The thin wall, or septum, between the nostrils, should be in the middle of your nose. Sometimes, however, it’s off to one side or the other. This is called a “deviated septum”. This condition is usually due to an injury, causing the cartilage or bone of the septum to shift or buckle. This can happen at birth.
Some people can look in the mirror and see that they have a deviated septum. If the tip of your nose is pointing towards one of your ears, that is a good indication that you have one. If this doesn’t work, you can close your mouth, alternately blocking each nostril while breathing in, and see if one side of your nose seems to take in less air than the other. If one nostril is harder to breathe through than the other, you probably have a deviated septum.
Deviated septums have the potential to cause a variety of problems, including a blocked nasal passage, snoring and/or trouble sleeping, mouth breathing, nosebleeds, or recurring sinus infections. As a person ages, these problems may get worse.
Not all deviated septums cause problems. Some people with a have no symptoms at all. Fortunately, if there is a problem, a deviated septum can be fixed with a minimally invasive surgery in less than an hour.