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Deviated Septum (cont.)

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What are the symptoms of deviated septum?

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A deviated septum may not cause any problems in some people. When a deviated septum does cause symptoms, they may include:

  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Nasal congestion, usually one side more than the other
  • Recurrent sinus infections
  • Nosebleeds
  • Sleep problems, such as loud snoring or sleep apnea
  • Headache postnasal drip

How is deviated septum diagnosed?

Your health care professional can diagnose a deviated septum during the physical examination. Usually a bright light and an instrument that can help visualize the nasal septum by opening the nostril (nasal speculum) will help make the correct diagnosis.

How is deviated septum treated?

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A deviated septum is an extremely common condition and many people with a deviated septum do not need treatment.

Some symptoms such as a stuffy nose or postnasal drip may be alleviated with medication, including decongestants, antihistamines, or nasal sprays.

If a person has a deviated septum and it causes breathing problems or sleep apnea and snoring, surgery may be recommended to repair the septum. Surgery to fix a deviated septum is called a septoplasty, submucous resection of the septum, or septal reconstruction.

When should I see a doctor about a deviated septum?

See your doctor about a deviated septum if you have:

  • trouble breathing,
  • sleep problems (particularly sleep apnea), or
  • chronic sinus problems.

A deviated septum may cause any of these problems, however, there are other reasons these symptoms may occur and it is important to see a doctor for a correct diagnosis and treatment.

Can deviated septum be prevented?

A deviated septum that is caused by injury to the nose or face may be prevented by following safety precautions:

  • Always wear proper helmets and headgear when playing sports
  • Always wear your seatbelt when riding in a car

REFERENCE: UpToDate. Devaiated septum: The basics.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/30/2013

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Deviated Septum - Causes Question: If known, what was the cause of your deviated septum?
Deviated Septum - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms associated with your deviated septum?
Deviated Septum - Surgery Question: Did you have surgery for a deviated septum? Did you also have rhinoplasty done at the same time?