No nose is perfect. In fact, most of us have noses that are slightly crooked and could benefit from deviated septum surgery (septoplasty)—a procedure where the center of the nose, or septum, is straightened and aligned.
You’ve surely seen people with severely curved noses. They’re obvious candidates for deviated septum surgery. Yet many of us have deviated septums and that condition can lead to trouble breathing and sleeping and is often related to the potentially life-threatening condition of sleep apnea.
Read: What is Sleep Apnea?
Here are 5 symptoms of a deviated septum. Not all people with a deviated septum will experience these symptoms. However, if you recognize these symptoms, our ear, nose and throat doctors in Salt Lake City can diagnose and treat your deviated septum.
Deviated Septum Symptom #1: Difficulty Breathing
A misaligned septum makes it more difficult for air to pass through the nostrils and into your lungs. As a result, you may encounter trouble breathing—especially when you have a cold or allergies. Those conditions make your nasal passages swell and narrow, which further constrains your ability to breathe.
Deviated Septum Symptom #2: Regular Nose Bleeds
In some patients, a deviated septum leads to regular nosebleeds. That’s because the curvature of the septum creates turbulence as air passes through the nostril. Think about your septum like the hood of a car or an airline wing. The more aerodynamic the surface area, the more easily air passes past the septum (or the wing of an airplane). In noses, the more turbulence on the septum, the drier it becomes and that can lead to a bloody nose.
Deviated Septum Symptom #3: Frequent Sinus Infections or Cold Symptoms
A clogged airway or impaired breathing through your nose often leads to sinus infections, post-nasal drip or what many people simply term “common cold” symptoms. If medicines do not help cure your sinus infections or nasal drip, you should seek help from an otolaryngologist.
Deviated Septum Symptom #4: Facial Pain and Headaches
People with a deviated septum feel “clogged up.” That can lead to headaches and facial pain. In some cases, facial and nose pain is caused by the nasal septum actually contacting the outside wall of your nose. Obviously, that’s a severely deviated septum and one that merits an exam by a trained ENT doctor.
Deviated Septum Symptom #5: Difficulty Sleeping
One or all of these deviated septum symptoms can contribute to great difficulty sleeping. You know the frustration of trying to sleep when you’re heavily congested. Now imagine that condition nearly every time you lay your head on a pillow. A deviated septum can cause you to lose sleep and that can make you irritable. More critically, a deviated symptom can contribute to sleep apnea, which is a serious sleep disorder and can prove fatal.
Get Relief from a Deviated Septum
The good news with a deviated septum is that it can be surgically repaired. Our Utah ENT doctors perform rhinoplasties (nose jobs) on a regular basis and can help diagnose, treat and repair your deviated septum. Contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center at 801-328-2522 to learn more.