Deviated septum : Causes, Symptoms and Management
About Deviated septum
The human nose is an essential gateway into the outside world, allowing us to take in our environment’s aromas, tastes, and subtleties. But what occurs if the complex mechanism is obstructed? A deviated septum affecting millions of people globally is one frequent cause.
This article will examine the causes, signs, and possible remedies for this nasal disease.
Symptoms of Deviated septum
- Nasal congestion
- Difficulty breathing
- Recurring sinus infections
- Snoring and sleep apnea
- Facial pain
The severity and presentation of symptoms can fluctuate from person to person. While some persons with a deviated septum may only have minor signs or none, others may face more severe problems that may impact their everyday life.
Chronic nasal congestion
- Chronic nasal congestion is a defining sign of a deviated septum. A constant feeling of stuffiness is brought on by the obstruction the misaligned nasal septum causes, which can prevent normal airflow through one or both nostrils.
Having difficulty breathing
- The deviation may cause the nasal airways to become constrained, making it challenging to breathe easily via the nose. This may result in a feeling of restricted airflow and more effort required to breathe.
- It may obstruct natural sinus mucus drainage, increasing the likelihood of sinus infections. Recurrent episodes of sinusitis marked by facial pain, pressure, nasal discharge, and headaches may result from the stagnant mucus providing a favorable habitat for bacteria to thrive.
- The nasal blood vessels may be more prone to irritation and rupture due to the altered nasal anatomy and persistent dryness. Regular nosebleeds could result from this.
Insomnia and snoring
- Snoring and sleep apnea can both be impacted by a deviated septum. A loud, unpleasant snore may come from the misalignment’s restriction of airflow, which can create roughness and the shaking of tissues in the throat and nose.
- In severe cases, it can also affect sleep apnea episodes, in which breathing is temporarily stopped while you are asleep.
A facial pain
- Certain people may have facial pain or headaches if the deviation obstructs the sinus passages or causes pressure imbalances within the nasal cavity.
- The changed nasal airflow may obstruct normal mucus flow, causing more mucus to leak down the throat.
- This may result in an ongoing cough, irritation of the throat, and a lumpy feeling in the throat.
- Chronic rhinitis, characterized by continual nasal irritation, sneezing, and nasal discharge, can be worsened by ongoing nasal inflammation and congestion.
- Recurrent headaches can occur in people with a deviated septum, especially if they are brought on by ongoing sinus issues or interfere with regular drainage.
What causes a Deviated septum?
- Nasal injury or trauma
- Nasal tumors or polyps
- Environmental factors
It can have a variety of origins; some people are born with it, while others experience it later in life due to nasal trauma or other circumstances. Here are a few typical reasons:
- Some people get it from birth as a result of abnormal fetal growth. Due to intrauterine placement or hereditary causes, the septum may be misaligned from birth.
- The nasal septum may move or deviate due to a severe blow to the nose or damage. This might happen due to mishaps, sports-related injuries, physical changes, or any other situation when the nose gets hit hard.
- With time, it may occasionally organically change or vary. Over time, the septum’s alignment can change due to the gradual deterioration of the nose’s supporting tissues and cartilage.
Nasal growth abnormalities
- Tumors and polyps are two conditions that can strain the septum and lead to getting out of alignment.
- Long-term contact with environmental irritants, including allergies, pollution, or persistent nasal congestion, can be a factor.
- The location of the septum might progressively change due to the ongoing swelling and inflammation of nasal tissues.
- Since both of their parents have a deviated septum, there may be a hereditary predisposition to the problem, making their children more likely to have it themselves.
Diagnosis of Deviated septum
- Your doctor will inquire about your symptoms, medical background, and any prior nose injuries or other relevant symptoms.
Inspection of the body
- To examine the nasal passages, they apply a nasal speculum, a tool that softly opens the nostrils.
The nasal endoscopy
- This may be done in rare circumstances to better look at your nasal passages. A thin, flexible tube with a light and camera is placed into your nose to inspect the nasal anatomy thoroughly.
- In some circumstances, imaging studies like X-rays and CT scans may be prescribed to assess the degree and scope of the abnormality.
Treatment of Deviated septum
Treatment of Deviated septum involves several approaches from managing symptoms to post surgery care, as follow:
- The airflow through the nasal passages can be improved using over-the-counter decongestants or nasal steroid sprays to ease nasal congestion and reduce inflammation. However, they cannot treat the underlying issue and only offer temporary comfort.
- They are tools that can be put into the nostrils to help maintain the opening of the nasal passages. Increasing airflow might offer relief, but they are not a permanent solution.
- If allergies are a factor in your inflammation and congestion of the nasal passages, controlling your allergies with drugs, avoiding triggers, and allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots) may help ease symptoms.
Surgery may be advised if non-surgical treatments are ineffective or the significant deviation results in substantial issues.
- An ENT doctor will carefully assess your health and decide whether septoplasty is the best line of action for your specific case.
Surgery on a deviated septum
- General anesthesia is typically used during septoplasty procedures. To access the septum, the surgeon creates a cut inside the nostril.
- The septum is then carefully straightened and repositioned, removing any extra bone or cartilage as necessary.
- The nasal passage lining is adjusted and sutured back into place after the required adjustments.
- The wound is stitched up with dissolvable sutures.
- Provide support, help manage to bleed, and promote routine healing; the surgeon may occasionally insert nasal packing or splints within the nose.
- You may have swelling, bruising, and nasal congestion following the procedure. Doctors may give nasal sprays and painkillers to relieve discomfort and promote recovery.
- Although recovery times vary, most patients can return to regular activities in a week or two. Complete recovery, however, can take a few weeks to months.
Taking care after surgery
- You can keep your nasal passages clean by gently washing them with saline solution or applying nasal sprays as instructed. This lessens crusting and keeps the nasal passages wet.
- For the first week, refrain from blowing your nose forcefully to avoid damage or disturbing the healing tissues.
- To manage any discomfort or pain following surgery, use painkillers as directed by your physician.
- Get plenty of rest and avoid doing activities for the first week. This reduces the possibility of problems while promoting healing.
- To reduce swelling, keep your head up when you sleep or relax.
- Avoid being around irritants, including dusty environments, harsh chemical odors, and cigarette smoke.
- While the nose heals, take care to avoid any trauma. Avoid any unintentional bumps or injuries to your nose.
- Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments to keep track of your recovery’s progress and manage any potential issues or difficulties.
- The post-operative care instructions may change Depending on your case and the surgeon’s preferences.
- Contact your surgeon immediately if you develop extreme bleeding, pain, worsening symptoms, or evidence of infection.
What is the prognosis?
- The severity, presence of coexisting symptoms, and treatment efficacy are some factors that affect the prognosis of a deviated septum.
- The prognosis and symptom control may be affected by actions taken to control lifestyle variables such as smoking, nasal trauma, and allergen exposure.
- The prognosis is generally good, and symptoms are frequently successfully treated with suitable therapies.
A deviated septum is expected when the little wall separating the nasal passageways is out of alignment. A healthcare professional, such as an ENT specialist, must conduct a proper diagnostic and evaluation for correct assessment and treatment planning.