Sinus infections can have many causes. When you’re feeling the symptoms, you might not care much what’s to blame, so long as you can get relief.
But if you’re dealing with sinus infections over and over — in a condition called chronic sinusitis — you might want to ask your doc if a deviated septum could have something to do with your woes.
So what’s a deviated septum? A shift in the thin wall between your nostrils (your septum), meaning that the wall moves over to one side. Your septum is naturally placed precisely where it needs to be to keep your nasal system working well, so when it shifts, you might notice symptoms like:
- Reduced airflow and trouble breathing
- Facial pain
- Recurring sinus infections
If you’ve heard the stereotype that Hollywood uses the “deviated septum” as the cause for unnecessary nose jobs, then move on past that. About 80 percent of people have some sort of deviation. Common causes include sports injuries, trips and falls or car accidents, and some people can even have a deviated septum at birth.
Your doctor can look and see if your septum is deviated, and from there, recommend steps to manage the symptoms or treat it for good. If your symptoms are mild, your treatment might include decongestants, antihistamines or nasal sprays. If the symptoms are getting in the way of your normal life, a type of surgery called septoplasty might be considered.
From our own Dr. Robert Pincus:
“While most people have a septum that is not straight, in some it can cause these symptoms. Straightening the septum does not change the appearance of your nose, or get you black and blue after surgery. Either is a sure way of knowing someone slipped in a cosmetic rhinoplasty at the same time. With today’s image guided techniques, we no longer pack the nose after septal surgery either.”
In any case, you shouldn’t have to deal with chronic sinus infections — caused by a deviated septum or otherwise. It’s our job to help you fight the fight, so contact us when your symptoms start to flare up.