The nasal septum is the thin wall made of cartilage that should be fairly centered between your nostrils. When that wall of cartilage becomes displaced, one nasal passage is smaller than the other, which can lead to a number of complications.
Some people are born with a deviated septum. This occurs during the development of the fetus. Others develop a displaced septum through an injury that has caused the thin nasal wall to be knocked out of place. In some cases, this happens to babies during the birthing process. Children and adults may develop a deviated septum while playing contact sports, in an auto accident, during active play, from falling down, and so on.
These complications include:
- Nasal obstruction (blocked nose)
- Sinus infections
- Snoring during sleep
- Loud breathing
- Facial pain
- Postnasal drip
- Sleep apnea
Many people have a displaced septum, but do not experience deviated septum symptoms. In fact, according to WebMD, 80 percent of people have a septum that is somewhat misaligned. However, there is nothing to be concerned about unless the misalignment is severe enough that it is causing noticeable problems.
Some individuals experience chronic symptoms. If you are experiencing ongoing issues such as poor sleep, pain, nasal obstruction, or any other chronic problems, visit your ear nose and throat doctor to receive a diagnosis and to learn about effective treatment plans. Depending on the nature of your problem, your doctor may prescribe antihistamines, nasal steroid sprays, or decongestants in order to manage symptoms such as postnatal drop or nasal congestion. These treatment plans offer only temporary relief, however. For long-term relief, deviated septum surgery may be required. This surgery, known as septoplasty, will reposition your septum into the ideal position – the center of your nose – so that your symptoms can be relieved for good.