Could You Have a Deviated Septum?
The septum is the wall that separates the two sides of your nasal cavities. Ideally, the septum would sit right in the middle of the nose, but for most people, nasal passages aren't symmetrical. A deviated septum is when the septum is out of alignment.
Even when your nasal passages are evenly sized, an injury to the nose can cause a deviated septum, or can worsen one that already exists.
If the problem is small, it won't affect you all that much. But when it's more extreme, it can cause discomfort and aggravated symptoms, especially when allergies kick in.
Symptoms of a Deviated Septum
Some signs include congestion concentrated in one side of the nose, frequent sinus infections, headaches, facial pain, postnasal drip, and snoring. All of these symptoms should prompt you to see your doctor for a thorough evaluation.
Deviated Septum Treatment
People who have a deviated septum and allergies may get some relief through medication. Decongestants, antihistamines, and nasal sprays can all provide temporary relief, but it's important to know that they won't correct the problem permanently.
When temporary measures to manage a deviated septum aren't enough, consider septoplasty. It's a surgical procedure for a deviated septum that involves removing parts of the bone or cartilage in order to center your nasal septum and create even space in the nasal cavities on both sides. This procedure can usually be done on an outpatient basis. Some people may desire a nose job or sinus surgery at the same time. Keep in mind that even after surgery, your nasal allergies will still exist.
Preventing a Deviated Septum
The best strategy is to keep a deviated septum from occurring in the first place, or to at least keep a minor nasal imbalance from turning into a major problem. Keep your nose safe from injury, wear a helmet if you participate in high-risk sports and activities, and wear a seat belt in the car and when riding a motorcycle.
American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. "Fact Sheet: Deviated Septum." Web. 11 March 2012.
MayoClinic.com. "Deviated Septum." Web. 11 March 2012.
MedicineNet.com. "Deviated Septum." Web. 11 March 2012.
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