the septum’s placement and impact on the size
of the nostrils. He or she will also ask questions about sleep, snoring, sinus problems,
and difficulty breathing.
How Is a Deviated Septum Treated?
For most cases,
treatment is not necessary. To help with symptoms such as sinus infections,
treatment will focus on correcting that issue. Common treatments for symptoms
include decongestants, antihistamines, or nasal steroid sprays. Some people
find relief using nasal strips, which help to open both nasal passages.
Surgery is the
common treatment option for a seriously deviated septum if symptoms do not improve
with medication or other treatment attempts. The reconstructive surgery is
takes about 90 minutes and is performed under anesthesia. During the procedure,
a surgeon will make a cut in the septum and take out excess cartilage or bone.
This straightens the septum.
What Is the Outlook for a Deviated Septum?
septum may not cause any issues and be left alone. In some cases, a deviated
septum can lead to other complications. These include sleep apnea, snoring,
congestion, difficulty breathing, infections, or nosebleeds.