A deviated septum is a physical condition that commonly affects the nasal passage and is characterized by a deviation of the septum, separating the nostrils. As a result, one of the two nasal passages is narrower and can make breathing difficult. The blocked nasal passage could result in bleeding in some individuals.
Causes and Symptoms of Deviated Septum
A deviated septum can result from the inflammation of the tissues lining the nasal passage, deviation of the septum dividing the nostrils or trauma to the nose. Though quite rare, the condition can occur in newborns and is caused by the pressure on the septum during delivery.
Various studies have pointed out the association of septum deviation with other disorders including homocystinuria and Ehlers–Danlos syndrome.
In most individuals, the condition presents no apparent symptoms; but if it does, you should look for:
The condition may result in an excessive drying of the tissues lining the nasal passage and the septum, leading to an increased risk of nosebleeds.
Usually observed in infants and young adults, an inflammation of the septum often causes loud breathing during sleep. It is rarely seen in adults.
Another uncommon symptom is facial pain felt on the cheekbones, upper jaw and near the upper nasal passage.
Difficulty in breathing:
Other symptoms that may be noted include sleep apnea, snoring, intense and frequent sneezing and lower sensitivity to smell.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Deviated Septum
A thorough physical examination is the main diagnostic method for this condition. Mild symptoms are usually treated with sprays or decongestants; while a surgery may be recommended for acute conditions. Common treatment recommendations are as follows:
Sprays containing corticosteroids may help reduce inflammation in the septum along with improving breathing, relieving pain and enhancing sleep quality.
These may be effective in opening the nasal passages, thereby improving the flow of air. They can also help reduce the inflammation in the passage linings and are administered as oral medications and sprays.
These are used to prevent allergies or infections associated with the condition. They might also be effective in reducing nosebleeds.
Surgery or septoplasty:
Surgery is recommended when an individual is either non-responsive to the medications or has the acute form of the condition. Septoplasty involves the opening of the nasal passage and straightening of the deviated septum. The results vary depending on the level of deviation or severity of the condition.
Some complications associated with this condition include:
- Sleep complications like heavy breathing, sleep apnea and snoring
- Rashes and dryness caused by an obstruction in the nasal passage
- Respiratory infections
Even though a deviated septum may not be a serious condition, the right medications may help you breathe, sleep better and deal with the other symptoms effectively.
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