Post Nasal Drip and Deviated Septums

Dr. Jahn,
I read your article about deviated septums. I too have a deviated septum on my left side but I also have allergies which cause everyday post-nasal drip. Do ENT’s also deal with allergies that effect ENT? My question is, do you know if post nasal drip would improve or disappear if I get the septoplasty. Obviously, controlling allergy symptoms is part of that which I’m working on.
Thank you,
Gina

Dear Gina,

A deviated septum refers to the curvature or deflection of the thin wall of cartilage and bone (nasal septum) that separates the left and the right nasal cavities. Depending on how severe the deviation is, it can cause obstruction of the nose, resulting in a variety of symptoms, including snoring mouth breathing, a tendency to sinus infections, even ear blockage. Since nasal mucus normally flows back towards the throat, it would make sense that a significantly deviated septum might impede that flow, and make you aware of a process that is usually not perceived. So, in that sense, correction of a deviated septum might improve or relieve this symptom.


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On the other hand, nasal allergies have a cause which has nothing to do with your septum- they cause swelling and irritation of the mucous membrane which covers the inside of your nose. So correcting a septal deviation will not relieve allergies. You could even argue that, by opening up the nose more, you could be inhaling even more allergens!

However, the blockage caused by allergies (not the itching), may improve with surgery, simply because more room has been created inside the blocked nasal passages, so the allergic swelling is more easily accommodated. The best solution, in my opinion, is to deal with both, allergies, and septal deviation. See an allergist, treat the allergy, and then, if your improvement is suboptimal, consider correcting the septal deviation.

Dr. Jahn

 

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Anthony Jahn, M.D.

Anthony Jahn M.D., noted author and professor of clinical otolaryngology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, has offices in New York and is a noted author of The Care of the Professional Voice. For more resources, go to his website www.earandvoicedoctor.com.