e-med Home Page
General Practice - our routine services Health Checks - preventative health screening Diving Medicals Travel Clinic Health At Work - e-med your company doctor Download the e-med Medical Dictionary iPhone and Android app
What We Do - all the services at e-med
Your Doctor
Why Us - advantages of using e-med
Join - become a member of e-med
FAQs - Frequently Asked Question about e-med
Medipac - medication for those going abroad

Free medical consultations with the e-med Nurse

e-med Arabic

NEW! - The A-Z of Dive Medicine

Frequently Asked Dive Medical Problems
Animal Hazards Bends
Cancer Cardiovascular System
Central Nervous System Dental Problems
Diseases / Viruses Drugs and Diving
Ear Nose and Throat Problems Endocrine
Eye Problems Female Problems
Fitness and Diving Gastrointestinal Problems
Genito-Urinary Longer Articles
Miscellaneous Psychiatric
Respiratory Problems Skin
Trauma, Surgery and Orthopaedic Probs Which Dive Medical?

Ear Nose and Throat Problems - Palate

Dr Jules Eden, dive medicine specialist and founder of e-med, answers divers' questions - as published in Sport Diver magazine:
Text Search this Page

Q - I was born with a cleft lip and palate. I also have a hole in my nasal septum, and have had for around 4 years now. Being totally honest, I used to do cocaine and speed to excess in my London city life. Luckily I saw the light and moved on, and although I still drink and smoke too much, I have since never taken drugs. I was wondering if either of these will cause me problems when diving?

A - Dealing with the drugs issue is easy Ė diving and drugs donít mix, just as they donít with driving or any other activity that involves sharp mental agility and focus. Alcohol and smoking could arguably be considered in the same drugs category, so minimising your intake of both would be sensible. The physical abnormalities in your nose and palate do present a couple of practical difficulties. To breathe through the mouth alone, we compress the base of our tongue against the back of the hard palate, closing off the nose. With a defect in the palate, this manoeuvre is pretty difficult or impossible. Thus breathing through a regulator with your mask off (an essential skill in diver training) will cause water to be sucked into your nose, and much gagging and coughing will ensue. I think a trip to the ENT doctor would help clarify whether your palate and nasal passages can be patched up (they can insert all sorts of plastic prostheses these days). Your only other option would be to use a full face mask.

(other dive medical questions)


Copyright © e-med

Diagnosis - available both on-line and off
where we are - physically


Search e-med Site




The London Diving Chamber
Visit LDC Website

The Midlands Diving Chamber
Visit MDC Website

Tanked Up Magazine, the magazine for scuba divers and dive clubs
Tanked Up Magazine

LDC Training
LDC Training

Diving Chamber Treatment Trust Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) Charity
Diving Chamber Treatment Trust