Do you have severe sinusitis? Are you having occasional nosebleeds and difficulty breathing? Is one nostril always feeling different from the other? These are just some ways to conclude that you could be having a deviated septum.
What’s a deviated septum? The wall that separates two nostrils is called the nasal septum. Though the nasal septum looks simple and pretty straightforward, it has multiple layers of bones, cartilages, and mucosa to aid multiple functions like supporting the external nose, regulating the airflow through the nose and contributing to the sense of smell.1
What Is A Deviated Nasal Septum?
Normally, the nasal septum is a straight one. In the case of a deviated septum, the septum is bent or slightly off center. There are many reasons why this could happen. Some people are born this way while some others get it during birth. In some cases, the nasal septum is straight at the time of birth but as the child grows, the deviation could happen. But one of the common reasons for a deviated septum, especially among adults, is an injury.2
Septum deviation can be of two types. One is the cartilaginous type where the cartilage is bent or dislocated and the second one is the combined type where both the bone and the cartilage of the septum are deviated.3
Causes Of Deviated Nasal Septum
A deviated nasal septum could be congenital which means you could be born with one. The deviation happens at the fetal stage itself.4
But if a newborn has a deviated septum, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is congenital. Nasal septum could deviate during childbirth, too, possibly from some trauma during birth.5
Nasal septum deviation, however, is not limited to babies or children. It is highly prevalent in the adult population as well. A recent international study has found a 90 percent prevalence of septum deviation in adults.6
In adults, it is mostly the outcome of an injury. Being the most prominent facial feature, the nose stands a chance to get injured easily. Any kind of facial trauma can affect the nose. While bone fractures are common, deviated septum from an injury is prevalent, too.7 If you play contact sports, you are highly likely to suffer from a nasal injury. Not wearing a seatbelt while traveling is another way you could injure your nose.
What Happens When You Have A Deviated Septum?
Having a deviated septum feels like having allergies all the time. That’s not only because a deviated septum invites many airborne allergies, but the symptoms of an off-center nasal septum are very similar to that of an allergy. Swelling, inflammation of the sinuses, runny nose and congestion would be commonplace. A person with a deviated septum could keep his family members awake all night with loud snoring, thanks to incessant breathing problems. There is a good chance of this person having insomnia, nosebleeds, crusting inside the nose, repeated nasal charges, etc.8
The condition is annoying, to say the least. But if you seek medical help, it can be aligned back to normal so you can lead a normal life. Do you want to try that? Consult your doctor immediately.
|↑1||Kanowitz, Seth J. “Deviated Nasal Septum.” Encyclopedia of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery (2013): 688-693.|
|↑2||Septoplasty. Surgical Hospital of Oklahoma.|
|↑3||Gray, Lindsay. “The Deviated Nasal Septum—1—Ætiology.” The Journal of Laryngology & Otology 79, no. 7 (1965): 567-575.|
|↑4||Podoshin, L., R. Gertner, M. Fradis, and A. Berger. “Incidence and treatment of deviation of nasal septum in newborns.” Ear, nose, & throat journal 70, no. 8 (1991): 485-487.|
|↑5||Cashman, E. C., Terence Farrell, and M. Shandilya. “Nasal birth trauma: a review of appropriate treatment.” International journal of otolaryngology 2010 (2010).|
|↑6||Reitzen, Shari D., Wayne Chung, and Anil R. Shah. “Nasal septal deviation in the pediatric and adult populations.” Ear, Nose & Throat Journal 90, no. 3 (2011): 112.|
|↑7||Higuera, Stephen, Edward I. Lee, Patrick Cole, Larry H. Hollier Jr, and Samuel Stal. “Nasal trauma and the deviated nose.” Plastic and reconstructive surgery 120, no. 7 (2007): 64S-75S.|
|↑8||The Causes and Long Term effects of a Deviated Septum. ENT & Allergy Associates.|