When it comes to our faces, we tend to dwell on how appealing we look to others, and our noses are a strong example of this. Many people find themselves concerned about how big, little, wide, thin, long, or short they are but take for granted how important this organ is. More than just a symbol of our visual identity, the nose is the primary breathing organ and the starting point of our respiratory system that humidifies and cleans the air you breathe in.
It also regulates the temperature of the air that comes in, plays a vital role in how you taste food through smell, triggers memory and emotions, and even helps in your attraction to others through how colognes, perfumes, and other scents affect your interests.
Damage to this organ can affect many of these basic functions, and problems with the septum (the section of your nose made of bone and cartilage that runs down the center) can lead to complications that can have long-term effects. Let’s explore the problems you can encounter with a deviated septum by looking at what it is, the common causes and signs, and what complications can result from leaving it untreated.
If you live in the Kissimmee or Orlando, Florida, area and you’re dealing with problems with a deviated septum or other nose problems, Drs. Wade Han, Elviria Livigni De Armas, and their dedicated medical team at Florida Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery Center can help.
Defining a deviated septum
Your septum is divided into separate cavities corresponding to each nostril (nasal opening) and should be straight and even to keep breathing and other basic functions unobstructed. If you have a deviated septum, it is somehow off center, which can cause one side to be smaller, displaced to one side or the other, or otherwise change the balance of how you breathe through both sides of your nose. This can lead to difficulty breathing properly, and as much as 80% of the population has some form of a deviated septum ranging from minor to major severity.
Common causes and signs
The cavities in your nasal passages are divided by a thin wall, and deviations in this area can be caused by injuries to the nose, swelling, and irritation of the nasal cavities, and may even be present at birth. Injuries can result from accidents and impact to the nose from collisions in sports or playing around. This can also become a problem as you age, as nasal structures can weaken, worsening existing issues over time.
If you have a deviated septum, you can expect to see symptoms like facial pain (more on one side of the face than the other), nosebleeds, noisy breathing while asleep, breathing obstruction alternating from side to side, or preferring to sleep on one side over the other.
Complications of leaving it untreated
Complications are more common in severe deviations of the septum, and if not treated they can include:
- Chronic sinus issues: any sinus problems you have will only be exacerbated by not managing the structural issues related to a deviated septum.
- Dry mouth: your nose cleans and humidifies the air that comes in, and this condition can alter how well it performs that task, leading to a dry mouth.
- Sleep disturbances: this problem can lead to several issues affecting sleep, like sleep apnea, snoring, and struggling to stay asleep.
- Infections: nasal infections are common with colds and other respiratory illnesses, and having this structural issue can worsen the problem.
Your nose is vital to how you breathe, and leaving severe problems with a deviated septum will only compromise how well your nose functions. If you’re struggling with the signs of this condition, make an appointment with Drs. Han, De Armas, and the team at Florida Ear Nose Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery Center today to get the help you need.