Deviated Septum - Displaced thin wall within nasal passages

There is a thin wall between your nasal passages known as nasal septum. If this nasal septum gets displaced to one side and makes one nasal passage bigger than other then it is known as deviated septum.

What causes Deviated Septum ?

A nose injury is the most common cause, but not the only one. Some of the other causes of deviated septum are :

  • It can be genetic or inherited in your family.
  • Deviated Septum may happen during fetal development.
  • It can also occur due to an injury during child birth. 20% of child birth result in deviated septum primarily due to larger birth weight.
  • Accidents that have impact on nose can also cause deviated septum
  • Sports accidents can also cause it. It mostly happens in sports like boxing and wrestling, as impact on nose is common in these sports.
  • Ageing also affect our nasal structure. Mild deviated septum, which usually remain unnoticed, may worsen with time.
  • Swelling or irritation in nasal passages due to some infection may worsen the deviated septum and often help make mild deviated septum visible.

Deviated septum that occur during child birth are usually either S or C shaped, while those caused by accidents have extreme angles and often with fracture in cartilage.

What are the symptoms of Deviated Septum ?

  • Either one or both nasal passages gets narrowed and you feel difficulty in breathing either through one particular nostril or both, depending on your condition.
  • It increases your chances of nosebleeds, as you breath through only one nostril, and its skin get dried due to continuous usage. A normal person breaths through alternate nostrils (known as Alternate Nostril Breathing), which helps in keeping the skin wet.
  • Deviated septum disturbs nasal cycle, and forces the person to breath through mouth when you can't breath through either one or both nostrils.
  • Severe deviated septum can also result in facial pain. This topic is a matter of debate among experts as some doctors don't agree on that.
  • Bad odor from mouth is also a common symptom as a person with deviated septum prefers to breath with mouth, when he/she can't breath properly. It provides an adequate environment for bacteria to grow and generate bad odor.
  • A person suffering from deviated septum often create sounds during sleep, due to obstruction in air passage while breathing.
  • Deviated Septum can make a person unintentionally sleep on one particular side as it gives him/her comfort in breathing.

Do you know that 8 out of every 10 people in United States have mild to severe deviated septum. It is a very common medical condition and not all of them need a medical intervention.

Treatment of Deviated Septum

Initially doctors prescribe some medicine or sprays to treat the swollen mucous membranes. If your deviated septum is not too severe then it can help you.

Surgical correction of deviated septum is only advised if it is seriously affecting your breathing. The surgical correction of septum is know as septoplasty. Some people also opt for rhinoplasty (surgery to reshape the nose) along with septoplasty.

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