How Does a Deviated Septum Impact Your Life?

Dec 19, 2022
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A deviated septum can make breathing difficult, significantly affecting your daily functioning. Learn more about how fixing it can improve your quality of life.

The bone in your nose that divides your nasal cavity is called the septum. When your septum becomes dislodged, causing it to be off-center, this is referred to as a deviated septum. A minor deviation may cause little to no symptoms. Still, a more severe deviation may cause difficulty breathing, infections, and headaches. 

A deviated septum is a lot more common than most people think. Some research shows that up to 80% of people have a deviated septum. 

Dr. Mani Zadeh is a board-certified head and neck surgeon with the skills and expertise to treat a deviated septum effectively. 

Learn more about how a deviated septum can affect your life and what you can do to fix it. 

Causes of a deviated septum 

A nose injury is one of the most common causes of a deviated septum. An accident, high-impact sports, a fall, or a fight could cause this. In some cases, a deviated septum is congenital, meaning it occurs at birth.

However, improper development is the primary cause of a deviated septum. As your nose grows during developmental stages, your septum may naturally shift to one side. 

How a deviated septum impacts your life 

In severe cases, a deviated septum can cause debilitating symptoms. The most bothersome symptom is difficulty breathing. Other symptoms may include: 

  • Nasal congestion 
  • Nosebleeds
  • Headaches 
  • Facial pain 
  • Severe snoring 
  • Sleep apnea 

Getting treatment for a deviated septum when experiencing symptoms is important.. People with untreated deviated septums may experience frequent nosebleeds, headaches, and nasal congestion.. 

If your deviated septum blocks your sinuses from draining, you may develop sinusitis. Sinusitis is an inflammation of your sinuses caused by a bacterial or viral infection. It causes uncomfortable symptoms such as tenderness, pain, headaches, and nasal congestion. 


Complications that can develop from a deviated septum include dry mouth and sleep difficulties. A dry mouth is caused by breathing through your mouth due to the obstruction in your nose. 

Treatment for a deviated septum 

People with deviated septums who experience no symptoms don’t typically need any treatment. For people who do, we would generally recommend a surgery called a septoplasty to repair your deviated septum. 

Age, health, preexisting conditions, and other risk factors are first considered before surgery. Other surgeries that can help fix a deviated septum include a rhinoplasty used to reshape the nose or a sinus surgery to open up your sinuses. 

What to expect from surgery 

A septoplasty is an outpatient procedure that typically takes about an hour or two. You will be placed under local or general anesthesia while your septum is repaired. You can expect your nose to feel bruised and swollen for a couple of weeks after the procedure. 

Living with a deviated septum can affect your quality of life and general well-being. You can get long-lasting and effective treatment with a qualified ear, nose, and throat surgeon. Book an appointment online or call 310-286-0123.