Unfortunately, many people – up to 75 percent — don’t know when their nose is working against them, given a breathing-blocking condition known as deviated septum.
The septum, a thin piece of cartilage, divides your nose into the two nostrils and breathing channels. It’s also easily injured and often bent into a S-shape that blocks air flow. You could be born with a deviated septum or have one caused in sports, accidents or even school yard fist fights.
- The most frequent sign of a deviated septum is troubled breathing. After an exam, many of our rhinoplasty patients are surprised to find that their septum is blocking healthy breathing.
- Headaches & nose congestion. Lack of oxygen in the airway creates a stuffy feeling. One may also have frequent headaches, including migraines.
- Due to a blocking curve in the deviated septum, air restriction in many cases dries out nasal membranes. A lack of moisture also makes nosebleeds more likely.
- Sinus infections. A clogged nasal airway often leads to sinus infections, with post-nasal drip and cold symptoms accompanying the blocked breathing.
- Snoring and interrupted sleep. Loud snoring often results from uneasy, forced breathing and nasal congestion. Sufferers often have a hard time falling and staying asleep. An associated but more serious condition known as sleep apnea may develop in which breathing stops during sleep; the person then jerks awake, gasping for air.
But, many are assigned to CPAP (continuous, positive air pressure) therapy which involves wearing a mask at night that pushes air through the deviated septum blockage in the nose.
Another clue: if you wake after tossing and turning all night, have a dry mouth or a sore throat, you’ve likely been mouth breathing.
But many of the afflicted become used to difficult breathing and never think of mentioning it to doctors.
After the deviation is corrected by functional nasal surgery, former sufferers say they feel like they are truly breathing for the first time.
Mother Nature designed humans to breathe through the nose so your lungs receive warmed, filtered air.