Deviated Septum

A deviated septum occurs when the thin wall (nasal septum) between your nostrils is displaced to one side. Your septum separates your right and left nasal cavities and ideally is situated in the center of your nose, equally separating the two sides. However, in many people, the nasal septum is displaced, making one nasal passage smaller.

When a deviated septum is severe, it can block one side of your nose and reduce airflow, causing difficulty breathing, nosebleeds and other symptoms.

Treatment of nasal obstruction may include medications or adhesive strips to manage symptoms. But to correct a deviated septum, surgery is necessary.

Most septal deformities result in no symptoms, and you may not even know you have a deviated septum. Some septal deformities, however, may cause the following signs and symptoms:

  • Obstruction of one or both nostrils : This obstruction can make it difficult to breathe through the nostril or nostrils. This may be more noticeable when you have a cold (upper respiratory tract infection) or allergies that can cause your nasal passages to swell and narrow.

  • Nosebleeds : The surface of your nasal septum may become dry, increasing your risk of nosebleeds.

  • Facial pain : You may experience pain if your nasal septum is coming into contact with the outside wall of your nose.

  • Frequent or recurring sinus infections : Sinus infections can result from blocked mucus and are often marked by facial pain, nasal obstruction and a foul discharge.

  • Noisy breathing during sleep : This is more common in infants and young children with a deviated septum.

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