02-04-2014, 12:01 PM
hello, i was wondering if anyone has any advice for someone with a deviated septum, and how to breathe better at night when sleeping?
my family doctor sent me to an ENT specialist. it was an awkward meeting. he looked up my nose and said i have a deviated septum. he said the only cure is surgery. he was in a hurry, barely let me get in 5 words to describe my symptoms. i was in there less than 5 minutes. i had to look up the surgery on the net to find out about it.
i don't have insurance, and the surgery is not something i think i can psychically or mentally handle. i have other health issues, major depression, messed up jaw that i have to wear a giant bite-splint every night, and some other issues.
90% of the time i can't breathe out of my nose, while sleeping it's the worst. i wear glasses and no matter what type of frames or how light weight, they "dig" into my nose, making it swell up, feeling like i just got punched, this is everyday. i get migraines beyond belief, sometimes 24/7. i've had extensive dental work and problems. the right side of my face goes numb on and off, my vision gets blurry daily. i have so many conflicting issues. the main cause is my messed up nose though.
aside from surgery, are there any products available to help deviated septums? or any advice you can give me to help me out that will make breathing easier while sleeping, or any time?
forgot to mention, i can only get about 4 hours of sleep in a row. sometimes that all i get every night. sometimes it's 2 hours, up and tossing for 3, then maybe 2 more. pretty sure it's because my mouth closes and then i can't breathe out of my nose so i wake up.
02-04-2014, 07:41 PM
(This post was last modified: 02-05-2014, 12:59 PM by DocWils.)
This is a forum for those with sleep apnoea and not much is given out in general advice, and NO direct medical advice either, at least not without a LOT of caveats. The big one being SEE YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE EMBARKING ON ANY COURSE OF ACTION AND DON'T SELF DIAGNOSE OR SELF MEDICATE.
That said, a small bit of off the cuff information for you.
There is no way to deal with a deviated septum besides surgery. A stop gap measure, if the deviation is not too great, at least for night sleeping, is a spring clip in the nose to expand the "wings" of the nose and prevent them from collapsing during the in breath. This will be only mildly successful. Any other method of non-invasive treatment or therapy is ineffective and likely a con.
Mouth breathing is inadvisable at the best of times (for reasons I have detailed in other areas of this forum), but there are certainly mouth guards that can facilitate that, although I don't have any in mind at this time.
The surgery isn't very awful, although the recovery can be a bit of a trial if they are also reducing tissue in the nose as that will require haemostats or other forms of tamponade in the nose, meaning your nasal breathing will be interrupted for a week and you will get a sore throat from breathing only from your mouth. However it is not a horrible op as ops go, relatively minor and there is no pain in the nose after the first day of recovery at all, and healing is very rapid. The only discomfort is the tamponade, and that is only if there is tissue reduction preformed as well, if not, you will breath through a "straw" inserted into the nasal passage for a few days, and that is all. Bruising and swelling reduce rapidly, and your nose will look pretty much normal after two weeks, and fully regain its former shape and volume in a month. I have assisted in these ops several times, and have had one myself. If this is the main source of your lack of sleep, and your concomitant depression, the result will also have a strong effect on lifting your depression as well. However, given the various complaints you have mentioned I think there are other issues for you to address, in addition to your nose. The blurry vision is a big one that needs to be addressed.
If you do not have sleep apnoea, this will relieve much of your sleep problems. I would also suggest seriously getting your jaw in order - all the work don on it will have left the musculature of the jaw and mandibular region badly cramped, and therapeutic massage for that region or other TMJ treatments would be in order.
All of this must be done under supervision of qualified professionals. I suggest you talk to your gp and get the process rolling, money or not. For the small investment of this form of surgery (it is rarely very expensive, since it is a minor op, and would even be an outpatient procedure except that it requires a full narcosis (hard to do a local up in your face, alas, although I have seen it done, but not for this type of op).
I can vouch that the only cure for a deviated septum is surgery because it is a physical deformity. For a variety of reasons I had FESS (functional endoscopic sinus surgery), corrective surgery for the deviated septum and a little plastic surgery to improve the shape of my nose for better breathing. It worked for me in that it corrected many issues and dramatically improved my rate of recovery from sinus infections and my nose breathing, but did not answer the sleep issues I was having which are now solved with the diagnosis of sleep apnea and its therapy.
If you didn't like the doctor you consulted initially, go to another until you find one you are comfortable with.
My nose had multiple issues (broken multiple times too) the Doc said he removed a lot of 'stuff' from my nose - I for one loved the results of this surgery- never knew til age 48 or so that you can breathe while kissing~!
My Mom 'claims' that "Breathe-rite strips" works and helps her at night (before she had the surgery done) - I do hear ya, and understand where you are, but I would do whatever could be done to get the nose fixed, I still do not 'smell' well, but I can breathe so much better - after so many years as a mouth-breather.
*I* am not a DOCTOR or any type of Health Care Professional. My thoughts/suggestions/ideas are strictly only my opinions.
"Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you. Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your Soul, the other for your Freedom."
I had the surgery, and while I did read that you do not have insurance, when you do get insurance you really should consider it. Nothing else is going to work, to my knowledge, and while the actual surgery kinda sucks in some ways (what surgery doesn't?) the long lasting effects are fantastic!
As always, YMMV! You do not have to agree or disagree, I am not a professional so my mental meanderings are simply recollections of things from my own life.
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Try some of the over the counter stuff while you don't have insurance. breath-right strips (maybe they still have free samples available from their website) and perhaps Afrin nasal spray. If Afrin makes a world of difference (it temporarily shrinks the turbinates) perhaps go see another ENT and get a second opinion. Specifically ask if mere coblation turbinate reduction would be beneficial for you.
Dang near everyone has a septum that is not perfect. Some of us it causes airway restriction.
I had a septoplasty 5 years ago - it helped the right side but made the left side worse. New ENT suggests a 4 hour surgery to take cartilage from the ear and splint it in between the laterals and septum. Ummmm no thanks.
It sounds like you need a comprehensive medical evaluation. You might consider looking for a different ENT specialist. If you see a different one, be sure to explain in a matter-of-fact way about your visit to the prior doctor, and the diagnosis. There may be more going on than just the deviated septum, as you already suspect.
I have had a deviated septum operated on twice. The results are not what was expected, or what I was told to expect. The second surgeon explained to me that it was difficult to know exactly what the situation was until the operation had commenced. Things that make you go hmmm....
You might consider asking your dentist (if you respect his or her judgement) to recommend an oral surgeon to consult with about the jaw issues. My daughter had an operation on her jaw several years ago and her oral surgeon was amazing.