Wellness & Education

Is One of Your Nostrils Harder to Breathe Through? You May Have A Deviated Septum

If one of your nostrils is harder to breathe through than the other, you may have a deviated septum.

The nasal septum is the thin wall of tissue that divides one side of the inside of your nose from the other. If the septum weren’t there, you would have one big nostril instead of two. When your septum is “deviated”, this means that it isn’t in the middle of your nose, but a bit off to one side or the other.  This can happen as the result of an injury or at birth. Whatever the cause, the result is a septum that has shifted or buckled to the side.  

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 septa have the potential to cause a variety of problems, including a blocked nasal passage, snoring and/or trouble sleepingmouth breathing, nosebleeds, or recurring sinus infections. As a person ages, these problems may get worse.  

Not all deviated septa cause problems. Some people with one 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