If you have a deviated septum, you’re in good company. Researchers estimate that around 70-80% of all people have this condition, which can trigger breathing problems and other complications.
The board-certified providers at Advanced Specialty Associates in Baxter and St. Paul, Minnesota, have extensive experience diagnosing and treating many types of nose conditions, including deviated septums.
Our team also knows that it’s not always easy to tell if a deviated septum or another nasal issue is the cause of your symptoms. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about this common condition, how it can affect your quality of life, and how it can be treated.
You have a thin wall made of bone and cartilage that runs through the middle of your nose, which creates two chambers. If this wall — which is called the nasal septum — isn’t in the middle, you have what’s called a deviated septum.
Many people with a deviated septum are born with this imbalance, but it’s also possible to develop it or have a minor deviation worsen after a nose injury. Occasionally, a deviated septum can be caused by a connective tissue disease, such as systemic lupus.
Many people with a deviated septum don’t know they have the condition, because it doesn't always cause symptoms. For other people, a deviated septum can cause trouble with breathing and other issues. With this condition, it’s usually more difficult to breathe through one side of the nose than the other.
How much a deviated septum affects your life depends on the severity of the deviation and other factors, such as whether you have allergies or other breathing issues that can worsen the effects of a deviated septum.
If the deviation is minor, you might not have any symptoms, or they might only cause mild frustration. However, the more off-center the nasal septum is, the more pronounced the complications can be.
Here’s a look at some of the most common ways a deviated septum can impact your quality of life:
A deviated septum can make it hard to breathe through your nose. One side will typically feel clogged or blocked, especially if you exercise, have a cold, or experience seasonal allergies.
Since a deviated septum can block the nasal passages, this can make it more likely for mucus to get trapped. Since the bacteria that cause sinusitis thrive on mucus, having a deviated septum could increase your risk of getting chronic sinus infections.
Since a deviated septum can make it difficult for your sinuses to drain efficiently, you can have a never-ending runny nose. It can also lead to a stuffy nose and frequent nosebleeds from restricted air flow. And, if you have allergies, you could experience frequent post-nasal drip, which is when mucus drips from the back of your nose down your throat.
An increase in sinus infections can result in sinus pressure headaches. Some people with a deviated septum also get migraines and chronic facial pain.
The increased nasal congestion a deviated septum can cause can make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. Plus the condition can make mouth breathing at night more likely, which could trigger snoring and sleep apnea, which is dangerous to your health.
If you’re concerned you have a deviated septum that negatively impacts your life, don’t wait to schedule an appointment with Advanced Specialty Associates.
Your provider will meet with you to review your symptoms and respiratory history. Then they’ll examine your nose to check for a deviated septum.
Based on the severity of your symptoms and the degree to which your septum is deviated, your provider will design a personalized plan to treat your condition. For minor symptoms that don’t detract too much from your quality of life, they may recommend:
To fully correct a deviated septum, especially one that causes more severe symptoms, your provider may recommend surgical correction. With surgical correction, your provider will straighten your septum to allow for better air flow and to provide lasting relief.
To see if you have a deviated septum and to get treatment if you do, book an appointment online or over the phone with Advanced Specialty Associates today.