Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Deviated Septum

Frequently Asked Questions About Deviated Septum

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  • A severely deviated septum may lead to sleep apnea, as it disrupts proper nasal breathing during sleep
  • The most common signs of a deviated septum are nasal congestion and having difficulty breathing
  • A deviated septum that’s developed in the womb or during birth usually has an “S” or “C” shape, whereas those caused by an injury may have an irregular shape and a sharp angle

Q: Can a deviated septum cause sleep apnea?

A. Yes, a severely deviated septum may lead to sleep apnea, as it disrupts proper nasal breathing during sleep, causing you to breathe through your mouth. Once this happens, your upper airways will narrow and collapse, ultimately blocking your air intake during sleep.1,2

Q: How can you tell if you have a deviated septum?

A. The most common  signs of a deviated septum are nasal congestion and having difficulty breathing. You may also encounter the following symptoms if your septum is misaligned:3,4

Frequent sinus infections

Frequent nosebleeds

Headaches

Facial pain

Noisy breathing during sleep

Sleeping on your side, preferably opposite to the blocked nasal passage

Keep in mind that these symptoms may not always occur, especially if your nasal septum is only mildly deviated. Some people with mild septum deviation only experience these warning signs if they also have a common cold or an upper respiratory tract infection.5

Q: What does a deviated septum look like?

A. A deviated septum is not always visible on the outer surface of the nose. Your doctor may need a nasal speculum to see its shape and severity.6 A deviated septum that is developed in the womb or during birth usually has an “S” or “C” shape,7 whereas those caused by an injury may have an irregular shape and a sharp angle.8

Q: How do you get a deviated septum?

A. A deviated septum may develop during intrauterine life, when your nasal cavity is compressed by an external pressure.9 It may also be caused by trauma during birth. Studies show that intrauterine fetal position and mode of delivery also influence the development of this condition. 10 During adulthood, the septum may also deviate from its proper position after an injury to the nose.11

Q: What are the available treatment options for a deviated septum?

A. The initial treatment options for a deviated septum are aimed to manage the severity of its symptoms. Some conventional medications that your doctor may prescribe include decongestants, antihistamines and steroid sprays. However, these medicines may cause side effects, including jitteriness, nausea and sore throat, among others.12,13,14,15

You may opt to use natural remedies if you want to relieve your symptoms without the risk of side effects. Drinking hot liquids and breathing in steam are some of the ways to relieve congested nasal passages and reduce inflammation of the nasal tissues.16,17,18

Q: Is there a way to fix a deviated septum permanently?

A. If you want to fix your deviated septum for good, you may opt to undergo a septoplasty, a surgical procedure that improves nasal breathing by straightening the septum. Your surgeon will access your deviated septum by making a small incision to the side of your nose and lifting up the mucous membranes. Once the septum is moved to its proper location, your surgeon will then stitch it into place, along with the mucous membrane.19,20,21

This procedure is usually conducted under local or general anesthesia, and can be performed within 30 to 90 minutes.22 It may take your nose up to a year to fully heal.23

MORE ABOUT DEVIATED SEPTUM

Deviated Septum: An Introduction

What Is a Deviated Septum?

Deviated Septum Symptoms

Deviated Septum Causes

Deviated Septum Surgery

Deviated Septum Treatment

Deviated Septum Prevention

Deviated Septum Diet

Deviated Septum FAQ

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