Studies show that more than 80 % of humans have deviated nasal septum, in varying degrees. Read on, for some information about deviated nasal septum causes.
Nasal septum is the structure that divides and separates the nostrils. It is partly cartilaginous, but has bony parts too. This structure runs in between the left and right airways of the nose. Nasal septum has a thin skin covering that is rich in blood vessels. The ideal positioning of this structure is through the center, so that the nostrils on both sides are equal in size. However, such normal nasal septum is uncommon as more than 80% of humans are said to have slightly deviated ones.
Deviated nasal septum is a condition that denotes displacement of the septum from its normal position. Minor deviation to any one side is very common, but, in some people, it can be so severe that the person will experience difficulty in breathing, along with a myriad of other symptoms. So, deviated septum can occur in varying degrees and the symptoms and treatment will also vary.
Causes of Deviated Septum
As mentioned above, the severity of nasal septum deviation may not be the same for all. It has been observed that in most cases, the septum is slightly deviated to one side, making that nostril narrower than the other. This condition is so minor that it may not even cause symptoms, and go unnoticed. But, this does not mean that all such cases will be asymptomatic. However, most of those with severe nasal septum deviation will show symptoms ranging from moderate to severe. Even the cause may sometimes play a role in the severity of deviation.
The following are some of the common deviated septum causes.
- So, a slight deviation of the nasal septum is considered normal. According to experts, such small degree of deviation normally happens after the age of seven. In such cases, deviation is mostly found to occur towards the right nostril.
- The most common cause for moderate to severe nasal septum deviation is injury or trauma. Such injury is very common in sports persons. A blow to the face, tripping on the staircase, getting hit by a ball or some other thing, colliding with another person or any other such reason may cause deviated septum. In case of newborns, such injury (like compression of septum) is common during normal childbirth process.
- In some people, septum deviation is found to be associated with genetic connective tissue disorders like Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
Deviated Septum Symptoms
The severity of symptoms is proportional to the degree of deviation. While minor deviations may not cause any symptom, some people may develop some problems, as and when they contract cold or respiratory tract infection. However, moderate to severe septum deviation can cause a wide range of symptoms.
In this case too, the type of symptoms may depend on the nature of the deviation. The skin that covers the nasal septum may get dry and cracked, casing nosebleeds. The deviation may block the airflow causing difficulty in breathing, which may aggravate with cold or respiratory tract infection. Sinus infections are also common in such people, as the normal mucus drainage may get affected. They may also experience post nasal drip, nasal congestion, snoring, facial pain and headaches.
Septum deviation does not require any treatment, if it is very minor and is not causing any significant symptoms. But, those with recurrent and severe symptoms may contact an otolaryngologist and seek treatment for the same. The doctor may start with medication to manage the condition. In such cases, decongestants, antihistamines, nasal sprays, etc. are prescribed. For those with minor symptoms, such treatment is okay, especially, if the symptoms arise rarely.
In severe cases, medication may provide temporary relief only, but, for some, they may not work at all. Such severe cases may require surgical repair of the septum. This process is called septoplasty. Another surgical procedure called septorhinoplasty is also carried out in some cases of deviated septum. This involves septoplasty with rhinoplasty (reshaping of nose). This article is for informative purposes only, and if you experience the above said symptoms too often or severely, then, contact a specialist for treating the same.