Common Deviated Septum Symptoms

How do I know if I have a deviated septum?  What symptoms do most people experience when they have a deviated septum? After hitting my nose, I feel like it's a little crooked up high (only noticeable to me) and my nose gets really stuffed up when I sleep.  I also think right after it happened my eyes looked like the dark circles that are normally there got a little worse.  The tip of my nose gets a little sore sometimes too.

Doctor Answers 18

Symptoms of septal deviation

Deviated septums can generate a variety of symptoms and sometimes none at all (asymptomatic).

Generally a deviated septum may:

  1. Cause external visible deviation (a crooked or twisted nose also called a c-shaped deformity)
  2. Deviation of the tip
  3. Make one nostril appear larger than the other
  4. Cause obstructive symptoms
  5. Be associated with sinus congestion
  6. Be worse with swelling at night
  7. Be worse with swelling casued by alterations in the autonomic nasal cycle
  8. Be aggravated by allergic conditions

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
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Deviated Septum 101

The nasal septum is the midline partition of cartilage and bone that separates one side of the nose from the other. Normally, the septum is straight. When it is crooked, it is termed a deviated septum. A deviated septum can block the nasal passage and contribute to symptoms of nasal obstruction. If the septum is deviated to one side, then patients will have difficulty breathing out of that side. It is possible to have a septum that is deviated or buckled in more than one direction. This can cause nasal obstruction on both sides.

Septoplasty, is the name for the surgery used to correct nasal obstruction resulting from a deviated (crooked) septum. Because a septoplasty does not change the shape of the nose, it is not considered a cosmetic procedure and is usually covered by health insurance.

A septoplasty is performed by making an incision on the inside of of the nose. The nasal lining covering the septum is lifted off of the septum. The portion of the septum that blocks the nasal passage is usually removed or relocated to relieve the obstruction.

There are other reasons that patients have symptoms of nasal obstruction. These include enlargement of the turbinates or collapse of the mid-portion of the bridge or the nostril sidewalls. Fortunately, each of these problems can be corrected surgically at the time of a rhinoplasty or septoplasty.

C. Spencer Cochran, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 105 reviews

Deviated Septum Symptoms

The most common symptom of a deviated nasal septum is a static nasal obstruction. It means the obstruction is always there and does not vary. The other type can be a dynamic obstruction caused by swelling of the turbinate glands inside the nose. These swell up with allergies, infections, hormonal changes etc.

Here is a test. You can get some Oxymetazolin spray over the counter and spray your nose. If it completely opens it, then you have dynamic or physiologic obstruction related to your turbinate glands. If the obstruction persists, then it is from a deviated septum. Typically it obstructs only one side only.

Note: Please do not use Oxymetazolin regularly in your nose as it can cause tolerance and chronic nasal obstruction called rhitis medicamentosa.

Your best option is to see an Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose, Throat doctor) to determine the cause of your nasal obstruction.

The deviation (crookedness) of the nose can be completely separate from the deviated septum issue. The sore tip should get better with time.


Tanveer Janjua, MD
Bedminster Facial Plastic Surgeon
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Septal Deviation Symptoms

The most common symptoms of deviated septum include;

  • Difficulty breathing through one or both nostrils
  • recurrent or chronic sinus infections
  • Nasal drainage or post nasal dripping
  • Noisy breathing
  • crusting
  • nasal bleeding

A board certified rhinoplasty surgeon with extensive training is best suited to address your problem

Direct or indirect examination of the nose as well as CT scan can be used to determine the extent of septal deviation.

Hope this was helpful.

Dr. Sajjadian

Ali Sajjadian, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Is it a deviated septum?

The nasal septum is the wall that divides the left and right side of your nasal passages and also forms part of the bridge of your nose.  It is made of bone, cartilage and mucous membranes.  Twisting, or deviation, of the septum can internal obstruction of the breathing passages and twisting or deformity of the external nose.  It is a very common finding and can also case no symptoms.  Not everyone needs surgical correction.

In reality, the septum is one part of many parts of the nose and sinus passages.  A comprehensive assessment of the nose both externally and internally with the aid of endoscopy will determine what exactly is causing nasal blockage or twisting of the nose.  Have your surgeon help you understand this assessment so you can receive the best treatment for your nose!

Christopher Cote, MD
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Common symptoms of a deviated septum

 The common symptoms  of a deviated septum is the inability to breathe one or both sides of the nose. It is very common to get a deviated septum after receiving trauma to the nose.  It is impossible to look at the outside of the nose and tell if there is a deviated septum internally.There are many issues inside the nose it can create breathing obstruction such as a deviated nasal septum, turbinate hypertrophy, and valve collapse. Each one of these are treated differently.  A septoplasty is performed through the nostrils to remove cartilage and bone blocking air flow in the back of the nose. The procedure is billed to the patient's medical insurance once preauthorization and medical necessity have been documented. The only way to know if you have a deviated septum is to visit an ENT/ facial plastic surgeon and have them do an examination in the back of the nose. 

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Symptoms of a deviated septum

The most common symptom of a deviated septum is difficulty breathing through one side of the nose or both sides.  Other symptoms include a deviation of the lower 2/3s of the nose, nosebleeds, chronic sinus symptoms, changes in smell and nasal drainage.  These are the most common.

In an acute setting, for example, after bumping your nose, the most common symptom is tenderness internally and difficulty breathing that's constant especially after 10-14 days.  Nosebleeds can occur.  The lower 2/3 of the nose may look deviated.

In your case, if the upper third is looking deviated then you may have mildly fractured the nasal bones which is connected to the septum so some soreness at the nasal tip is not unusual.  The best way is to have a nasal specialist look at the inside of your nose and if there's a fracture try to fix it within the first 14-21 days.

Mike Majmundar, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

The key symptoms are difficulty breathing, chronic congestion, and snoring.

The symptoms you have listed here are all normal and will subside with time. The likelihood is that you are experiencing swelling from having hit your nose. Many people suffer from a deviated septum. The key symptoms are difficulty breathing, chronic congestion, and snoring. The only way to know for sure if you have a deviated septum is through a physician's diagnosis or a ct scan. A deviated septum can be corrected by surgery.

Saeed Marefat, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Deviated Septum

Good Question.  So who do you know you have a deviated septum...the truth almost everyone has a deviated septum to one degree or another.  That is not the issue.  The issue is whether or not the deviation is causing you issues.  Generally deviated septums are either just from birth or following a trauma.  Most patients with significant deviation complain of difficulty breathing through one or both nostrils.  In addition to the septum the inferior turbinates can be involved in the problem and may need attention.  Both can be corrected at the same time....with or without cosmetic surgery of the nose as well.

Hope that helps

Dr Rahban

Rady Rahban, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

How do I know if I have a deviated septum?

Knowing if you have a deviated septum depends on an examination by a specialist of the nose. You need your nose examined and give a careful history to the doctor. This will reveal what is going on. 


Dr. Zoumalan

Richard A. Zoumalan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.