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5 Signs You May Have a Deviated Septum and What Can Be Done About It

Your nasal septum is the thin wall of cartilage that separates your nostrils. It’s covered by mucosal tissue that helps clean and moisturize the air you breathe. Your septum should run down the center of your nose, creating two equally sized nostrils. A deviated septum occurs when it’s crooked or displaced, making one size smaller than the other. 

It’s estimated that up to 80% of Americans have a deviated septum, although most go through life without any symptoms. Those with a severe displacement might have trouble breathing. In some cases, a crooked septum can change the external shape of your nose.

Here at SCENT Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat, located in Long Beach, Los Alamitos, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Torrance, California, our team of board-certified physicians diagnose and treat deviated septums with precise surgeries. 

5 warning signs of a deviated nasal septum 

We’re well acquainted with the warning signs of this potentially troublesome condition. We want you to know what to look for when to talk to our team, and your treatment options: septoplasty and rhinoplasty.  

1. Chronic sinus infections and congestion

A deviated septum can interfere with the way your sinuses drain, which increases your risk of inflammation, congestion, and post-nasal drip. You might mistake these symptoms as a cold or allergies. If you have nasal or sinus congestion that lasts for more than 7-10 days, make an appointment to find out what’s causing your symptoms. 

2. Headaches

You might also experience headaches due to the congestion and pressure caused by a deviated nasal septum. While everyone gets headaches occasionally, if you have three or more headaches a week, make an appointment with our team.

3. Snoring and sleep apnea

A deviated septum can cause loud snoring and increase your sleep apnea risk, a serious condition that disrupts your breathing while you sleep. If you have poor sleep or are keeping your family awake with your snoring, it could be a sign of a deviated septum.  

4. Difficulty breathing

When one nasal cavity is significantly smaller than the other, you might find it difficult to breathe through your nose. Difficult breathing is most noticeable at night when you’re trying to sleep, or during exercise or sports activities. 

Many patients with deviated septums compensate with persistent mouth breathing. This not only gives you bad breath but dries and irritates your oral mucosa and can eventually damage your teeth. Saliva is a protectant that helps wash away debris that attracts decay-causing bacteria.

5. Nosebleeds

A deviated septum can lead to dryness in the mucosal membranes that line your nose and sinuses. As a result, the tissue becomes fragile and more prone to injuries that cause nosebleeds. 

Fixing a deviated nasal septum

When conservative treatment with nasal sprays and other medications fail, we offer septoplasty and rhinoplasty to repair and correct deviated septums.

Septoplasty corrects the alignment and function of your nasal septum. We offer septoplasty as an outpatient procedure at any of our offices in Long Beach, Los Alamitos, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Torrance, California. Septoplasty doesn’t require any external incisions. You can usually return to work and other normal activities within a week.

In addition to correcting the position of your septum, rhinoplasty enhances the shape, size, or crooked appearance of your nose. Our board-certified surgeons pay meticulous attention to detail to provide outstanding, cosmetically pleasing rhinoplasty results that help you breathe normally and relieve other symptoms.

If you’re concerned about a deviated septum, call any of our offices or schedule a consultation online today. We offer expert exams and testing to determine the cause of your symptoms and customized treatment plans.

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