Ear, Nose and Throat

4 Signs You Should See a Doctor for Your Deviated Septum

Originally published March 29, 2018

Last updated October 13, 2022

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A woman holds the bridge of her nose and tilts her head back

Having a deviated septum is fairly common. So how do you know when it’s time to see a doctor? Read on to learn the signs.

How much do you know about the role your nostrils play in your ability to breathe well? For example, did you know that your nostrils can be different sizes?

Your nostrils and nasal cavity are divided into halves by your nasal septum. Ideally, that separation should be equal, but in as many as 80% of the population, it isn’t.

This asymmetrical quality is what’s called a deviated septum. While not everyone with a deviated septum has symptoms, if you’re experiencing these four signs, it may be time to schedule a visit with your doctor.

1. Frequent sinus infections: A deviated septum can prevent adequate drainage of your sinuses, which can lead to infections.

2. Difficulty breathing: A crooked septum can obstruct one or both nostrils, making it difficult for you to breathe through your nose.

3. Frequent nosebleeds: When your septum is deviated, your nasal passages can be drier, which, in turn, can cause more frequent nosebleeds.

4. Difficulty sleeping: Anyone who has ever had a cold knows how hard it can be to sleep when you can’t breathe through your nose properly. Those with a deviated septum may favor sleeping on one side of their body for easier breathing. It can also cause loud nighttime breathing, or snoring, which could disturb a partner’s sleep.

The standard treatment for a deviated septum is septoplasty. During the surgery, your surgeon will reposition and straighten your septum so it is straight. They may have to cut and remove parts of it, then reinsert them to get them in the proper position. Septoplasty may be done on its own or in conjunction with rhinoplasty to reshape the nose itself.


Anne Fritz
Anne Fritz is a freelance health and lifestyle writer.

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