About symptoms related to a deviated nasal septum
The septum is the wall of tissue that lies between your nostrils. It is common for it to be somewhat displaced to one side or the other, and this is called a deviated septum. A slightly deviated septum is nothing to worry about, but when deviation is severe, it can block your airway and cause problems breathing. If you have a severely deviated septum, you may want to pursue treatment or even surgery to correct this and alleviate symptoms.
First, you need to determine whether you have a significantly deviated septum. The most obvious symptom is an obstructed nostril. It is normal for the nostril to be blocked a small degree alternating between right and left. This is known as the nasal cycle, and most of the time you will not be aware this is occurring. If you begin to become aware of this cycle, it may indicate nasal obstruction, potentially caused by a deviated septum.
A frequently obstructed nostril may also be correlated with regular nosebleeds. Additionally, you may find or be told that you breathe loudly during your sleep. If these symptoms cause discomfort, or you have them along with repeated sinus infections, you should contact your local doctor who can advise you on nasal issues and deviated septum.
Generally, there are two treatment options: either medication or surgery. The medications provide temporary relief of symptoms and include those designed to reduce congestion. They could be regular decongestants, antihistamines such as those used for allergies, or nasal steroids designed to reduce swelling.
Surgery for repairing a deviated nasal septum is called a septoplasty and is the only permanent solution to correcting a deviated septum. The invasiveness and effectiveness of this procedure depends on the severity of the deviated septum. However, it is normal for the obstructive symptoms to disappear entirely after a septoplasty.
What is right for you
Ultimately, a discussion with your ENT specialist will help you to decide which treatment option will be better for you. A septoplasty will provide a long term and perhaps a complete solution to your discomfort, but it is not without risk. It is a significant surgery and may cause both short-term and long-term difficulties. In the short term, it will be several weeks before you can casually perform activities that might jostle or bump your nose. In the long term, you might experience a change in your nose shape or a decreased sense of smell.
Although going to an experienced surgeon can help minimise risks, they will still be present. If your symptoms are occasional enough that you do not think you require surgery, medications can suffice. For some individuals, the deviated septum may only be noticed in the presence of other congestive problems. In these instances, the use of nasal sprays or antihistamines can aid in managing both circumstances.
As with any procedure, you need to consult your doctor thoroughly before moving ahead. However, treating your deviated septum and improving your breathing can definitely make you happier and more comfortable as you move through life. Nasal septoplasty is a safe and effective procedure. As long as you are healthy going into the surgery and take the proper precautions afterward, there should not be any serious problems.
If you have questions about what to do about a deviated septum contact your local doctor, who will arrange for you to see an ear nose and throat specialist.