Symptoms of a Deviated Septum You Should Look For

breathing difficulty

Story at-a-glance -

  • Some people only experience mild symptoms of a deviated septum when they suffer from a common cold or other forms of an upper respiratory tract infection, which causes the nose tissues to swell and narrow
  • In cases of a severely deviated nasal septum, one or both of the nostrils may often become obstructed, leading to more serious symptoms that may affect your ability to breathe, sleep and perform day-to-day activities

The symptoms of a deviated septum may vary from one person to another. The severity of the deformity may also contribute to how serious the symptoms are.

Some people only experience mild symptoms of a deviated septum when they suffer from a common cold or an upper respiratory tract infection, which causes the nose tissues to swell and narrow. These symptoms usually disappear once the infection resolves.1

For those with a severely deviated nasal septum, one or both of the nostrils may often become obstructed, leading to more serious symptoms that may affect their ability to breathe, sleep and perform day-to-day activities.2 Read on to learn more about the warning signs of a severely deviated nasal septum and how to diagnose them.

Telltale Signs of a Severely Deviated Septum

If the deviation of your nasal septum is significant, the symptoms that you encounter may be more severe on the narrower side of your nose.3 These symptoms include:4,5,6

Difficulty breathing

Sinus infections

Nosebleeds

Dry nose

Noisy breathing during sleep

Facial pain

Post-nasal drip

Headaches

Sleeping on one side, usually opposite to the blocked nasal passage

A deviated septum may also cause you to become aware of your nasal cycle, a normal phenomenon wherein the nasal congestion transfers from one side of the nose to another. Being aware of your nasal cycle is an indication that you have an abnormal amount of nasal obstruction.7

How to Diagnose a Deviated Septum

If you experience one or more of the symptoms mentioned above, you should consult your physician (specifically an ear, nose and throat specialist) to properly diagnose your condition and determine the best treatment option to help improve your breathing.

During your consultation, the doctor may inquire about the severity of symptoms. Your medical history may also be reviewed for previous injuries, surgeries and chronic symptoms related to your nasal passages. After these initial procedures, the doctor will then use a nasal speculum to open your nostrils and physically examine the appearance of your nasal passages.8,9

Tips to Remember When Consulting Your Doctor About a Deviated Septum

The symptoms of a deviated septum may be mistaken for other forms of upper respiratory infection so, to avoid a misdiagnosis, it's best to be prepared when consulting your doctor regarding this condition.

Before your appointment, take note of how long your nasal obstruction has been present and which side of your nose is more congested. You should also inform your physician if there are any factors that relieve your condition or make it worse.10

Don't hesitate to ask your doctor questions in order to gain a better understanding of this medical condition. Keep in mind that the more you know about this problem, the better you can manage its effects.

MORE ABOUT DEVIATED SEPTUM

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Deviated Septum Causes

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Deviated Septum Treatment

Deviated Septum Prevention

Deviated Septum Diet

Deviated Septum FAQ

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