Possible Causes of a Deviated Septum

crying newborn baby

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  • A 1978 study published in the Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology evaluated 2,380 newborn Caucasian infants and found that around 27 percent of the babies have a deviated septum
  • Researchers also showed that there two types of septal deformity: anterior cartilage deformity and combined septal deformity. The former is caused by direct trauma to the nose and may occur at any age, while the latter is caused by compression of the nasal cavity while in the womb or during birth

You may not realize it, but many people don’t have a perfectly straight septum. Since the nose projects outward from the face, it’s not surprising that it’s subjected to compressional forces that may cause the septum to become tilted or crooked. But the question is, what are the exact causes behind a severely deviated septum?

Studies Show That a Deviated Septum Is Prevalent in Newborns

Over the past few decades, studies done on deviated septa focused on their prevalence in newborn babies. A 1978 study published in the Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology evaluated 2,380 newborn Caucasian infants and found that around 27 percent of the babies had a deviated septum.1

Research also showed that there are two types of septal deformity: anterior cartilage deformity and combined septal deformity. The former is caused by direct trauma to the nose and may occur at any age, while the latter is caused by compression of the nasal cavity while in the womb or during birth.2

A 1988 study published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine also attained similar results. In this study, 1,000 newborns of different races were evaluated, and around 2.9 percent of the babies were found to have developed a nasal septum deformity. Researchers believed that this was caused by the compression of the babies’ nasal cavities during their intrauterine life.3

Intrauterine fetal position and mode of delivery may also play a role in the deviation of a nasal septum, based on a study from the Indian Pediatrics journal.4 Moreover, when a deviated septum is present from birth, it usually has an “S” or “C” shape with a smooth concavity.5,6

A 2012 study published in the Indian Journal of Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery found that the risk for developing a deviated septum may increase according to the birth weight of a newborn and the amount of birth trauma that they encountered. Out of the 250 babies that were evaluated in this study, approximately 20 percent had a deviated septum, which goes to show that this condition is indeed prevalent in newborns.7

Other Possible Causes of a Deviated Septum

Aside from developing a deviated septum inside the womb or during birth, it’s possible to acquire this condition later in life due to an injury. A blow to the side of your nose while playing sports or during an accident is enough to knock your nasal septum out of alignment.8

A deviated septum caused by trauma to the nose is usually irregular in shape. It may also affect all septal regions and include fractured portions of the cartilage. Aging may also affect your nasal structure, potentially worsening a deviated septum over time.9

Factors That May Increase Your Risk of Developing a Deviated Septum

Some of the risk factors that make you more susceptible to a deviated septum include:10

  • Playing contact sports, such as football or karate
  • Not wearing a well-fitting headgear during sports
  • Not wearing seatbelts or harnesses when riding a car

The best way to prevent a deviated septum is by avoiding injuries. With that in mind, always practice safety precautions, especially when playing sports or driving a vehicle.

MORE ABOUT DEVIATED SEPTUM

Deviated Septum: An Introduction

What Is a Deviated Septum?

Deviated Septum Symptoms

Deviated Septum Causes

Deviated Septum Surgery

Deviated Septum Treatment

Deviated Septum Prevention

Deviated Septum Diet

Deviated Septum FAQ

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