Before and After image of deviated septum

5 Signs You May Have a Deviated Septum

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.

Read: 3 Reasons to Get a Nose Job

Man recovering from nose surgery

10 Tips for Nose Surgery Recovery

A nose job or rhinoplasty can help you breathe easier or make you feel better about how you look and feel. In fact, there are many reasons for nose jobs.

But once you’ve had nose surgery, you want to recover quickly and without complications.

“The nose will be tender to touch for six weeks following surgery. So you need to take it easy, slow down and follow these tips for the first few weeks following nose surgery,” says Dr. John Bennett, a Utah ear, nose and throat doctor who specializes in rhinoplasty. “A little caution following surgery will pay off in a faster rhinoplasty recovery.”

Read: What to Expect During Nose Surgery

“People are surprised how often they bump their nose after surgery, especially from large dogs, small children, and partners,” Dr. Bennett continues. “If your partner is a restless sleeper, they may need to sleep elsewhere for a while to avoid their arm smacking the recently operated nose when the partner rolls over.”

Dr. Bennett recommends nose job patients follow these 10 tips for fast rhinoplasty recovery:

10 Tips for Fast Nose Job Recovery

  1. DON’T exercise vigorously for at least two weeks. Take it easy and avoid strenuous exercise that forces your body to consistently and aggressively move up, down and around. Ease back into exercise during your third week of recovery. Avoid playing basketball and volleyball for six weeks, or any other activity where you might get smacked in the nose by a ball or an elbow.
  2. DON’T go swimming. Your nose will be tender and swimming—especially diving—will move your nose around while it’s still recovering. Plus, chlorine may get inside your nose, which can sting. Stay away from the swimming pool for at least three to four weeks following your nose surgery.
  3. DON’T blow your nose for two weeks. Enough said here.
  4. DON’T eat foods that require heavy chewing. Save that steak dinner for later and eat simple, mild foods you can enjoy with minimal effort.
  5. DON’T laugh too hard or smile too wide. We know this sounds like stern advice. Just remember that your recovery is temporary and the less your nose bounces around or stretches, the better.
  6. DON’T brush your teeth aggressively. This may sound a bit silly, but aggressive brushing can cause you to move your upper-lip more than you might expect, and your upper-lip is connected to your sensitive nose. The less you move everything around your nose, the better you’ll feel and the faster you’ll heal.
  7. DON’T pull clothing over your head. Temporarily avoid t-shirts, sweatshirts and sweaters while your heal. Favoring button-down shirts while your nose heals will help you avoid unintended pain or nose movement.
  8. DON’T rest glasses on your nose up to four weeks following surgery. The less weight you place on your nose in the short term, the better the results in the long term. If you have contact lenses, now is a good time to use them. If you can live without sunglasses for the short term, we recommend you do so. If you absolutely must wear eyeglasses, it is best to tape the hard nasal splint onto the nose, then set the glasses on the splint. Otherwise, you may risk permanently pushing in the nasal bones. You may also want to hold glasses in your hands and peer through them without placing them on your nose.
  9. DON’T expose unprotected skin to the sun for three months following surgery. Using sunscreen whenever you venture out into the sun is always good advice. Following a nose job, however, limiting damaging sun exposure is critically important since too much sun can cause permanent discoloration on your nose.
  10. DON’T smoke for three weeks. This advice applies three weeks before and after surgery. If you are a smoker, this is a good time to stop!

Dr. Bennett concludes, “Every Salt Lake City rhinoplasty patient receives specific post-operative instructions that include directions that help care for a repaired nose following surgery, as well as explain what to expect during the recovery process.”

Read: Recovery from Rhinoplasty Surgery

Learn About Utah Nose Jobs

Contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center at 801-328-2522 to meet with an ENT doctor who regularly performs rhinoplasty surgery in Utah. We understand noses and work with our patients in Salt Lake City, Park City, Draper and Sandy, Utah to help determine if a nose job makes sense.