September 17, 2009

How Does A Deviated Septum Cause A Nosebleed?

Over the years, I have been asked by a number of patients with deviated septums why that would make them more prone to nosebleeds.

Well, this blog article is to answer that very question. First off, a little anatomy...

A nasal septum is a wall that separates the right nasal cavity from the left side. Normally, this septum should be perfectly straight.

However, in some people, the septum may be deviated causing not only nasal obstruction, but increases the risk of nosebleeds.

When the septum is straight, nasal breathing proceeds such that the air smoothly enters the nose without creation of any turbulence.

However, if the septum is deviated, turbulence is created when the air hits the "curve" of the septum. When this happens, the lining of the septum becomes dried out resulting in cracking and increased vascularity which increases the risk of a nosebleed.

The lining of the nose in this situation is much like when a person's lips become so dried out to the point that it cracks and bleeds. Rarely, if this condition progresses, it may ultimately lead to a septal perforation.

Surgical correction of the deviated septum would result in a more long-lasting "cure" of nosebleeds as it would eliminate this curve decreasing turbulence.

For more conservative management of nosebleeds, click here.

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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