In this complete guide we explain the connection between deviated septum and sinusitis (aka sinus infections), including the underlying connection, how can you tell if a deviated septum is the cause of your sinus problems, and how can you treat it.
Can a Deviated Septum Cause Sinus Infections?
A sinus can be defined as a cavity or hollow space in bone or other tissues. Sinuses are of many types and are found in different parts of the body.
The nose contains “paranasal” sinuses (air-filled spaces surrounding the nasal cavity) which are lined by respiratory mucosa (membrane). This membrane is responsible for secreting mucus1Anatomy, Head and Neck, Nose Sinuses.
Sinus infections, or sinusitis, is defined as inflammation of the nose and the paranasal sinuses, occurring with two or more of the following symptoms:
The impact of a deviation of the nasal septum on sinus infections or sinusitis is unknown. This is because the nasal septum deviation can occur with different patterns and severity, therefore researchers are not aware of how much and how often the occurrence of nasal septum deviation leads to sinusitis3CLASSIFICATION OF NASAL SEPTAL DEVIATIONS – RELATION TO SINONASAL PATHOLOGY.
Some researchers have tried to divide the type of defects of the nasal septum into different classes, and they have found some trends regarding the correlation of nasal septum defects with sinus infections. (The classes of nasal septum deviation include seven different types, which are part of a broader classification based on the plane of the deviation, horizontal and vertical.)4Correlation Study Between Nasal Septal Deviation and Rhinosinusitis
The researchers found the following results5Correlation Study Between Nasal Septal Deviation and Rhinosinusitis:
- 1Amongst horizontal deviations, type 4 deviation is most commonly associated with occurrence of sinusitis (see Figure 1 below for an image of type 4 deviation)
- 2Type 1 and 2 vertical deviations are linked to sinusitis because they occur in the nasal valve area
- 3Posterior (towards the back) deviations are more likely to develop sinus infections in comparison to anterior (towards the front) deviations
Will a Corrected Deviated Septum Stop My Sinus Infections?
Septoplasty is surgery that involves correction of a deviated septum to improve nasal function.
Nasal septum defects are one of the causes of sinusitis or sinus infections, because they can lead to inflammation and blockage of the nose and paranasal sinus.
A randomised study was performed to understand the effectiveness of septoplasty in improving symptoms of sinusitis in patients with significant septal deviation. Researchers found that septoplasty alone was significantly beneficial in improving symptoms of sinusitis as the success rates amongst the patients were 99.3%. These results suggest that septoplasty can be useful in patients suffering with persistent sinus infections6Is Septoplasty Alone Adequate for the Treatment of Chronic Rhinosinusitis with Septal Deviation?.
Other Sinusitis Treatments When You Have a Deviated Septum
If your sinus infections are caused by a deviated septum you should seriously look into having your septum corrected through septoplasty (also known as deviated septum surgery).
- 1Consuming Vitamin C rich foods: Vitamin C is also called ascorbic acid, and a reduction of vitamin C levels in blood is linked with increased histamine (a compound present in the body responsible for causing allergic reactions).
Consuming more vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus fruits, kiwi, mango, and vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, and peppers can be effective in preventing allergic problems relating to sinusitis8Vitamin C.
- 2Bromelain: Bromelain is a group of enzymes having anti-inflammatory properties (reducing inflammation) and mucolytic properties (making the mucous thin). It is commonly derived from pineapple fruit.
Several studies have shown that bromelain can be effective in reducing nasal inflammation and can provide a faster recovery from sinusitis. Moreover, Bromelain also provides relief from symptoms by thinning the mucous amongst those suffering from upper respiratory disorders such as sinusitis9Natural Treatment of Chronic Rhinosinusitis.
- 3N-acetyl cysteine supplement: Foods such as onion contain N-acetyl cysteine (45mg NAC per Kg). It is an antioxidant and a precursor of amino acids which form proteins. However, its effectiveness comes from its mucolytic activity. The mucous is broken down by N-acetyl cysteine into smaller and thinner units. This makes clearance of mucous through the nasal canal easier. It has been reported in some studies that this clearance can be improved by up to 35%. The typical adult dose is 600 to 1500 mg daily. It is a very safe supplement, even at very high dosage. However, you may experience some side effects such as nausea, vomiting and digestive problems10Natural Treatment of Chronic Rhinosinusitis.
- 4Saline nose drops: Using nasal drops not only cleanses the nose area but also removes mucous secretions.
Research recommends the use of 5% saline solution, instead of 3% or 0.9% solutions as it has been shown to be more effective to reduce histamine. In the research it was observed that people who used saline nose drops, reported improvement in their quality of life and minimal side effects. Furthermore, about 87% compliance rate was measured in one of the studies.
It is suggested that nasal drops should be used 1 to 3 times per day as they are an effective, simple and well tolerated method to control symptoms related to sinus infections11Natural Treatment of Chronic Rhinosinusitis.
- 5Lifestyle changes: Improving air quality in households using high quality particulate air filtration reduces household mold levels and airborne fungi. People with sinus problems should limit their exposure to animal dander and dust mites. Furthermore, a study was able to find a relationship between natural gas use for cooking and upper respiratory disorders including sinusitis. Identifying and removing the sources of infection and allergens can help with decreasing recurrence of sinusitis12Natural Treatment of Chronic Rhinosinusitis.
- 1Anatomy, Head and Neck, Nose Sinuses
- 2Sinusitis and its management
- 3CLASSIFICATION OF NASAL SEPTAL DEVIATIONS – RELATION TO SINONASAL PATHOLOGY
- 4Correlation Study Between Nasal Septal Deviation and Rhinosinusitis.
- 5Is Septoplasty Alone Adequate for the Treatment of Chronic Rhinosinusitis with Septal Deviation?
- 6Natural Treatment of Chronic Rhinosinusitis.
- 7Vitamin C.