If the wall between your nostrils (the septum) is crooked because of an injury or anatomical abnormality, it can create air turbulence that can irritate the sinus membranes. This irritation can cause swelling, which will impede normal sinus drainage. A septal deviation can also create significant nasal obstruction, enough to cause difficulty breathing through your nose, loud snoring or sleep apnea, and/or mouth breathing.

Obstructed sinuses will further compound the problems. I believe that normal nasal flow is necessary for proper mucociliary flow. When the nasal cavities are obstructed by a septal deviation or turbinate hypertrophy, there will be abnormal mucus flow with crusting and infection. Infection can cause more swelling in the nose and sinuses, leading to further obstruction and creating a vicious cycle.

If you have been told that you have a deviated septum, it’s very important that you try to prevent recurring or chronic sinusitis by taking steps to reduce nasal congestion. I always tell my patients who have a deviated septum to frequently irrigate or wash their nose with OTC, prescription, or premixed saline nasal spray. By keeping your nasal passages clear and moist, you can help reduce congestion and promote sinus drainage.

Sinus Tips:
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