A deviated nasal septum occurs when the thin wall (nasal septum) between your nostrils is displaced to one side. In many people, the nasal septum is off-center — or deviated — making one nasal passage smaller than the other. Deviations of the nasal septum can lead to nasal obstruction, difficulty breathing, recurrent sinus infections, nosebleeds, sleep problems, and headaches.
- Birth conditions: Some people are born with a deviated septum due to positioning in the womb or injuries during childbirth.
- Injury to the nose: Trauma such as a blow to the face can cause the nasal septum to deviate.
- Aging: As we age, the structures and cartilage of the nose may shift, leading to a deviated septum.
- Previous surgery or medical procedures: Nasal surgery or invasive procedures in the nasal area can result in a deviated septum.
While you cannot prevent a congenital deviated septum, you can take measures to prevent nose injuries leading to a deviated septum:
1. Wear a helmet when participating in activities that could cause a nose injury: This includes sports like hockey, football, and baseball.
2. Use seat belts and air bags in cars.
3. Avoid physical fights.
Myths, Misconceptions, and Facts
Myth: A deviated septum always causes symptoms.
Fact: Many people have a deviated septum but never experience any symptoms.
Myth: A deviated septum always requires surgery.
Fact: Surgery is only recommended if the deviated septum is causing troublesome symptoms.
Myth: Surgery for a deviated septum changes the shape of the nose.
Fact: Septoplasty, the surgery for a deviated septum, usually does not change the external appearance of the nose.
Myth: Surgery for a deviated septum is extremely painful.
Fact: Most people experience only minor discomfort following septoplasty.
Myth: Recovery from deviated septum surgery is long.
Fact: Most people recover within a few weeks and can return to normal activities.