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The Deviated Septum Myth

Posted Aug 28 2009 6:33pm 1 Comment

Whenever I hear someone say the they have a deviated septum, or that their deviated septum is the cause of their headaches, sinusitis, and even their crooked nose, I chuckle quietly inside to myself.  This is because technically, everyone has a crooked, or deviated nasal septum. No one has a perfectly straight nasal septum. It’s also common for people to blame their deviated septum to some kind of nasal trauma in years past. 

 

The term septum is used to describe a wall or a partition between to body cavities. The nasal septum is a midline wall that separate the left and right nasal cavities. The frontal sinus has one and the heart has one too. In some people the septum is abnormally crooked. This can happen spontaneously, or after major trauma. One old theory is that as the nose gets crushed during the trauma of childbirth, the septum becomes crooked. Now that’s been debunked, as even C-section babies can have deviated septums.

 

What’s more important than how crooked you septum is is how big are your turbinates, and how flimsy are your nostrils. Your turbinates are wing-like structures that attach to the side-walls of your nose. Essentially, they look and behave like airplane wings. They help to warm, smooth and humidify air that you breathe in. Normally, one side swells and the other side shrinks, and this reverses every few hours. This is normal and it’s called the nasal cycle. 

 

However, if your turbinates are more swollen (due to colds, allergies or weather changes), and your septum is slightly crooked, then you’ll feel like you have a stuffy nose. 

 

In some people, the nostrils are naturally flimsy and can cave in even with a little bit of inhalation. This can also occur years after rhinoplasty, when the cartilaginous support structures are weakened, so the nostrils collapse inward as you breathe in. So if your nostrils are slightly weakened and your septum is crooked and your turbinates are swollen due to allergies, then your nostrils will cave in at a certain point as you inhale. These are the people that may benefit from nasal dilator strips, more commonly known as Breath-Rite Strips.

 

One last reason for having a crooked septum is how your jaws develop. As I describe in my book and in various articles, modern humans have smaller jaws compared with our ancestors. One common feature of having smaller jaws (and dental crowding) is what’s called a high arched palate. This means that the center of the roof of your mouth is pushed upwards, literally into your nasal cavity. This pushes on the bottom of your septum, making the septum buckle to one side or the other, or slide off the middle of the nasal floor completely.

 

Since the side-walls of your nose follows what happens to your upper jaws, they’ll be more narrow, closer to the septum. If you add all this together, the perfect situation is created that sets you up for a stuffy nose. 

 

How many of you have a deviated septum and if so, do you have a stuffy nose?

Comments (1)
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I have been diagnosed with a deviated septum and I'm going to have it fixed tomorrow. :)

All my life (I'm 25 now) I thought it was normal to breathe through only one nostril. I also can't breathe through my nose at night and wake up frequently because it happens that I suffocate. I also get terrible headaches.

Lately the suffocating got so bad that I figured it would be about time to visit an ENT. And finally I got an explanation: I have a deviated septum. My left nostril is completely blocked and the Doc couldn't even get his lil camera up my nostril.The weird thing is that my nose looks absolutely normal from the outside. Anyways, the mucous gets accumulated and blocks the other nostril at night, which causes the suffocating and probably also the headaches. So you can laugh about this all you want, but it's TRUE. :p Of course I'll only know for sure after my surgery I guess.

Another thing I have from my eternally blocked nose are dark circles. I've had them since I was a kid and the only thing that makes them lighter are not creams/vitamins/other supplements but keeping my nose clear with ACV diluted in water or sniffing cayenne pepper. This is not a joke, it really works to loosen the mucous. So, I'm pretty sure they are related too because I've had sooooo many tests done (blood, urine, stool for parasites, infections, deficiencies and MANY MANY MORE things!) and there's nothing wrong with me apart from the deviated septum. 

Sorry for the long post people. :D

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