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How common is a deviated septum?

Garrett H. Bennett, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)
There is truly no such thing as a perfectly straight septum. The nasal septum may be symmetric on the left and right sides but there will be contours and bulges where the cartilage and bone press into the airway. A deviated septum is when an examiner observes that one side is significantly more obstructed than the other side. This occurs in 4 out of 5 people which is much higher than the percent of people with breathing problems. The real question is: "Do I have trouble breathing." If so, you may want to visit an ENT for an evaluation.

Deviated septums are incredibly common. Estimates suggest that roughly eight out of ten people have a deviated septum. Of course, many deviations are so slight that you do not even notice them. Only more severe cases create breathing complications and lead to symptoms like nasal congestion and bloody noses.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.