A septum is the wall of cartilage that divides your nose into two separate parts. Ideally, this wall runs straight down the middle of your nose, but in many people, this wall is off-center. A deviated septum may restrict airflow and cause other problems that can negatively affect breathing and your overall quality of life. Continue reading to better understand this condition and the treatments available.
Causes of a Deviated Septum
For many people, a deviated septum is present at birth and can worsen as you naturally grow. It can also happen if you’re injured while playing sports, falling, being in a car accident, or getting hit in the nose.
Symptoms of a Deviated Septum
The majority of people who have a deviated septum experience no symptoms, and some don’t even realize their septum is displaced at all. However, some people with a septal displacement may experience any of the following symptoms:
- Consistent nasal discharge
- Reoccurring sinus infections
- Dry mouth
- Sleep apnea
- Noisy breathing
- Facial pain
While these symptoms can be uncomfortable and disruptive to your daily routine, you do not have to live with them. If you are experiencing signs of a deviated symptom, you should reach out to your doctor to discuss potential solutions.
Treatments for a Deviated Septum
If you’re experiencing symptoms from a deviated septum, there are many treatment options available. In some cases, your doctor may recommend treating your deviated septum with medications such as decongestants (to reduce nasal tissue swelling), antihistamines (to prevent a stuffy or runny nose), or nasal steroid sprays (to reduce swelling and help with drainage). These medications may be effective in treating your symptoms, but they can also cause side effects. For example, antihistamines can make some people feel drowsy.
If medication fails to provide enough relief or you want to stop taking it because of side effects, your doctor may recommend a septoplasty. Unlike medication, this procedure surgically corrects your deviated septum instead of only treating the symptoms.
What to Expect During a Septoplasty?
This surgery is considered an outpatient procedure that usually takes only an hour or two to perform, meaning you can often go home the same day. To begin the procedure, your surgeon will use local anesthesia to numb the area and general anesthesia to put you to sleep. Once you are safely unconscious, they will straighten and reposition your septum to place it in the center of your nose. After your surgery, you will likely have a splint on your nose and nasal packs to help stabilize your septum. To make your healing more comfortable, pain medication and medication to help prevent infection will be given to you for use at home.
You may have symptoms such as soreness, bruising, and swelling, especially around the tip of your nose. It may take a few months for you to fully recover from the procedure. Before your surgery, your doctor will let you know everything you can expect and when you can expect to return to your normal activities.
If you have a deviated septum, it can cause uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptoms. Thankfully, there are many effective treatment options available to you. By talking to your doctor, they can recommend the right course of action for you, whether that be through medications or surgery. If you notice your symptoms are negatively impacting your life, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider to get the relief you deserve.