Deviated septum: Symptoms

Most septal deformities result in no symptoms, and you may not even know you have a deviated septum. Some septal deformities, however, may cause the following signs and symptoms:

Obstruction of one or both nostrils. This blockage (obstruction) can make it difficult to breathe through the nostril or nostrils. You may notice this more when you have a cold (upper respiratory tract infection) or allergies that can cause your nasal passages to swell and narrow.

Nosebleeds. The surface of your nasal septum may become dry, increasing your risk of nosebleeds.

Facial pain. There is some debate about the possible nasal causes of facial pain. A possible cause of one-sided facial pain could be a severe deviated septum in which surfaces within the nose touch and cause pressure.

Noisy breathing during sleep. A deviated septum or swelling of the intranasal tissues can be one of the many reasons for noisy breathing during sleep.

Awareness of the nasal cycle. It is normal for the nose to alternate being obstructed on one side, then change to being obstructed on the other. This is called the nasal cycle. The nasal cycle is normal, but being aware of the nasal cycle isn’t typical and can indicate nasal obstruction.

Preference for sleeping on a particular side. Some people may prefer to sleep on a particular side in order to optimize breathing through the nose at night if one nasal passage is narrowed.