Nasal obstruction interferes with one of the most essential functions of the body: breathing. While there are a large number of reasons for the presence of nasal obstruction, a deviated septum is one of the leading causes.
Over and above breathing problems, deviated septum can also cause chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip or nasal congestion, nosebleeds, facial pain and headaches.
As strange as it may sound, close to 80% of the population has a deviated septum. But do you know what the deviated septum causes are?
Since the prevalence of deviated septum is so high in the population, chances are that you too are part of this large group and suffering its consequences.
Most Common Deviated Septum Causes
You need to remember that a deviated septum occurs when the septum or the thin wall that separates the two nostrils is inclined more on one side and does not divide the nasal passage into two equal halves. Essentially, there are three reasons why this can happen:
- The condition is present at birth. Here the deviated septum cause can be traced back to the fetal development stage that later becomes apparent at birth. The deviated septum cause is contributed to “cartilaginous growth abnormalities”. Trauma during birth is a common deviated septum cause, a defect that persists during adulthood.
- As an after-effect of a nasal injury. In children and adults a wide range of accidents can lead to deviated septum, including tripping and falling down a flight of stairs, colliding with an object or person, etc. However, the most common injuries that cause deviated septum are during sporting events like skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, bicycling, etc.
In the past couple of decades, with the increase in the number of contact sports, the incidences of nasal trauma have also increased. This includes nasal fractures, crookedness and of course a deviated septum. Many consider this to be the primary deviated septum cause, resulting in serious nasal obstruction and turbulent nasal airflow that soon becomes a chronic condition.
- Another common cause for deviated septum is unusual growth pattern of the septum. At times the septum may grow crooked due to limited space and the overgrowth can lead to buckling or bending of the cartilaginous septum.
What Can a Deviated Septum Cause?
A deviated septum can cause a number of problems:
- Any major deviated septum can cause turbulent airflow.
- Decreased airflow often reduces a person’s ability to smell.
- Reduced airflow can impede normal physiologic functions of the nose. Under normal circumstances, the airflow into the nose is processed in a particular manner so that the air delivered to the lungs is humidified, warmed and filtered. Any obstruction to this normal process can cause some serious health issues.
- Air turbulence and nasal dryness caused by deviated septum can cause nasal bleeding.
- It can interfere with sinus drainage and cause recurrent sinusitis.
- Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are two of the most common sleep disorders resulting from a deviated septum.