Last Updated on February 10, 2023 by theworldofsleepstaff
A deviated septum is a condition in which the nasal septum – the bone and cartilage that divide the nasal cavity into two nostrils – is displaced to one side.
This can obstruct the nasal airway and make breathing difficult. It can also lead to other problems such as sinus infections, nosebleeds, and headaches. And as you’ll find out in more detail here, a deviated septum can cause sleep apnea in some cases too.
A deviated septum is a common condition, and it is estimated that up to 80% of people have some degree of deviation. In most cases, the deviation is mild and does not cause any symptoms.
However, in some cases, the deviation can be severe enough to cause problems with breathing and sleep.
Although we share tips here, as always, you must consult your doctor and ask their opinion about what is right for you, as every individual case differs.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Deviated Septum?
The symptoms of a deviated septum can vary depending on the severity of the deviation. But in most cases, people with a deviated septum do not have any symptoms.
However, in some cases, people may experience problems with breathing, sleep, and sinus infections. The most common symptom of a deviated septum is nasal obstruction, which can cause difficulty breathing through the nose.
Other symptoms may include:
-Chronic sinus infections
How Is A Deviated Septum Diagnosed?
A deviated septum is typically diagnosed during a physical examination. First, your doctor will look at your nose and check for any blockages. They may also use a mirror or a small camera to look inside your nose. Sometimes, your doctor may order a CT scan or an MRI to better look at your nasal cavity.
Sleep apnea is when a person stops breathing for short periods during sleep. This can cause sleep disruptions and may lead to daytime sleepiness. Sleep apnea is a severe condition that can increase the risk of accidents, heart problems, and stroke.
tHE mILLION doLLAR qUESTION: Can A Deviated Septum Cause Sleep Apnea?
A deviated septum can contribute to sleep apnea by obstructing the nasal airway.
This can make it difficult for a person to breathe through the nose, and subsequently they may be more likely to snore or have apnea.
Treatment of a deviated septum can help to improve sleep apnea by relieving the obstruction and allowing the person to breathe more easily. You must see a doctor for treatment if you have sleep apnea and a deviated septum. Especially as untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems.
While a deviated septum is a common condition, it is not the only cause of sleep apnea. Other potential causes include obesity, smoking, and alcohol use. Sleep apnea treatment may require a combination of lifestyle changes and medical interventions. You must see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment if you have sleep apnea.
What Is The Link Between A Deviated Septum And Sleep Apnea?
A deviated septum is a condition where the thin wall separating the nostrils (the septum) is displaced or crooked. This can block or narrow the nasal passages, making breathing difficult through the nose.
Sleep apnea is a sleep-related breathing problem in which people experience short or stopped breathing during sleep.
The intervals between periods of silence may range from a few seconds to a minute or more, and they might occur 5 to 30 times an hour. Then, typically, normal breathing starts again with a loud snort or choking sound.
Sleep apnea is a severe condition that can lead to fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and other health problems. A deviated septum can contribute to sleep apnea by narrowing the nasal passages and making it difficult to breathe through the nose. In some cases, surgery to correct a deviated septum can help improve sleep apnea.
How Do I Know If My Deviated Septum Is Causing Sleep Apnea?
If you have a deviated septum and are experiencing sleep apnea symptoms, such as snoring or daytime sleepiness, it is important to see a doctor for an evaluation.
A doctor can determine if you have sleep apnea and whether your deviated septum contributes to the condition.
Treating a deviated septum can potentially help improve sleep apnea and reduce your symptoms. So you must see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment if you have sleep apnea.
What Is The Treatment For A Deviated Septum?
The most common treatment for a deviated septum is septoplasty, a surgical procedure to correct the displacement of the septum. This can be done through an incision inside the nose or an external incision.
Septoplasty is usually successful in correcting the deviated septum and relieving symptoms. However, in some cases, additional procedures may be needed to treat other conditions, such as turbinate reduction or sinus surgery.
It is essential to see a doctor for an evaluation if you have a deviated septum. Septoplasty is the most common treatment for a deviated septum and is usually successful in relieving symptoms.
In addition, you must see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment if you have sleep apnea. They will also be able to tell you whether in your case a deviated septum is the cause of sleep apnea.
Does Nose Surgery Help Sleep Apnea?
Nose surgery, such as septoplasty, can help to improve sleep apnea by correcting the obstruction caused by a deviated septum. This can allow the person to breathe more easily and may reduce the number of apnea events.
However, you must see a doctor for treatment if you have sleep apnea and a deviated septum. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems.
While nose surgery can help to improve sleep apnea, it is not the only treatment for the condition. Other potential treatments for sleep apnea include lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and avoidance of smoking and alcohol use.
Sleep apnea treatment may require a combination of lifestyle changes and medical interventions. You must see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment if you have sleep apnea. As we mentioned before, they can also make clear whether your deviated septum is the cause of sleep apnea, and if surgery could help.
Eight Tips On Sleeping With A Deviated Septum
If you have a deviated septum, there are some things you can do to help make sleeping more comfortable. And possibly help stop your deviated septum making sleep apnea worse.
1. Sleep On Your Side
Gravity can cause the tongue and soft palate to fall back into the throat and block the airway if you sleep on your back. This can lead to snoring or apnea events.
Sleeping on your side can help to prevent this from happening. It may also be helpful to prop up the head with pillows to keep the airway open.
Tip: Try sewing a tennis ball into the back of your pyjamas to make it more likely that you’ll stay on your side during sleep. This will make it uncomfortable to sleep on your back and help keep you in a side-sleeping position.
2. Use A Humidifier
A humidifier can help moisten the air and make breathing easier. This is beneficial because a deviated septum can cause the nasal passages to become dry and irritated. A humidifier’s moisture can help reduce irritation and make breathing easier.
Be sure to clean the humidifier regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria.
When buying a humidifier, look for one specifically designed for the bedroom. This will help to ensure that it doesn’t make too much noise and won’t disturb your sleep.
3. Use A Nasal Spray
A saline nasal spray can help to moisten the nasal passages and reduce irritation. This can make it easier to breathe and may help to reduce snoring.
Most sufferers of a deviated septum can use a nasal spray safely. However, if you have any concerns, speak to your doctor before using one.
When using a nasal spray, be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging. Overuse of nasal sprays can make the problem worse.
4. Avoid Alcohol & Sedatives
Alcohol and sedatives can relax the muscles in the back of the throat and make it more likely that you’ll snore or have apnea events. If you have a deviated septum, it’s best to avoid these substances altogether.
Most doctors recommend that people with a deviated septum avoid alcohol for at least two hours before bed. If you take sedatives, speak to your doctor about how they may affect your condition.
If you do drink alcohol, be sure to do so in moderation. And, avoid drinking close to bedtime so that the effects have time to wear off before you go to sleep.
5. Quit Smoking
Smoking can irritate the nasal passages and make it more difficult to breathe. It can also increase the risk of complications after surgery. If you have a deviated septum, it’s best to quit smoking altogether.
If you’re not ready to quit, be sure to at least avoid smoking in the hours before bed. This will help to reduce the risk of snoring or apnea events.
It would also be beneficial to try to quit smoking for good. Not only will this improve your overall health, but it will also make it more likely that septoplasty will be successful.
If you’re struggling to quit smoking alone, many resources are available to help you. Your doctor can likely provide you with a referral to a smoking cessation program.
6. Use A Nasal Dilator
A nasal dilator is a small device that helps to keep the nasal passages open. This can make it easier to breathe and may help to reduce snoring.
Nasal dilators are available without a prescription and can be bought at most drugstores. They’re typically made of plastic or metal and are inserted into the nostrils.
When using a nasal dilator, be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging. Some types of nasal dilators need to be replaced frequently, while others can be reused.
Using a nasal dilator may help you breathe easier and reduce your risk of snoring or apnea if you have a deviated septum.
7. Try Essential Oils
Essential oils can help to soothe the nasal passages and make them easier to breathe. This may help to reduce snoring or apnea events.
Eucalyptus oil, peppermint, and tea tree oil effectively clear the nasal passages. Be sure to use a diffuser to disperse the oils into the air.
You can add a few drops of oil to a humidifier or vaporizer. Inhaling the vapours will help clear the nasal passages and make breathing easier.
Do not apply essential oils directly to the skin. And be sure to keep them out of reach of children and pets.
8. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Good sleep hygiene is essential for everyone, but it’s essential if you have a deviated septum. Poor sleep habits make you more likely to snore or have apnea events.
To practice good sleep hygiene, be sure to:
Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening.
Avoid working or using electronic devices in bed.
Create a calm and relaxing environment in your bedroom
Make sure that your bed is comfortable and that you have enough pillows.
Factors That Can Worsen The Effects Of A Deviated Septum On Sleep Apnea
Large tonsils or other blockages in the airway.
Being overweight or obese.
Nasal allergies or other conditions that cause congestion.
Use of alcohol or sedatives before bed.
Sleep position – people who sleep on their back are more likely to snore and have apnea. Sleeping on your side may help to reduce these events.
Most Common Asked Questions
How Can I Open My Nose Airway While Sleeping?
You can do a few things to help open your nasal airway while sleeping. One is to sleep on your side instead of your back. This will help keep your airway open.
Another is to use a pillow that props up your head and keeps your head elevated. This will also help to keep your airway open. Finally, you can try using a nasal spray to help keep your airway open.
How Do They Test For A Deviated Septum?
There are a few ways to test for a deviated septum. One is to do a physical exam of the nose. The doctor will look for any structural abnormalities.
Another way to test for a deviated septum is to do a CT scan or MRI. This will give the doctor a better look at the inside of the nose.
Finally, the doctor may also do a nasal endoscopy. This is where a tiny camera is inserted into the nose to better look at the septum.
Can A Deviated Septum Cause Headaches?
A deviated septum can cause headaches in some people. This is because the deviated septum can block the airway and cause pressure to build up in the head.
If you have a deviated septum and are experiencing headaches, you should see a doctor discuss treatment options.