Can a Deviated Septum Get Worse Over Time?
The cartilage in your nose that separates your left and right nostrils is known as your septum. Usually, the septum is centered and evenly divides the nostrils so that they're close to the same size. A crooked or uneven septum, however, is referred to as a deviated septum.
While you may be born with a deviated septum, you may also develop one later in life due to an accident or injury. You're at greater risk for this condition if you play sports or don't wear your seat belt while in vehicles. Wearing a helmet during sports and a seat belt while traveling may prevent it.
If you have a deviated septum, understand that it will not heal on its own and may worsen over time. Therefore, it's essential to address this condition as soon as possible. Failure to do so may lead to complications such as dry mouth, sleep disturbances, and congestion or pressure in your nasal passages.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of a Deviated Septum
If you have a deviated septum, you may not know it. You'll only experience symptoms such as trouble breathing through your nose, sinus infections, nostril dryness, and nasal congestion if it's severe. Due to the fact that nasal structures often change over time, the natural process of aging may also make the condition more apparent.
In most cases, a deviated septum is diagnosed by an ENT specialist after performing a physical exam of your nostrils. During the exam, you can expect them to compare the sizes of your nostrils and determine how they affect your breathing.
Treatment of a Deviated Septum
There are a few non-surgical treatments like decongestant, antihistamines, nasal sprays, or nasal strips that may help a deviated septum. These treatments, however, are designed to make it easier for you to breath. They won't resolve a deviated septum.
If you have significant nasal obstruction, surgery may be recommended. Surgery involves changing the shape of the septum so that air flow through the nose is improved. After the procedure, your doctor will discourage you from blowing your nose and suggest medication to minimize pain, prevent infection, and facilitate healing.
In the event you're living with a deviated septum, seek treatment sooner rather than later. This way you can reduce the risk of the condition progressing and causing more damage.