Septum is a wall consisting of cartilage and bone that is separating our two nostrils. Ideally, it would be perfectly mid-line. But, this is not usually the case. Per certain studies, almost 80 percent of the population has a deviated septum. So how can someone determine if their septum is not perfect, are there any complications following and how to deal with having a deviated septum.
What is a deviated Septum?
If the bone and cartilage that divide our nose in half aren’t perfectly mid-line, it is considered a deviated septum. Not many people realize that, but every four out of five people have this condition. It is sometimes unnoticeable because the septum isn’t crooked enough to create serious problems. Usually, if the septum is offset by a small margin, it will go unnoticed and won’t need treatment. More serious deviations of the septum can block one of the nasal cavities. This can cause reduced airflow and make difficulty breathing.
Causes of deviated Septum
Deviation of the septum can be caused by a condition already present at birth. This condition can occur during the development of a fetus and it can be noticed at birth. This condition can also be caused by a nose injury. Usually, from a hit on the septum, it must be strong enough to move it out of place. This can occur during childbirth. Tripping and hitting your nose is enough to deviate the septum. Car accidents and contact sport can cause a trauma strong enough to move your septum out of perfect alignment. As we age, the structure of our nose can change. If there was a deviation already, it could be worsening as we get older.
Usually, this condition can go unnoticed and without severe symptoms. But some deformities of the septum can cause more serious symptoms.
Obstruction of one or both nostrils which can make it difficult to breathe through your nose. This can be more evident if a person has a cold or allergies, this will make nasal passages to swell up and narrow themselves. One of the symptoms is often nosebleeds. The surface of your septum becomes dry, due to the restriction of airflow, which results in nosebleeds. Infants and children that have a deviated septum might experience loud breathing during sleep.
Preferring to sleep on a side to breathe more easily through the nose is also a symptom of having a deviated septum. In some cases, the deviated septum can in some cases, the deviated septum can cause sleep apnea. This is a serious disorder in which a person stops breathing during sleep, this can occur up to hundreds of times a night.
At often, symptoms of a deviated septum can be managed. The doctor might prescribe decongestants to a patient. These will reduce the swelling in the nasal cavity and stop airflow restriction. They come in the form of nasal spray or a pill. But be careful when using a nasal spray, it is a stimulant and can cause dependency. Antihistamines are used to treat allergies when there is an obstruction in the nose. For inflammation in the nose, steroid nasal sprays should be used.
In more serious cases of deviation, surgical treatment might be the only option. The procedure is called septoplasty. Septoplasty will straighten and reposition your septum. The level of improvement heavily depends on the severity of condition before the procedure. Sometimes, rhinoplasty is performed alongside septoplasty to reshape the nose.
If the deviation of the septum is small, it can go untreated and without causing serious symptoms. If the condition is more severe, it will require treatment. There are many ways to manage symptoms, including nasal sprays and antihistamines. In case the condition is serious, it might require a surgical procedure.