Deviated Septum – Symptoms
A Deviated Septum usually doesn’t show any signs or symptoms. In most cases, you may have a Deviated Septum and not even realise it. However, sometimes, you may notice a few of the following symptoms:
- Obstruction of one or both nostrils – the blockage can make it difficult to breathe freely.
- Nosebleeds – can occur if the surface of your nasal septum becomes too dry
- Facial pain – in a severely obstructed nose, the inner nasal surfaces touch each other and cause pressure, resulting in pain on one side of your face.
- Noisy breathing during sleep – due to obstruction to airflow or swelling of the intranasal tissues.
- Preference for sleeping on a particular side – in order to optimize breathing through your nose if a nostril is narrowed.
- Awareness of the nasal cycle – it is normal for healthy nostrils to alternate being obstructed, one at a time. This is called the nasal cycle, which is a normal phenomenon. However, being aware of your nasal cycle isn’t normal and can indicate nasal obstruction such as a Deviated Septum.
Deviated Septum – Causes
A Deviated Septum occurs when the thin wall that separates your right and left nostril, is displaced to one side.
You may have a septal deformity due to the following reasons:
- Birth Defect – Deviated Septum may occur during fetal development and it is apparent at birth.
- Nose Injury – An injury to the nose during an automobile accident or contact sports like wrestling can displace the septum. In infants, an injury may even occur during childbirth.
With age, a Deviated Septum can worsen. Also, the narrow nasal passage caused due to a Deviated Septum can further get obstructed if you develop Rhinitis or Rhinosinusitis, swelling and irritation of nasal cavities and sinus cavities respectively.
Deviated Septum – Diagnosis
If you visit your doctor on suspicion of a septal deformity, your doctor may perform the following diagnosis –
- You will be asked for information about all your symptoms.
- A visual examination of your nostrils will be done using a bright light along with an instrument that spreads open your nostrils.
- The doctor may also check farther back in your nose with a thin, long and lighted scope.
- Your doctor may examine your nasal tissues before and after applying a decongestant spray.
Deviated Septum – Treatment
Initially, your doctor may prescribe medications to manage your symptoms. These include –
- Decongestants – to reduce nasal tissue swelling and keeping the nasal passages open.
- Antihistamines – to prevent a stuffy or runny nose, and conditions occurring with a cold.
- Nasal steroid sprays – to reduce swelling in your nasal passage and help with drainage.
Medications, however, only treat the symptoms of a Deviated Septum and don’t correct the deformity itself.
If your symptoms persist even after medications, you may consider a Septoplasty surgery to correct your Deviated Septum –
- The doctor reconstructs the septum and repositions it in the centre.
- Septoplasty can completely cure the nasal obstruction.
- However, it cannot cure the nasal or sinus allergies that affect the nasal tissue linings.
- Septoplasty can be combined with a Rhinoplasty i.e. a nose reshaping surgery.
Deviated Septum – Risks & Complications
If you have a severe case of Deviated Septum, it can lead to:
- Dry mouth, due to continuous breathing through the mouth
- Congestion in your nasal passages
- Disturbed sleep, due to not being able to breathe comfortably through your nose at night
Undergoing a Septoplasty surgery can lead to the following complications-
- Persisting symptoms, such as nasal obstruction
- Severe bleeding
- Altered shape of your nose
- Septal perforation (hole in the septum)
- Decreased sense of smell
- Blood clots in the nasal space
- Reduced sensation in the upper gum, teeth or nose
Deviated Septum – Pre Op Care
- Avoid eating or drinking anything 6-8 hours before surgery.
- Inform the doctor about all ongoing medication and supplements.
- Inform the doctor about allergies to Penicillin or any other drugs.
- You may have to undergo Blood tests, X-ray of chest or ECG before the surgery.
Deviated Septum – Post Op Care
- Take the prescribed pain medications.
- Keep your head elevated while sleeping.
- Avoid blowing your nose.
- Avoid clothes that have to be pulled over your head. Prefer wearing clothes that fasten in the front, to avoid hurting the nose.
- Avoid strenuous activities.
- Avoid driving.
- Avoid staying exposed in direct sunlight for more than 15 minutes.