What is Deviated Septum?
When Does a Septum Deviate?
The thin wall inside the nose is called the nasal septum. It is what separates the left and the right nasal cavities. Ideally it is at the center of the nose and separates both sides. When this thin wall is displaced to one side, this is what is called a deviated septum.
Almost all individuals have a deviated septum, statistically 80 percent of the people have it. When it is displaced, it makes one of the nasal passages smaller than the other. More severe cases can actually block the air passage on one side of the nose.
Causes of Septum Deviation
A deviated septum may be a condition already present during birth. It happens at the time when the fetus is still developing but is apparent upon birth. The more common cause, however, are nasal injuries. All kinds of accidents that may hit the nasal septum and cause it to be knocked out of position may probably result to a deviated septum.
Symptoms of Deviated Nasal Septum:
When you have a minor deviated septum, you may not know that you have it. However if you have a severe deviation, you may be experiencing the following signs and symptoms:
- Nasal congestion: A deviated septum causes postnasal drip, which happens when the mucus is blocked from coming out of the nose and will instead drip and stay at the back of the throat.
- Obstruction in one or both nostrils: The obstruction will cause difficulty in breathing, which will be more obvious when you experience colds, allergies, or upper respiratory tract infection and make your nasal passages narrower.
- Recurring sinus infections: The mucus that is constantly blocked is what causes the sinus infections. This is marked by frequent headaches and facial pains.
- Noisy breathing during sleep: This symptom is usually present in infants or young children with a deviated septum.
- Nosebleeds: There is an increased risk of nosebleeds because the septum becomes dry.
Deviated Nasal Septum Surgery:
While there are medications that will help treat deviated septum, these are just temporary fixes. To permanently correct the problem, a surgery is required. In septoplasty, the nasal septum will be repositioned back to the center of the nose. Reshaping the nose or rhinoplasty may also be performed to readjust the cartilage in the nose and the bone to change its size or shape or both.