Nasal obstruction is a symptom rather than a standalone diagnosis, and there is a wide range of medical and structural problems that could cause such a symptom. Medical conditions include bacteria, infection, or illness. Structural conditions could indicate a nasal septal deformity, nasal polyps, or a problem with the turbinate bones.
A deviated septum is a common condition that involves a displacement of the septum, the wall that separates the nostrils, to one side of the nose. About 80 percent of people have a deviated septum, which often develops due to an injury to the nose. This condition makes one nasal passage smaller than the other, affecting breathing if the displacement is great enough.
Patients with a severely deviated septum may experience nasal congestion, nosebleeds, and frequent or recurring sinus infections due to their uneven nasal passages. Those with only minor displacement may not know that they have a deviated septum and experience no symptoms.
Treatment for a deviated septum can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the associated symptoms. This condition can be managed through decongestants and antihistamines that aim to reduce nasal congestion for most patients. For more severe cases, an ear, nose, and throat physician may recommend surgery to correct the displacement. Surgery involves a procedure called a septoplasty to reposition the septum in the center of the nose. This procedure is often performed in conjunction with rhinoplasty or nose reshaping surgery.