Snoring is an annoying habit, especially for those who share a bed with a snorer. However, apart from being irritating, snoring can also be a sign of an underlying health issue. When there is a partial obstruction of the upper airway, snorers create vibratory noise — i.e., they snore. If the airway becomes entirely blocked, that can lead to sleep apnea — a serious sleep disorder that requires medical attention.
Snoring is very common; you probably know at least one person who snores. But what causes snoring? There are numerous factors, some of which include the above-mentioned airway obstruction, as well as aging, alcohol consumption, weight gain, sleeping on your back, or possibly a deviated septum.
What is a Deviated Septum
There is a tissue in your nose made of cartilage that separates the nasal passageway into two — the right and the left side. When that tissue is shifted to one side, it creates an uneven flow of air through your nostrils.
There are many reasons for a deviated septum; some of them include enlarged tonsils or adenoids, nose congestion, allergies, excessive weight, nose injury, genetics, etc.
In an ideal world, your airway would be clear, allowing air to move in and out without disruption. In the real world, more than 75% of people have a somewhat deviated septum; luckily, most of them don’t experience any symptoms, and their condition doesn’t require medical attention. But if you snore regularly, your deviated septum could be the reason.
Snoring Symptoms Attributed to Deviated Septum
To determine if you have a deviated septum that is causing you problems, check if you have some of these most common symptoms of a deviated septum:
- Constant nasal congestion
- Repetitive nosebleeds
- Frequent sinus infections
- Uneven breathing capabilities
Apart from snoring, your deviated septum can also cause sleep apnea — a condition during which your body stops breathing periodically throughout the night. When that happens, both the body and the brain aren’t getting enough oxygen, which could lead to a number of serious problems.
So if you think that your deviated septum might be the reason you snore, you should consult a medical expert. Neglecting to address the symptoms could lead to serious, even life-threatening conditions such as sleep apnea.
What Treatment Options are Available?
If your deviated septum is causing impaired breathing and/or snoring, you should see an ear, nose, and throat doctor to discuss your options. In severe cases, especially in those that include sleep apnea, doctors could recommend surgery. However, if you contact your doctor before your condition becomes pressing, there are other options as well.
If your septum only slightly deviated, some of the following things could help reduce snoring:
When you have insufficient space in the nostrils, you can’t breathe properly. Luckily, adhesive nasal strips could help by making extra room in the nasal passages and thus minimizing your snoring problems. All you need to do is stick the strips onto the outside of your nose before you go to bed and remove them in the morning.
If you are experiencing nasal congestion and temporary swelling, a nasal spray could help you breathe properly and prevent snoring. Nasal sprays can be especially effective for those whose nasal passages are irritated and inflamed (people suffering from sinus infections usually experience these symptoms).
Nose cones are soft nasal dilators that you place inside your nostrils to allow for fuller inhalation and improved breathing throughout the night. These dilators open up the nostrils and thus improve the airflow, reducing the need to breathe through your mouth and preventing snoring. The great thing about these cones is that they are entirely natural and provide instant relief. The sensation of a plastic cone in your nose might feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but the relief it offers is worth it.
When snoring and breathing issues caused by a deviated septum become a persistent problem, you should consider nasal surgery. Furthermore, if sleep apnea occurs, surgery might become necessary.
In order to open up the airways on each side, surgeons move the nasal septum back to the midline. They do that by surgically breaking the cartilage, repositioning it, and letting it heal gradually. In most cases, the deviation improves, but some minor deviation may persist. The surgery solves the problem of impaired breathing and eliminates snoring at the same time.
Most patients tolerate this surgery well. In fact, many patients choose to go home the same day after they wake up from anesthesia. The recovery usually takes a couple of days or weeks, but the tissue sometimes takes a whole year to heal completely.
If your snoring has been an ongoing problem for both you and those sharing a room or bed with you, consider visiting your GP to determine if a deviated septum is the cause of your snoring. If it is, you should take necessary measures before your condition becomes serious.