Why is My Nose Crooked to One Side? Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments

Crooked Nose

Why is my nose crooked to one side? There are many reasons why your nose might be crooked, but the most common is that one side of your nose is longer than the other. This often occurs when cartilage in the nasal septum has been pushed out of place or broken. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at why some noses are crooked and why they may stay that way even after surgery.

Understanding a Crooked Nose: What is a Deviated Septum?

A crooked nose can happen because of many different things. The most common cause is a condition called a deviated septum, which is why so many people have crooked noses in the morning when they wake up.

Deviated Nasal Passage

A deviated septum occurs when the nasal septum in the nose is pushed to one side or another instead of running straight down the middle of the nose. This is also why it’s common for people who have a deviated septum to always breathe through their mouth. Because when they breathe through their nose, there is no room for airflow on one side due to the deviated septum.

If you are curious why you have a crooked nose to one side in the morning, it is pretty simple – when you sleep at night, your tissue swells up. And if you have a deviated septum, this swelling is uneven across both sides of the nose, causing the deviated septum to be even more pronounced.

Causes of Deviated Nasal Septum

A deviated septum is a medical condition in which the nasal septum, or thin wall between your two nasal cavities, veers to one side. This condition may happen because of trauma from a broken nose or from using cocaine. When this condition begins to bother a person, it’s called a septal deviation.

In fact, there are several reasons why you have a crooked nose to one side. The most common causes are:

  •     Abnormal development of the cartilage that separates the nose passages
  •     Injury to the face, head, or neck area
  • Weak cartilage due to chronic inflammation of sinuses and nasal cavities
  •     Asymmetry in either side of the face can make achieving a perfectly straight nose impossible. Typically, this occurs after trauma or birth defects and is more common to affect the left-sided deviation.

These reasons can cause the septum to shift over time. But why does it move? It’s not really understood why but some research has shown that genetics plays a role in developing the condition.

Deviated Septum Symptoms and Complications

The symptoms of this condition vary from patient to patient. They can depend on why the septum deviates and how severe it is. Some people may not even know they have this condition unless they’ve experienced some of the following:

Recurring nosebleeds

If the deviated septum is severe enough, it can cause recurring nosebleeds.  Nosebleeds are a common symptom of a deviated septum and usually happen because blood vessels break due to the pressure from the bent septum.  The blood can trickle down your throat or into your nasal passages.  

Sleep apnea

A deviated septum can be the main reason why you have sleep apnea. The deviation causes the airway where your nasal passages are located to become blocked off, preventing air from going into your lungs while you breathe. This results in a sound or no sound at all during sleep. You might also experience excessive daytime tiredness because you’re not getting the sleep you need.

Mouth breathing

Mouth breathing can actually cause deviated septums. This is why people who breathe through their mouths will get crooked noses because of the way they hold their mouths while sleeping, causing them to breathe only through the mouth and never the nose.

Nasal polyps

Nasal Polyps can develop as a result of crooked noses. These nasal polyps cause swelling and inflammation in the nose, causing breathing problems. If left untreated, it can lead to even more severe health problems.

Sinus infections

A crooked nose might make the patient feel discomfort and pain to one side. This is why it is often associated with sinus infection or sinusitis because the septum will be pressing against the sinus. This prevents proper drainage and pressure release, leading to a swollen nose.

A deviated septum can usually cause difficulty breathing issues. If left untreated, this condition can result in significant and even life-threatening health problems. The help of a qualified physician is necessary to evaluate patients with a suspected septal deviation as soon as possible after they notice the symptoms.

How To Diagnose a Deviated Septum?

A doctor usually performs a physical examination to diagnose a deviated septum. The doctor may look inside the nose with a particular instrument to see whether the nasal passages are wide or constricted or one side is higher than the other. It can be difficult for an untrained person to measure the nose accurately without proper instruments.

The septum is often straight in children under 18 years of age. It may become crooked later during teen years or adulthood for unknown reasons.

Treatment Options For a Deviated Septum

Treatment for a crooked nose can be varied depending on its seriousness. Usually, crooked noses are only a cosmetic concern. However, sometimes, they can affect your breathing practices.

In any case, reconstructive surgery such as nasal endoscopic septoplasty is the most common surgical procedure for a deviated septum. This surgery is ideal for people with breathing difficulty, frequent infections, and other complications like nasal congestion and nasal polyps.

This kind of nose surgery aims to straighten the deviated septum by reducing its size, adjusting its position, or re-positioning it entirely. If you have crooked bones in your nose, your doctor or surgeon can help you straighten them. The doctor also attaches the cartilage within the nose to its normal position. They do this before fixing the nose in place with screws or stitching.

During this surgery, a surgeon creates a tiny incision at the back of the nose, where it will not be noticeable. They will insert a small camera with an attached light source to a tube. The camera sends images to a video monitor so that the doctor can assess the septum, bones, and cartilage condition before making necessary repairs.

Other surgical options may include cosmetic rhinoplasty if you only want to improve the appearance of your nose. But a facial plastic surgeon may offer functional rhinoplasty to address your functional and cosmetic issues.

Furthermore, other options include non-surgical treatments. This incorporates using a nasal septal splint before bedtime, antihistamines, and decongestants. In extreme cases, a doctor may suggest using a surgical device to push the nose back into place over time. This usually only happens in severe cases or if other methods have been unsuccessful.

Recovery Time After Surgery

Nasal endoscopic septoplasty is an outpatient surgical procedure that does not require hospitalization. Most people will return home on the same day as their surgery, but some may have to stay overnight for observation. Doctors advise their patients to take it easy during recovery time and not participate in strenuous activities until they have had time to heal.

Septoplasty

The procedure takes about 1 hour, and patients can return home approximately 1 or 2 hours later. Recovery time varies from person to person, but most people can expect to feel better within a few days after the surgery, with complete relief from symptoms in up to 90% of cases. Patients are necessary to be off work for around 1 to 2 weeks.

Pain medication will be necessary until the effects of the local anesthesia wear off. Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics for 10 days to fight against infection and reduce healing time. Taking painkillers like ibuprofen can also help alleviate discomfort.

Patients should avoid blowing their noses, sneezing, swimming, and exerting themselves in any way until their nose heals completely. In addition, they also need to avoid sitting up or bending down for a week after surgery to reduce the risk of bleeding from the nasal cavity. It is advisable to continue using a nasal spray for a few days, even after symptoms have subsided. This clears out blood clots that may form, especially after nosebleeds.

The doctor advised those who have broken their noses to place an ice pack on the area for 15 minutes every hour to reduce swelling and discomfort. The cold temperature constricts the blood vessels, thus reducing bleeding and bruising. It is also advisable to keep the head elevated whenever possible (e.g., while sleeping).

Complications Associated With Septoplasty

There are several risks to consider when undergoing surgery for a deviated septum. Some of the most common side effects include bleeding, swelling, and bruising around the nose and eyes. You can minimize the risks of septoplasty by:

  •     discussing them with your doctor ahead of time
  •     choosing an experienced surgeon
  •     and taking care of your health with nutritious foods, plenty of rest, and avoiding alcohol.

Complications that can complicate the surgery process may include injury to the sinuses or nasal structures, prolonged bleeding, a temporary sense of smell, and pain around the surgical area. More severe complications may also occur, such as nerve damage near the eyes, asymmetry in the nose (which can result in an unnatural appearance), infection, and blood clots.

Conclusion

In summary, it is essential to know that a doctor or surgeon can fix the deviated septum with surgery. The critical thing to remember about this condition is that the symptoms will persist even if you don’t have any other medical problems. This article has provided information and treatments for those who suffer from a deviated septum either by themselves or as part of another problem such as allergies or sinusitis. If your nose seems crooked on one side, see your doctor right away so they can prescribe an appropriate treatment method!

References:

https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/ear,-nose,-and-throat-disorders/nose-and-paranasal-sinus-disorders/septal-deviation-and-perforation

https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/sinus-infection.html

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1879729615001313

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