A deviated septum is an occurrence where the septum, the bone and cartilage segment that separates the two nostrils of the nose, is not centered correctly, thus causing the division of the nostrils to be unequal. Very few individuals have a perfectly centered septum, however, a deviated septum refers to when it is off balance enough to cause unpleasant symptoms. Trivial septum deviations typically do not require any treatment because they do not result in any observable symptoms. A deviated septum can be due to a congenital disability or can be the result of a previous nose injury. Because the warning signs of a deviated septum can be similar to other illnesses and conditions, it is essential to seek the advice of a qualified medical professional for an accurate diagnosis.
Increased Frequency Of Nosebleeds
Numerous tiny blood vessels sit right underneath the mucous membranes of the nasal channels. This is the reason for general nosebleeds in individuals who do not have a deviated septum. As the main function of the nasal septum is to channel the air inhaled directly to the lungs without interference or agitation, a deviated septum tends to disrupt that channeling of air. This can cause excessive dryness in parts of the nasal passages in addition to strain from the pressure built up from breathing difficulties. The result of this dryness and or increased pressure is typically a nosebleed from the cracking or tearing of the skin in the nasal passages. In addition, individuals who suffer from a deviated septum will experience sinus infections and general inflammation of the nose, which will also cause frequent nosebleeds. Most often, the increased frequency of nosebleeds is not a life-threatening condition, however, they can be very bothersome and cause stomach discomfort and upset.
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Noisy Breathing When Asleep
Many individuals will experience noisy breathing when they are asleep from inflammation, blockage, and narrowing of other respiratory tract components besides the nose. However, patients who suffer from a deviated septum are more often plagued by noisy breathing during sleep. The unevenness of the nasal channels causes the airflow to become erratic and abnormal or blocked completely on one side. Usually, the noise caused by a deviated septum will be characterized as a low-pitched snore. Also, a deviated septum tends to encourage more breathing through the mouth while asleep rather than through the nose. This is due to the difficulties and or blockages the uneven passages exhibit. When patients are breathing through the mouth during sleep, their nose is inhibited from moistening, clarifying, and warming the air they inhale. This can cause further drying and inflammation within the nasal passages because of the reduced airflow, which will also result in noisy breathing while asleep.
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Many individuals who suffer from a deviated septum will chronically experience pain in the cheek, forehead, and eyes. Because the septum deviation causes one nostril to be narrower then the other, mucus tends to clog up the passage easier. The clogged nasal passage becomes the ideal breeding ground for different types of bacteria that cause an infection. The facial pain comes from the increased levels of pressure building up in the sinuses from an infection. When the sinuses are infected, they are unable to drain correctly. When the sinuses cannot drain properly, they act like a sealed bottle of a carbonated beverage with increasing pressure with no way to be released. This pressure induces pains and aches in the facial areas frequently because of the susceptibility to infections of individuals who have a deviated septum.
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Nasal obstruction is characterized by a blockage of airflow through the nose. This will happen with a deviated septum when excessive irritation of the mucous membranes causes severe swelling inside the nose. The swelling will either completely or mostly block one side of the nose to where no airflow can pass through. In addition, the narrower side of the nose from the deviation can become clogged with dust, debris, and mucous much easier than it would be if the nasal passages were evenly divided. Individuals refer to a nasal obstruction as being stuffed or clogged up. This happens much more often in patients who have a deviated septum because symptoms of the nasal origination to allergies and infections are more prevalent among individuals with deviated septums.
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Nasal Cycle Awareness
The nasal cycle in humans is where the nose clears a blocked nostril, and then the other nostril becomes blocked. This mechanism of the nose and brain is a swelling and constriction pattern of the mucous membranes inside of the nose. The reason the human body exhibits this cycle is because it wants to keep a balance and have both nasal passages clear. The nasal cycle is not something individuals should usually be aware of, as it is an automatic function. However, when someone is experiencing severe allergies or a cold, they may have an enhanced nasal cycle awareness, or be aware of the alternation of nasal channel clearing. Individuals with a deviated septum are going to generally be more aware of this because the side of the nose opposite of the narrowed side will get obstructed frequently as well. When the larger nasal passage is clogged, then the narrow passage is the only way airflow can travel. If the narrow passage then gets clogged up as well, the patient with the deviated septum will not have any nasal airflow.