Breathing is often taken for granted until something impacts the ability to breathe freely. There are many reasons why breathing can become difficult, such as a deviated septum. It’s important to learn to identify the symptoms so you can seek treatment from a sinus specialist in Los Angeles as soon as possible to clear up the issue and restore your breathing comfort.

Understanding the Deviated Septum

The nasal septum is a structure in the nose that divides the nasal cavity into two nostrils. The septum is made of cartilage and bone and extends from the nasal bridge to the nasal floor. This structure supports the nasal passages and plays a crucial role in airflow and nasal function. When the septum is deviated or misaligned, nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, and sinus issues are common.

What Causes a Deviated Septum?

A deviated septum occurs when the nasal septum is displaced or crooked. This condition is a common result of the following factors:

  1. Trauma: Injury to the nose, such as a broken nose from sports injuries, accidents, or physical altercations.
  2. Developmental abnormalities: Some individuals are born with a deviated septum due to congenital factors or abnormal growth during fetal development.
  3. Aging: Growing older causes natural structural changes to the nasal features, including the septum.
  4. Nasal growth abnormalities: Conditions such as nasal polyps or tumors can contribute to septal deviation by pushing the septum out of alignment.
  5. Habitual behaviors: Chronic nasal congestion or repeated irritation from habits like nose-picking or inserting foreign objects into the nose can lead to septal deviation over time.

Without treatment from a sinus specialist in Los Angeles, a deviated septum can lead to nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, snoring, and recurrent sinus infections.

Signs and Symptoms of a Deviated Septum That Require Treatment

Nasal Obstruction – Difficulty breathing through one or both nostrils, especially when lying down or during physical activity. Persistent nasal congestion that doesn’t improve with over-the-counter remedies.

Nasal Discharge – Excessive mucus production or drainage, often accompanied by postnasal drip. Recurrent sinus infections or nasal congestion due to impaired drainage.

Nosebleeds – Frequent nosebleeds, particularly from the side of the deviated septum. Blood-tinged mucus or spotting on tissues after blowing the nose.

Facial Pain and Pressure – Facial pain or pressure, especially around the nose, forehead, or cheeks. Headaches or migraines triggered by sinus congestion or inflammation.

Snoring and Sleep Disturbances – Loud or disruptive snoring, often accompanied by mouth breathing during sleep. Sleep disturbances such as insomnia or daytime fatigue due to inadequate airflow.

Chronic Sinus Infections – A deviated septum can contribute to sinus infections by disrupting normal airflow within the nasal passages and sinus cavities. When the nasal septum is misaligned or crooked, it can create narrow or blocked nasal passages, making it difficult for mucus to drain properly from the sinuses. This obstruction can lead to the accumulation of mucus, bacteria, and other debris within the sinuses, creating an environment conducive to infection. 

Moreover, impaired airflow increases pressure within the sinuses, further contributing to inflammation and congestion. These factors can predispose individuals with a deviated septum to recurrent sinus infections, characterized by symptoms such as facial pain, nasal congestion, postnasal drip, and sinus pressure. Seeking medical evaluation and appropriate treatment for a deviated septum can help alleviate symptoms and reduce the risk of sinus infections.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore These Symptoms

deviated septumIgnoring the symptoms of a deviated septum can lead to various complications and affect one’s overall quality of life. Symptoms such as chronic nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, recurrent sinus infections, snoring, and sleep disturbances can worsen over time, impacting daily activities, sleep patterns, and overall well-being. Additionally, untreated septal deviations can contribute to other nasal issues, such as sinusitis, nosebleeds, and headaches.

Furthermore, nasal obstruction can interfere with proper airflow, increasing the risk of sleep apnea and other respiratory problems. Seeking timely medical evaluation and treatment from a sinus specialist in Los Angeles for a deviated septum can alleviate symptoms, improve nasal function, and prevent potential complications, ultimately enhancing overall quality of life and respiratory health.

Deviated Septum Treatment Options

Deviated septum treatments encompass various options to alleviate symptoms and improve nasal airflow. A sinus specialist in Los Angeles will evaluate the right treatment, taking into account factors such as the severity of symptoms, overall health, and individual preferences.

Non-surgical treatments for a deviated septum focus on managing symptoms and improving nasal airflow without invasive procedures. These options include nasal decongestants, antihistamines, and nasal steroid sprays, which help reduce nasal congestion and inflammation. Nasal irrigation with saline solution can also help clear mucus and debris from the nasal passages. Additionally, nasal dilators or strips may be used to widen the nasal passages and improve airflow.

It’s important to note that these non-surgical treatments provide symptomatic relief rather than correcting the underlying deviation. While they may be effective for mild cases, individuals with severe symptoms or functional impairment may ultimately require surgical intervention such as septoplasty to address the deviated septum and achieve long-term relief. Consulting with Dr. Alen N Cohen, a sinus specialist in Los Angeles, can determine the most appropriate non-surgical treatment approach for the patient based on their individual needs and preferences.

Surgical treatments for a deviated septum typically involve septoplasty, a procedure aimed at correcting the misalignment of the nasal septum to improve airflow and alleviate symptoms. During septoplasty, the surgeon accesses the septum through the nostrils to remove or reposition excess cartilage or bone to straighten the septum. The procedure is performed under general or local anesthesia and typically takes about one to two hours. Recovery time varies, but most patients can resume normal activities within a week or two.

While septoplasty is generally safe and effective, there are risks of complications such as bleeding, infection, and changes in nasal shape or sensation. In some cases, additional procedures such as turbinate reduction or rhinoplasty may be performed concurrently to further optimize nasal function and aesthetics. Consulting with a sinus specialist in Los Angeles is essential to determine the most appropriate surgical approach based on individual needs and preferences.

Key Takeaways

A deviated septum is more than just a cosmetic concern – it can have a significant impact on your daily life and overall health. By recognizing the symptoms of a deviated septum and seeking timely medical evaluation, you can address underlying issues and improve your quality of life. Don’t let a crooked septum hold you back from breathing easy and living life to the fullest. 

Contact the Southern California Sinus Institute today to schedule an appointment!