Your septum is a thin piece of tissue that divides your nostrils. Ideally, your septum would create two equally sized nostrils, so air could flow freely through your nasal passages. Unfortunately, that ideal is hard to come by, because up to 80% of people have septums that are off-center, or deviated, which can lead to complications.
While most people function perfectly well with a mild or moderate deviated septum, a significantly off-center septum can lead to a few problems, four of which we review here.
1. Difficulty breathing
One of the more serious side effects of a deviated septum is problems with breathing. With a moderate to severe deviation in which one nostril is quite smaller than the other, that smaller nostril can be more susceptible to blockages, such as congestion. That blockage can force the open nostril to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to getting air in and out.
The blockage may be constant or flare up with colds or allergies.
As you can imagine, if air isn’t flowing smoothly through your nasal passages, you’ll be more prone to snoring as you struggle to draw air in and out of your nose.
3. Mouth breathing
Another symptom of a deviated septum is mouth breathing, both during the day and at night when you sleep. If you find yourself favoring your mouth to breathe, this could be a sign that the deviation in your septum is severe enough that you find it preferable to avoid breathing through your nose.
4. Sinus infections
A deviated septum may interfere with how well your sinuses are able to drain. If they aren’t draining properly because of a deviated septum, you may be more vulnerable to sinus infections, or sinusitis.
Outside of the four complications of a deviated septum we list above, another one to keep an eye out for is nosebleeds.
Solutions for your deviated septum
If you have a deviated septum that’s leading to symptoms, there are several ways in which we can go about addressing the issues.
If you only have an occasional sinus infection, we can treat each as they arise. We can use this same approach for occasional or seasonal congestion.
If the side effects of your deviated septum are ongoing, we will likely recommend a septoplasty. During this minimally invasive procedure, the surgeon will go in through your nose and recenters your septum so you can breathe fully through both nostrils. We perform this procedure on an outpatient basis.
If you suspect that a deviated septum is behind a few problems you’ve been experiencing, call or book an appointment online with Houston Sinus Surgery today.