ENT Disorders: Understanding Deviated Nasal Septum

Posted on: 8 March 2017

The nasal septum is a critical structure which separates the two airways of the nose, that is, the nostrils. This septum is primarily made of bone and cartilage, and it is typically strong. However, the position of the septum can shift to one side of the nose, instead of remaining at a mostly midline location. This physical disorder is commonly known as nasal deviated septum. The condition is relatively common and affects numerous individuals, although most are ignorant of the issue. Here is a brief outline of the important aspects to help you understand nasal septum deviation if you have been affected by the disorder.

Causes of Deviation

The most common cause of nasal septum deviation is trauma. In simple terms, impact that affects the nose such as a direct blow to an individual's face can cause the position of the septum to shift. Some cases of the disorder are associated with congenital disorder. In this type of case, the deviation would have occurred at birth due to the compression of the nasal structure. Poor habits such as frequent use of cocaine can also force the movement of the bone and cartilage forming the septum. In rare situations, the disorder may be as a result of genetic conditions affecting the connective tissues such as homocystinuria and Marfan syndrome.

Common Symptoms

Mild nasal septum deviations will not cause any noticeable signs of the disorder. However, if your case is more serious, you will experience some significant symptoms. The most common sign of deviation is the obstruction of one or even both of your nostrils. This can be attributed to the fact that the movement of the septum will reduce the size of this airway. This symptom will be more prominent when you have an allergy or a cold. The obstructive deviation will cause difficulty in breathing when you are asleep, and you might become aware of the nasal cycle during normal breathing. Additionally, you might experience other symptoms such as frequent nosebleeds, facial pain and recurrent sinusitis.

Treatment Options

The right treatment for deviated nasal septum will depend on severity of the condition and the symptoms. The initial therapy involves managing the symptoms associated with nasal obstruction and breathing difficulties. The doctor might prescribe medications such as decongestants, nasal steroid spray or antihistamines for this purpose. If the deviation is severe, surgical intervention will be necessary. The most efficient procedure is septoplasty which involves correction of the position of the septum.

Consult your ENT specialist for proper diagnosis and subsequent treatment of nasal septum deviation.