When you close your mouth and breathe through your nose, does air flow evenly through both sides? If you find it difficult to breathe through one or both sides of your nose, you may have a deviated septum.
Some people live their whole lives without knowing they have a deviated septum. But, for others, this condition can cause significant problems.
At our practice in Newport Beach, California, Dr. Alexis Furze has extensive experience helping people breathe easier. Read on to learn how a deviated septum can impact your life and what you can do to take back control of your breathing.
What is a deviated septum?
Inside your nose, there’s a wall of cartilage that creates two chambers called the nasal septum. When this wall shifts significantly away from the midline, you have what's called a deviated septum.
Many people with deviated septums don’t know it because they don’t have any symptoms. For others, deviated septums can create breathing trouble, frequently impacting one side more than the other.
What causes a deviated septum?
The septum can deviate or become crooked after an injury to the nose. However, many people are born with a deviated septum. In other words, deviated septums can occur in people who have never injured or broken their noses.
How does a deviated septum impact my life?
Nobody has a perfectly balanced nose. In fact, specialists believe about 80% of people have some degree of misalignment in their septum.
When the imbalance becomes more pronounced, however, it can have a serious impact on your life. Here are the top signs your deviated septum is a problem:
Trouble breathing through the nose, or one side of the nose, is the most common symptom of a deviated septum. This can make physical activity challenging, and it can become even more noticeable when you have a cold.
For many people, a deviated septum negatively impacts their sleep. That’s because the nasal congestion it causes can make it hard to fall or stay asleep. What’s more? A deviated septum can cause mouth breathing, snoring, and even sleep apnea.
Chronic sinus infections
With a deviated septum, your nasal passage is blocked. And the more blocked your airway is, the greater your chances of developing frequent sinus infections since bacteria are more likely to grow in areas with excess mucus.
Chronic headaches and pain
A deviated septum often leads to chronic sinus infections, which can trigger sinus pressure headaches and migraines. These headaches can create pressure and pain in the face, and while they typically occur equally on both sides they can sometimes be localized to the side of the head where the septum deviates.
Frequent stuffy nose or post-nasal drip
Since air can’t flow easily through your nasal passages, a deviated septum can make your nose feel stuffy. In addition, the deviation can block proper sinus drainage and increase post-nasal drip — especially in patients with allergies and colds.
Nosebleeds are unpredictable and can ruin your day. When you have a deviated septum, airflow is restricted. This can dry out the delicate membranes in your nose, making you more prone to unpleasant nosebleeds.
Are treatment options available for a deviated septum?
Yes! Thanks to developments in modern medicine and technology, you can breathe easy even with a deviated septum. Treatment for a deviated septum depends on the severity of the problems it’s causing.
Dr. Furze will meet with you and review your history to create a treatment plan that best suits your needs. For minor problems, Dr. Furze will start with the least invasive treatments. Nasal steroid sprays, decongestants, or nasal dilators can ease symptoms and provide temporary relief.
These more conservative treatments do not remedy the underlying cause, and further treatment may be required for lasting relief. In more severe cases or for permanent relief, a septoplasty may be required.
A septoplasty is a surgical procedure to correct a deviated septum. It straightens the septum, allowing for better airflow through your nose. Dr. Furze has extensive experience performing successful septoplasties, helping more than 15,000 patients to breathe freely.
Are you ready to breathe easier?
To find out how you can get relief from the problems associated with a deviated septum, contact our office in Newport Beach, California.