North Richland Hills, TX

North Richland Hills and Grand Prairie, TX

North Richland Hills and Grand Prairie, TX

Do I Have a Deviated Septum?

Woman holding nose with a deviated septum suffering a headache and nasal pain.

Construction is essential to keep our highways and roads safe and properly working. But construction also causes backups. We’ve all been stuck in a construction-caused traffic jam. Even a small lane change can cause hundreds of thousands of cars on a freeway to slam on their breaks, and the whole system crawls to a slow.

Now, go with this for a minute on this one… your nostrils are sort of like a highway. Air goes in and out, mucus moves in and out, and both of these functions are necessary to keep you healthy. A piece of tissue, known as the septum, separates the right nostril (lane, if you will) and the left nostril.

But backups in your nose happen when that septum isn’t straight because it’s deviated. And, well, mucus can become similar to a traffic backup. The point is that when things slow down, problems start to occur, and your nose won’t function as it’s supposed to.

What’s a deviated septum?

Your left nasal passage and your right nasal passage are divided by a small strip of tissue called the septum. Normally, this is a straight piece of tissue. But this tissue can sometimes get pushed off to one side. Hence the name, “deviated septum”. So, you’re wondering: How do I get a deviated septum? Some individuals are born with a deviated septum and others have a traumatic incident that causes it.

A deviated septum can cause some persistent problems, like frequent (or lengthened) sinus infections or even difficulty breathing or sleeping. So you should get in touch with us or your provider about your options if you think you might have a deviated septum.

If I had a deviated septum, how would I know?

In some cases, a deviated septum can be relatively free of symptoms. But that’s not the case for everyone. A deviated septum will, in many cases, show numerous possible indications. Here are a few of the most prominent indications of a deviated septum:

  • Excess Snoring: A deviated septum can adversely affect your sleep cycle. For some people, this means louder snoring. For other people, it might end up causing sleep apnea or other sleep disturbances.
  • Reduced sense of smell: Like all organs, the instrument of your nose is fragile. When airflow is reduced due to injury or disturbance of your sense of smell can be compromised.
  • Sinus infections: One sinus infection most likely does not mean you have a deviated septum. But a deviated septum can make it hard for your nasal passages to correctly drain. With time, this can lead to persistent or repeated sinus infections. So, if every time you catch a cold, it develops into a sinus infection, a deviated septum could be at the root of your issue.
  • Postnasal Drip: There’s an internal interconnection between your ear, nose, and throat. So mucus will drip back down into your throat when your nose is blocked. Postnasal drip is the term for this. If you experience this sensation often, it may be because of a deviated septum.
  • Headaches: The normal drainage and flow of air can be disrupted by a deviated septum. Headaches (especially in the front of your head) can be the consequence.
  • Frequent nosebleeds: Moisture can’t necessarily get where it needs to be when you have a deviated septum (traffic jam). Your nasal cavities may, as a result, become dry. Regular nose bleeds can be the result.
  • Noisy breathing: While you’re asleep or during hard activity, your breathing can be noisy.
  • Facial Pain: Facial pain can also be an issue. This is because your nasal cavities and sinuses are experiencing a higher than normal level of pressure.
  • Nasal congestion: Congestion of one or both sides of your nostrils might make it hard for you to smell or breathe. Usually, this congestion will be more severe on one side than on the other, but it does depend on the degree of your deviated septum. You may have a deviated septum if you notice that your nostrils are regularly plugged.

So, what kind of symptoms will a deviated cause in you? It depends, you may experience all of these issues. Or, perhaps only a few will appear. Only your provider will be able to properly diagnose you.

How is a deviated septum diagnosed?

Needless to say, you’ll want to have it assessed once you start experiencing symptoms. So what should you anticipate when you come in to see us? A discussion about your medical history is the basic starting point. We will most likely ask about when your symptoms started, whether you’ve been snoring, and if you might have chronic sinus infections, that sort of thing. We’ll also likely want to discuss past nasal traumas or surgeries because each of those can raise the chances that you’re dealing with a deviated septum.

We will also do a physical exam. Normally, we will use specialized equipment to look up your nose. We may gently spread your nostrils to take a better look and see if we can determine the condition of your septum. We will check for obstructions or anything that isn’t the shape it should be.

We might also use several diagnostics, such as the following:

  • Nasal endoscopy: This requires inserting a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end of it inside of your nose to get a better look at what’s happening.
  • Allergy testing: Allergy tests are usually done since allergies can worsen nasal inflammation.
  • Imaging studies: This may include an MRI or a CT scan.

We can normally establish or rule out a deviated septum after these tests have been carried out.

Fixing a deviated septum

Naturally, once you recognize you have a deviated septum, the next step is treatment. Here are a few approaches we might take to deal with your deviated septum:

Approaches that don’t involve surgery

  • Medication: Nasal steroids or nasal decongestants are in this category. However, these typically address only surface level symptoms and not the main cause.
  • Nasal strips: These can help during sleep or some physical activities. They may be helpful in cases that are on the borderline.
  • Allergy management: If your allergies are adding to your clogged up nose, it makes sense to manage them as much as you can.

Surgical approaches

  • Turbinate reduction: There are little structures on the side of the nose known as turbinates. In some cases, they can become enlarged, exacerbating any nasal congestion you may be feeling. In some cases, in order to improve air and mucus flow, septoplasty is coupled with turbinate reduction surgery.
  • Rhinoplasty: This surgery is designed to more generally correct the shape of your nose. Rhinoplasty is often combined with septoplasty when used to manage a deviated septum.
  • Septoplasty: Sometimes called “deviated septum surgery,” septoplasty is a surgical procedure created to straighten a deviated septum. When done by an ENT, this surgery can effectively shift your septum. A deviated septum is frequently and effectively treated by this surgery.

Don’t waite to get help

If construction is causing a roadblock, traffic will clear up when the construction is finished. But when you’re dealing with a deviated septum, that’s not the case. Unless you take the correct steps, those traffic jams will keep happening.

So give us a call for an evaluation if you think you may have a deviated septum.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

Questions? Talk To Us.