Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Why is only the left side of my nose congested?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy is only the left side of my nose congested?


I have a cold but only the left side of my nose is congested. The right side never gets congested. This is the first time it has happened when I have a cold. Is that normal?


Many people will feel that only one side of their nose is the problematic side. Often, this is due to some variation of the structure of the nose on the inside, such as a septal deviation. The septum is the cartilage and bone that make up the middle part of the nose, and it is supposed to run straight down the middle. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Only a small amount of trauma when you are young, or a larger trauma as you grow, can cause the septum to deviate to one side or the other (a deviated septum). There is no real cure for this except for surgery. The fortunate fact is that the surgery is fairly simple, and that people do recover from it quickly in general. It can be performed by a head and neck surgeon, also known as an otolaryngologist or Ear-Nose and Throat surgeon. There are other things that can cause unilateral nasal congestion as well, however, and so you should discuss this with your doctor. It could be that the swelling of the nasal mucosa associated with your cold is enough to block off the left side of your nose, but please speak to your doctor.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.