Deviated Septum

The thin wall (nasal septum) between your nasal passages can get moved to one side, which is known as a deviated septum. The nasal septum is frequently misaligned, or deviated, which reduces the size of one nasal opening in many people.

Breathing difficulties can result from a significantly deviated septum, which can obstruct one side of the nose and decrease airflow. When a deviated septum is exposed to the drying effects of airflow through the nose, it can occasionally cause crusting or bleeding in certain persons.

A deviated nasal septum, an enlargement of the tissues lining the nose, or a combination of the two can result in nasal obstruction, blockage, or congestion (obstruction). Medication to minimize edema may be used to treat nasal blockage. Surgery is required to fix a deviated septum.

Deviated Septum: Causes

Your nasal septum, the flimsy wall that divides your right and left nasal passageways, can get moved to one side, which is known as a deviated septum.

A deviated septum may result from −

  • A problem that exists from birth. Sometimes a fetus develops in the womb with a deviated septum, which is visible at birth.

  • The nose is hurt. Injuries that cause the nasal septum to shift out of place can also result in a deviated septum.

  • During labor, such an injury can happen to newborns. A nasal injury and deviated septum can occur in both children and adults as a result of many different incidents. The most frequent causes of nasal trauma include car accidents, contact sports, and physical play like wrestling.

  • Age-related changes to nasal anatomy may exacerbate a deviated septum over time. An infection-related swelling and inflammation of the sinus cavities or nasal cavities can further constrict the nasal channel and produce nasal obstruction.

Deviated Septum: Symptoms

The majority of septal displacements are asymptomatic, so you might not even be aware that your septum is crooked. Nonetheless, some septal abnormalities may result in the following symptoms −

  • Either one or both nostrils are blocked. Breathing via the nostril or nostrils may be challenging due to this obstruction. When you have a cold or allergies, which can make your nasal passages enlarge and constrict, you could experience this more often.

  • Nosebleeds. Your nasal septum's surface might dry out, which would make nosebleeds more likely.

  • Face hurt. The potential reasons for face discomfort in the nose are a topic of discussion. A significantly deviated septum, in which surfaces within the nose contact and exert pressure, maybe the source of one-sided facial discomfort.

  • Snoring while breathing loudly. One of the various causes of loud breathing, while you sleep, maybe a deviated septum or an enlargement of the tissues in your nose.

  • Understanding the nasal cycle. The obstruction of the nose fluctuates between being on one side and then switching to being on the other. The nasal cycle is the term for this. The consciousness of the nasal cycle is unusual and may point to nasal blockage.

  • A preference for one side of the bed. If one nasal tube is restricted, some people might prefer to sleep on a specific side to improve night-time nasal breathing.

A badly misaligned septum that causes nasal obstruction might result in −

  • Dry mouth brought on by repeated mouth breathing

  • Nasal passageways that feel congested or pressured

  • Sleep disturbance brought on by the discomfort of having trouble breathing through your nose at night

When to Visit a Doctor?

You should visit a doctor if any of the following occur −

  • A clogged nose (or noses) that doesn't improve after being treated

  • Several nosebleeds

  • Persistent sinus infections

Deviated Septum: Risk Factors

Some people are born with a deviated septum, which can happen during fetal development or as a result of birth trauma. The most frequent postnatal cause of a deviated septum is an injury that shifts the nasal septum. Risk elements consist of −

  • Taking part in contact sports

  • Failing to fasten your seatbelt when traveling in a motor vehicle.

Deviated Septum: Diagnosis

Your doctor will inquire about any symptoms you may be experiencing during your appointment.

The doctor will use a strong light and perhaps a tool made to spread open your nostrils to check the interior of your nose. The doctor may occasionally use a long, tube-shaped scope with a bright light at the tip to examine further back in your nose. Your nasal tissues may also be examined by the doctor before and after a decongestant spray application. He or she can identify a deviated septum and assess the severity of your disease based on this examination.

If you require treatment and your doctor does not specialize in ear, nose, and throat issues, he or she may refer you to a specialist for additional evaluation and care.

Deviated Septum: Treatment

Symptom management may be the goal of the first therapy for a deviated septum. Your physician could advise −

  • Decongestants. Decongestants are drugs that lessen nasal tissue swelling and aid in maintaining open nasal airways on both sides. Decongestants can be purchased as a nasal spray or as a tablet. But, use nasal sprays responsibly. Use that is frequent and ongoing might lead to dependence and make withdrawal symptoms harsher.

  • Oral decongestants have a stimulant impact that might make you nervous, raise your blood pressure, and speed up your heart rate.

  • Antihistamines. Antihistamines are drugs that aid in preventing allergy symptoms, such as runny or stuffy noses. In certain cases, they can also treat non-allergic diseases like a cold. Certain antihistamines make you drowsy, which might impair your ability to drive or engage in other activities that call for physical coordination.

  • Steroid nasal sprays. Sprays containing nasal corticosteroids that are prescribed by a doctor can aid with drainage and reduce nasal canal edema. Steroid sprays often take between one and three weeks to achieve their peak effectiveness, so it's crucial to use them according to your doctor's recommendations.

Medication won't fix a deviated septum; it just treats inflamed mucous membranes.

A Surgical Fix

You could think about having surgery to fix your deviated septum if you continue to suffer symptoms while receiving medical treatment (septoplasty).

The nasal septum is often straightened and moved to the middle of the nose during a septoplasty. Parts of the septum may need to be cut and removed to be properly reinserted in this situation. The degree of your deviation will determine how much improvement you may anticipate after surgery.

Deviated Septum: Prevention

By taking the following safety measures, you may be able to avoid nasal injuries that might result in a deviated septum −

  • While participating in contact sports, such as football and volleyball, wear a helmet or a midface mask.

  • While traveling in a motorized vehicle, buckle up.


The most typical reason for nasal blockage is a deviated nasal septum (DNS). Snoring, mouth breathing, and external nasal deformity are the results. Moreover, it affects the nasal cavity's airflow dynamics and the inappropriate aeration of the paranasal sinuses, which causes sinusitis.

Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha
Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha


Updated on: 26-Apr-2023


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