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Deviated Septum

What is a deviated septum?

A deviated septum describes the displacement–or deviation–of the thin wall between your nostrils, which is called the nasal septum. When the nasal septum is displaced, it usually results in one of the nostrils becoming smaller. In severe cases, this may cause difficulty breathing, dry air in the nose, bleeding, or stuffiness/nasal blockages. When this occurs, a physician may recommend medications or deviated septum surgery to remedy the underlying problem.

What are the most common deviated septum causes?

Commonly, displacement of the nasal septum is the result of a forceful blow to the nose. This causes the nasal septum to move to one side. This can occur after due to one of the following:

  • Sports injury
  • Car accident
  • Direct blow to the face
  • Falling down and hitting the nose

Additionally, a deviated septum could occur at birth. During fetal development, the nasal passages sometimes develop a deviation naturally. Depending on the severity, the deviated septum may be noticed at birth or go undetected for years.

What are the most common deviated septum symptoms?

The symptoms of a deviated septum can vary greatly. In some cases, a person may not even notice that they have a deviated septum until an ear, nose, and throat physician diagnoses it. Some of the signs that could indicate a deviated septum include:

  • Feeling of dryness in nostrils
  • Recurring sinus infections/sinusitis
  • Facial pain
  • Chronic nosebleeds
  • Noisy breathing/snoring/sleep apnea
  • Nasal blockage/obstruction/stuffy nose
  • Needing to sleep on one side in order to breathe better

How is nasal septum deviation diagnosed?

Your general physician may look at your nose to diagnose a deviated septum. However, when treatment is needed, an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor) will likely be recommended. An ear, nose, and throat doctor can diagnose and treat a deviated septum. In order to diagnose the condition, your doctor will place a small lighted instrument at the base of your nose and examine the nasal passageway. After a thorough exam, your doctor will talk to you about the severity of your condition and walk you through your treatment options when needed.

Can a deviated septum lead to complications if left untreated?

A severely deviated septum can cause nasal obstruction, and in turn, lead to the following health complications:

  • Tension/pressure headaches
  • Dry mouth/dry air feeling
  • Deviated septum snoring
  • Deviated septum sleep apnea (OSA)
  • Poor sleep hygiene
    • Daytime fatigue
    • Irritability
    • Lack of focus

What is the best deviated septum treatment?

At New York ENT, our physicians have experience diagnosing and treating deviated septums, as well as providing guidance through your deviated septum recovery. We may recommend treating a deviated septum with the following treatment options:

  • Septoplasty surgery (deviated septum surgery) to reposition the septum and create symmetry
  • Decongestants to reduce nasal passage swelling
  • Nasal sprays to help open airways and relieve inflammation
  • Antihistamines to alleviate allergy symptoms

If you are suffering from a deviated septum, the first step is to consult with a sleep health expert. Ear, nose, and throat specialists at eos sleep have extensive experience in treating ear, nose, and throat conditions as well as sleep-related problems. Call 1-212-873-6036 today or fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment or to learn more about eos sleep treatment options.

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