When you take a deep breath with your mouth closed, does the air flow easily through both sides of your nose? Or does it feel as if your nose is making it harder for you to breathe freely?
A surprising number of people — approximately 80% of the population — are living with a deviated septum, and many may not even be aware of it. Having this condition means that the cartilage and bone dividing the two nasal passages may be crooked or uneven, making one side narrower than the other.
Most deviated septums are found on the inside of the nose, and although not affecting the nose’s appearance, they could still be causing breathing difficulties. On the other hand, a nose that looks crooked on the outside could have a straight septum that’s not causing any issues.
Even with a deviated septum, many people have no symptoms and may not realize they are not breathing well, which makes them keep their mouth open and their neck tilted forward. This can lead to problems with the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), neck pain, facial pain, headaches and other health issues, including sleep disruptions..
At Silenso Clinic in San Diego, CA, Dr. Paul Schalch Lepe specializes in treating various conditions such as deviated septum, nasal obstruction, snoring, obstructive sleep apnea. He is highly qualified and motivated to restore his patients’ quality of life with cutting-edge
What Causes a Deviated Septum?
Several things can cause a deviated septum:
- A broken nose
- Trauma to the face
- At birth, from the pressure of the birth canal
- Most often, however, a deviated septum is just how the nose develops as the face and nose grow in adolescence
What Are the Symptoms of a Deviated Septum?
Quite simply, a deviated septum means you have a bend in the cartilage and/or bone separating the nasal passages. If you suffer from one or more of the following symptoms, this could indicate the need for surgical intervention:
- Difficulty breathing through your nose:Nasal misalignment or obstruction makes it harder to inhale and exhale through one or both nostrils. You’ll notice that the flu, seasonal colds, or allergies make this more noticeable due to swelling and congestion.
- Nosebleeds:Having a deviated or curved septum can dry out your nasal passages and membranes, making you more susceptible to nosebleeds.
- Dry mouth: When the nose is obstructed, you’ll need to compensate by breathing through your mouth, which leads to the mouth drying out, and the possibility of bad breath.
- Compromised sleep quality: Since a deviated septum can cause nasal breathing, sleep quality can be compromised, leading to shortness of breath during the night or even sleep apnea.
- Headaches: With a deviated septum, there can be a build-up of pressure in the sinuses, resulting in an uncomfortable tightness around the eyes and forehead, leading to headaches.
- Nasal congestion: As air doesn’t always flow freely through nasal passages affected by a deviated septum, your head can sometimes feel stuffy with this condition. Built-up pressure can lead to occasional headaches and make your face feel sore and painful.
- Sinus infections: The more clogged your airways are, the more likely you will develop frequent sinus infections.
- Snoring and disrupted sleep: Nasal congestion from a deviated septum can constrict airflow while you sleep, leading to loud breathing and snoring. And if you’re having trouble breathing, you may experience difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. A deviated septum may even contribute to sleep apnea, a potentially serious condition where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.
- Neck and TMJ pain: Nasal obstruction causes changes in your posture. There is a tendency to keep the mouth open, putting pressure on the temporo-mandibular joints, which leads to chronic pain. The neck is tilted forward in an effort to breathe through the nose, and this leads to neck and back pain, that also become chronic.
Does a Deviated Septum Cause Snoring and Breathing Issues?
As noted above, a deviated septum may be the culprit behind your snoring and breathing issues. Not only can your deviated septum be blocking your nasal airway during sleep, but snoring and difficulty breathing could signal the presence of sleep apnea, a condition that should not be ignored.
Keep in mind that snoring has many potential causes, and a deviated septum is usually a contributing factor. Mucus from a sinus or nasal infection, everyday allergies, age, weight, and gender can also determine the likelihood of a person snoring, as can their sleeping position, mouth anatomy, and alcohol consumption.
Deviated Septum Treatment
There are non-surgical options for deviated septum treatment, but deviated septum surgery, known as septoplasty, is recognized as the most permanent solution for repairing a deviated septum.
Your Deviated Septum Consultation in San Diego, CA
An evaluation by sleep and snoring specialist Dr. Paul Schalch Lepe will offer you a simple way to see if you are suffering snoring caused by a deviated septum or another breathing-related condition.
To get started, schedule a consultation with double board-certified otolaryngologist and sleep medicine specialist Dr. Paul Schalch Lepe by completing an online appointment request or calling (858) 925-5800. The path to better breathing, sleep, and quality of life begins here.