Ideally, the bone and cartilage divider between your nostrils — called the septum — should divide your nostrils equally. But, for as many as 80% of Americans, the septum doesn’t divide the nostrils equally, which makes one passageway bigger than the other. This condition is called a deviated septum.
While minor cases don’t usually interfere with breathing, some people can be born with major septal deformities, or an injury could cause a significant displacement of the septum. Even then, you may not develop symptoms.
A deviated septum only becomes a problem when it interferes with breathing or causes other medical issues. If you develop problems related to your septum, Alexis Furze, MD, and his team in Newport Beach, California, can help.
Dr. Furze is a deviated septum specialist, and he can work with you to find the right solution. The first step is to get an accurate diagnosis, since the problems caused by a deviated septum can be similar to those that accompany other conditions. In this blog, he discusses six signs that you could have a deviated septum that requires treatment.
1. Nasal blockages
While many issues can block your nose and interrupt breathing, you may notice that one side suffers more often. You might experience this when you have expected respiratory issues, such as those associated with colds or allergies, or you may feel stuffed up when no other issue is present. Blockages will always favor the smaller side of your septum.
2. The nasal cycle
It’s normal for your nostrils to “take turns.” At times, one nostril can become blocked, and then the blockage can switch to the other nostril. Usually, you won’t be aware of this cycle. If it becomes obvious to you, it might be a sign that you’re having breathing difficulties related to a deviated septum.
The surfaces of the septum may dry out because of breathing difficulties. Nosebleeds may occur because of this drying and, in combination with other symptoms, it could point toward septum issues.
4. Pressure and pain
Severe cases of deviation might cause one-sided pressure or pain. It may be due to surfaces within the nose that are normally separated making contact with each other.
5. Changes to sleeping habits
If you begin to favor one side to sleep on, it could be related to a septum issue. You could make an involuntary decision to sleep on the side that opens your airways the widest.
6. Noisy breathing at night
Snoring or loud breathing can be an issue. Restrictions in the airways force air to accelerate through them, making tissue vibrations more likely. Sleep apnea, where your breathing stops altogether and your brain has to wake you to restart breathing, is a severe form of this problem.
Treating a deviated septum
If you have a deviated septum or think you might, Dr. Furze can give you the care you need and help you breathe well again. First, Dr. Furze gives you a thorough examination. Then, if he diagnoses you with having a deviated septum, he can discuss your treatment options.
The severity of your septum deviation as well as the intensity and duration of your symptoms will typically determine the course of treatment. He may recommend a conservative approach, such as nasal dilators, decongestants, or corticosteroid sprays. If the condition is more severe, he may recommend surgery to correct the septum.
To get the help you need, call 949-389-6673 to book an appointment with the practice of Alexis Furze, MD, today.