Can Your Frequent Colds and Allergies Really Be Symptoms of a Deviated Septum?
It's winter and it's normal to have frequent stuffy noses. But if you often have nasal congestion year-round, maybe it's more than just allergies or frequent colds. Here are a few things you should consider.
In the summer, spring, and fall you may find that your nose is always clogged. You probably think it's just allergies and have tried some over-the-counter medications but they didn't help. When it happens in the winter, you probably think it's just a cold. After going to the doctor, you find that you actually have a sinus infection. You might not actually have allergies or a weird susceptibility to colds and respiratory infections – but a deviated septum.
Your nasal septum evenly divides both of your nostrils and nasal passages. When your septum doesn't evenly divide your nasal cavity because it's crooked or off-center, it's called a deviated septum. According to rhinoplasty surgeon Dr. Kohout from Sydney, correcting a deviated septum is imperative because it can cause dangerous conditions, like sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can lead to brain damage if left untreated.
You should see your doctor about a possible deviated septum if you experience a few of these symptoms throughout the year:
- Regular nosebleeds
- Pain around the face
- Frequent sinus infections
- Postnasal drip
- Snoring and other symptoms of sleep apnea, like waking up in the middle of the night
Deviated septums are actually very common, with 80 percent of people having some sort of septum misalignment. Depending on the severity, your doctor may prescribe simple medications to alleviate your symptoms or advise you to get septoplasty (nose surgery).
If you only have a mild deviated septum, you can try this Harvard-recommended saline solution to see if it can completely alleviate your symptoms:
Boil two cups of water and let it warm. Mix half a teaspoon of non-iodized salt with half a teaspoon of baking soda into the two cups of warm water. Boiling the water is important because you want to sterilize the water then let it cool down. Fill a small bulb syringe with the solution and gently squirt the solution into one nostril. Repeat with your other nostril. This helps clear out your sinuses.
Breathing in steam and essential oils can also unclog your nasal passages – but if your symptoms persist, it's best to ask your doctor about corrective surgery.