Your nasal septum is a thin inner wall of bone and cartilage covered by mucosal tissue that separates your right and left nasal cavities. When your nasal septum runs right down the middle of your nostrils, each side receives equal space for all that breathing you do. When your nasal septum is crooked or displaced (deviated), one side ends up smaller than the other. That can make it hard to breathe.
This crookedness may be significant enough that it’s easily visible in the external shape of your nose or so slight you’d be surprised to learn your septum is deviated. The truth is that an estimated eight out of 10 people in the United States have a deviated nasal septum and many go through life without experiencing any problems.
Sometimes, however, a deviated nasal septum can create a variety of symptoms that are hard to ignore and may interfere with your overall health. Our board-certified specialists at Houston Sinus Surgery are well-acquainted with the problems a deviated nasal septum can cause.
We’re happy to share five warning signs to watch for, some of which may surprise you, and provide insight about the surgical fixes available for a deviated septum: septoplasty and rhinoplasty.
A deviated nasal septum can cause:
1. Difficulty breathing
When one nasal cavity is significantly smaller than the other, it can be difficult to breathe through your nose. This symptom may be most noticeable at night when you’re trying to sleep, or it can interfere with your breathing during exercise or sports activities.
You may need to compensate with persistent mouth breathing, which dries and irritates your oral mucosa and can eventually damage your teeth. Saliva is a protectant that helps wash away debris that attract decay-causing bacteria.
2. Frequent nosebleeds
A deviated septum makes it harder for air to move through your nasal passages, which dries the moist membranes lining your nose and makes you more prone to nosebleeds.
3. Nasal congestion and repeat sinus infections
When half of your nose is blocked, the result is often nasal congestion and inflammation that makes it hard for your sinuses to drain. This can lead to repeat sinus infections and other symptoms, such as postnasal drip, that may be mistaken for colds or allergy-driven issues. And if you have allergies, a deviated septum can significantly worsen your nasal symptoms.
The congestion associated with a deviated nasal septum can cause stuffiness and often debilitating headaches related to the pressure building in your sinuses.
5. Snoring, sleep disturbance, and worsening sleep apnea
A deviated septum can cause loud snoring and make it difficult for you and your household to remain asleep. It can also contribute to sleep apnea, a serious condition that causes you to stop breathing during sleep.
Surgery to fix a deviated nasal septum
At Houston Sinus Surgery, when conservative treatment with nasal sprays and other medications fail, we offer septoplasty to correct the alignment and function of your nasal septum. It’s an outpatient procedure done here at our Houston facility by Dr. Yeung and requires no external incisions. You can typically expect to return to work and other normal activities within a week.
Rhinoplasty may be a better option if you’re experiencing problems with a deviated septum and are also bothered by the shape, size, or crooked appearance of your nose. As a board-certified facial plastic surgeon who’s highly regarded for his surgical skill, Dr. Yeung uses his meticulous attention to detail to provide outstanding, cosmetically pleasing rhinoplasty results that can increase your self-confidence and help you breathe normally.
You can rely on the expertise of Dr. Cecil Yeung and our team at Houston Sinus Surgery to provide effective treatment with optimal results for your deviated nasal septum. Call the office today or book your visit online by clicking the “request appointment.”