A deviated septum occurs when your nasal septum is displaced, which means that one nasal passage is smaller than the other. The symptoms of a deviated septum can vary from case to case, but it can include frequent nosebleeds.
So, if you're suffering from frequent nosebleeds as a result of a deviated septum, what can you do about it?
What is a Deviated Septum?
The nasal septum is the cartilage that sits in the middle of your nose, separating the two nostrils. When this "deviates", it can create a range of symptoms but may also present with no symptoms whatsoever.
What are the Causes of a Deviated Septum?
Nose injuries are the most common causes of a deviated septum. If you take a punch while boxing or an elbow while playing basketball or soccer, it could dislodge your septum.
It doesn't just occur as a result of trauma, though. In fact, most deviated septums occur as a result of normal development, with the septum skewing to one side as the nose grows.
You can also be born with a deviated septum. In such cases, it may have occurred during a difficult birth or as the result of connective tissue disease.
What Are the Symptoms of a Deviated Septum?
If you have a severely deviated septum, you may notice a change in the shape of your nose. But it's not always immediately obvious, so you should be on the lookout for the following symptoms:
- Face pain
- Nasal congestion
- Sleep apnea
Can Your Nose Bleed From A Deviated Septum?
As you can see from the list above, nosebleeds can occur as a result of deviated septums.
In fact, nosebleeds are one of the main reasons that individuals with deviated septums seek medical attention.
Why Does Your Nose Bleed With A Deviated Septum?
To understand why your nose bleeds with a deviated septum, you need to understand why nosebleeds occur in the first place.
There are very delicate blood vessels inside of your nose and these are protected by a fragile nasal membrane.
The reason nosebleeds are more common in very young children is that they frequently pick their noses and their little fingernails scratch and rupture those small blood vessels.
It doesn't take much to damage them.
When you have a deviated septum, it means that one nostril is larger than the other and will dry out quicker. This leaves the nasal lining prone to cracking, at which point those blood vessels can rupture.
Scabs also form on the inside of your nose and if these are dislodged by nose picking, nose blowing, or even a sneeze, it could trigger another bleed.
You're more likely to get sinus infections if you have a deviated septum, which is where the nasal decongestion and headaches come from. These infections may also lead to frequent nosebleeds by constantly irritating the nasal cavity.
How to Prevent Nosebleeds When You Have a Deviated Septum
Preventing nosebleeds when you have a deviated septum is all about keeping your nose moist and protecting those tiny blood vessels.
You can do this using a simple nasal saline spray, typically applied twice a day. A little dab of petroleum jelly will also help.
Don't pick your nose, be gentle when blowing your nose, and if you live in a very dry environment, consider purchasing a dehumidifier.
Refrain from using decongestant nasal spray, as it could make the situation worse by further drying your nose. Unmedicated nasal sprays will suffice, as it's all about moistening your nose and not medicating your sinuses.
What Should I Do If I Have a Deviated Septum?
If you are experiencing nosebleeds, regular headaches, trouble breathing, and other issues resulting from a suspected deviated septum or broken nose, contact your doctor.
They can perform the necessary checks to determine the extent of the damage and advise on the next step.
When Should I Worry?
If you have a blood clotting disorder or take blood-thinning medications, a nosebleed is always more of a concern. This is especially true with nosebleeds resulting from a deviated septum.
Speak with your doctor if the nosebleeds occur regularly and seek emergency care if you're losing a lot of blood during a particular incident.
Blood thinners and blood clotting disorders may prevent your blood from clotting, so your nose will just keep bleeding.
How to Fix a Deviated Septum
Your healthcare provider may prescribe a nasal decongestant, antihistamines, or a nasal steroid spray to help you manage the discomfort associated with a deviated septum. However, this is not the best solution if you're suffering from frequent nosebleeds, as these medications can dry your nose even more.
In severe cases, a type of nasal surgery known as septoplasty can be performed.
Most septoplasties are fast and non-invasive. They are also very effective.
The surgeon separates the membrane covering the septum, removes the piece of septum that has deviated, and then replaces the membrane.
Your nose will be packed and bandaged and the healing process will begin.
A rhinoplasty can also be performed to reshape the nose. It depends on the individual case and the surgeon performing the job.
Following this surgery, your nose will be tender and painful for a few weeks. You may have difficulty breathing and will likely need to breathe through your mouth.
Full recovery usually takes a few months, but you should notice some major improvements long before that.
How Do I Stop My Septum From Bleeding?
Whether your nosebleed has been caused by a deviated septum, dry air, nose picking, or trauma, you can stop it using the following steps:
- Stay calm and sit down.
- Lean forward and pinch below the hard part of your nose using your thumb and index finger.
- Hold your nose in this position for at least 10 minutes. Don't be tempted to check if the bleeding has stopped during this time.
- If your nose is still bleeding after 10 minutes, repeat these steps.
- If your nose is still bleeding and shows no signs of stopping, seek emergency care.
When the bleeding stops, avoid picking and blowing your nose and stay away from hot showers, hot baths, and hot foods. You should also refrain from doing anything too strenuous or bending over for long periods, as this could trigger a repeat episode.
What Stops Nosebleeds Fast?
Nampons are great for quickly and effectively stopping nosebleeds. They work on all types of nosebleeds and help to stop the blood (and the mess) while promoting blood clotting.
If you suffer from frequent nosebleeds that don't have a serious underlying condition, it's advisable to keep a few packs of Nampons around.