Deviated Septum, Sleep Apnea

Deviated Septum and Sleep Apnea

May 16, 2019

3 minutes

Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD

Can sleep apnea be caused by a deviated septum?

Many patients assume that a deviated septum and sleep apnea are a package deal. In reality, having a deviated septum doesn’t mean that you’re going to struggle with sleep apnea, and if you struggle with sleep apnea, that doesn’t mean you have a deviated septum.

However, while a deviated septum can’t cause sleep apnea, it can exacerbate sleep apnea symptoms. It can also contribute to difficulty breathing at night and in the process, decrease your overall quality of life. Discover exactly how deviated septum and sleep apnea are related and take a look at potential treatment options.

What is the link between a deviated septum and sleep apnea?

According to the Mayo Clinic, about 70 to 80 percent of people have a septal deviation that’s noticeable to an examiner. In other words, the vast majority of individuals have nostrils that are noticeably not symmetrical.

That said, only a small subset of that group has a septum that is deviated enough to cause symptoms such as difficulty breathing, deviated septum snoring, and sleep apnea. In regards to sleep apnea, the restricted nasal passage created by deviated septum can worsen (but not cause) the obstruction to your airway that leads to apneas.

Factors that can worsen the effects of a deviated septum on sleep apnea

A deviated septum can make you more susceptible to other conditions, which can, in turn, aggravate sleep apnea. For example, if you have bad allergies in Houston, a deviated septum can contribute to a buildup of mucus that can worsen your sleep apnea. A deviated septum can also make you more susceptible to sinus infections (even without a deviated septum, sinusitis and sleep apnea don’t mix well).

Deviated septum and sleep apnea treatment options

Patients who want to lessen their deviated septum’s effect on sleep apnea and overall health have several treatment options available to them, including some deviated septum treatments without surgery. Available treatment options include:

  • Medication: While medication such as decongestants, nasal steroids, and antihistamines may not be able to treat the deviated septum directly, it can lessen the effects that additional sinus problems have on your deviated septum and sleep apnea.
  • Nasal strips: Some patients find that wearing a small adhesive strip, such as Breathe Right strips, can open up the nasal passageways enough to provide some relief from deviated septum-exacerbated sleep apnea.
  • Septoplasty: Septoplasty is a surgical procedure where a doctor makes a small incision in your septum to straighten out the misaligned bone and cartilage.

Find relief from deviated septum-related sinus issues at Kaplan Sinus Relief

Dealing with both a deviated septum and sleep apnea can be exhausting, especially if you’re considering the side effects of snoring. Dr. Kaplan and the staff at Kaplan Sinus Relief can find the deviated septum relief you deserve.

Whether you want to learn more about your deviated septum and sleep apnea treatment options, are actively seeking out balloon sinuplasty in Houston, or are considering septoplasty, we’re here to provide professional, client-oriented guidance and medical service.

Why suffer? Call our offices at 713-766-1818 or request an appointment online today.


4101 Greenbriar Street, Suite 320

Houston, TX 77098