WARNING: The Embarrassing Bodies website contains images of an explicit medical nature and nudity in a medical context.

Conditions

Nasal Septal Perforation

Nasal septal perforation (Photo from Wellcome Trust)

When former Eastenders actress, Daniella Westbrook, was photographed at the British Soap Awards in 2000 with her septum eroded from excessive coke-snorting, she not only became the poster girl for the ravages of cocaine, but also brought nasal septal perforation into the limelight. The septum, composed of cartilage and thin bone, can develop a hole in the cartilage, not only through cocaine use, but also as a complication of previous nasal surgery, excessive nose picking, trauma, cancer, or diseases such as tuberculosis or syphilis. As damage reduces blood supply in the septum, the cartilage begins to die, and a hole develops. Many septal perforations don’t need to be closed, and small perforations may need only frequent rinsing with prescription saltwater solutions and applying lubricating gels. Septal ‘buttons’ can also be inserted to fit the hole, which can be an alternative to surgery. However, there are various surgical techniques available for larger perforations, which can be performed under general anesthesia.

Comments and Questions

You can share your experiences and thoughts with other Embarrassing Bodies site-users below. Comments & Questions are reviewed by moderators, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

I stopped using cocaine after finding my septum had started to go there is no hole yet and I stopped using cocaine about a year ago I buy my septum seems to be getting worse. What should I do to prevent it getting wores ?





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Any recommendations on type of masal spray for humidification and / or emollients? I have been trying to use a standard emollient but it never seems to exert an effect for very long - crusitng etc soon returns. Are there any specially formulated alternatives?





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.


Please don't swear or be rude in your answers, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting answers. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I got a large hole in my septum from a diviated septum surgery, that was not tested to see that it was not bacteria but fungus. then sinus surgery, then balloon sinuplasty. this has been a a life changing trama terrible thing. I lost my job over this and, and spent the money saved for retirement. I need a good doctor that knows what he is doing, and excepts insurance.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I suffer from severe anxiety so I used to pick my nose so much as a teenager till I turned 21. I picked so much I created a hole in my nose. I couldn't stop picking at it though for a while longer till it got about 2cm (i assume never measured it just an estimate) and I got scared and now I just bite my nails. I just turned 28, but the hole edge seems to be ok, It doesn't crust or cause nose bleeds. I can breathe ok. I just started doing research on it cause I thought I was the only one and was scared for a long time thinking I was alone. Should I bother to get it fixed? I read a lot about a button and etc. It hasn't gotten bigger for several years since the edges got better. I'm getting mixed messages. My husband tells me if my nose falls off he will buy me a new one. Can my nose really fall off? I'm scared!!!!!! I feel as I've been thinking about it again I can feel every movement of my nose.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I have a small hole in my know from cocaine use I have stopped now and I'm really scared I don't know what to do is there any cream I could use for it and I'm 20 years old?





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I have a hole for many years and keeps crusting over. It fills up so much, I have to clean it. When I do, my nose starts to run a lot and I sniff greatly. Keeping the crust seems to keep me from sniffing but it itches and hurts putting pressure and then I end up with bad headaches. It's best to use a cotton swab and not your nail, but sometimes swabs don't clean properly. An endless task. It will not heal on it's own and I've been button free.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I've had a large hole for years. I'm really afraid of getting a large dip on the top of my nose. Went to an ENT many years ago and he said there wasn't anything he could do. This is the first I've heard of the "buttons". Do they knock you out to place it in your nose? Is there any other type of surgery to permanently fix it?





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I have recently seen an ENT specialist for the hole in my nose due to continued picking (I think). He wants to put a button in it but I am a bit concerned after reading things on here. Is it worth it? At the moment the hole completely fills up with large scabs and I find it impossible not to pull them out as it effects my breathing. What can I do? Please? I'm worried if I don't have the button I might lose the entirety of my cartilage





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

hello I have the same issue I use soft nasal dilators and find they stop this at night such as MegaVent Universal Nasal Dilator or Max-Air Nose Cones I also use Ponaris nasal oil during the day to keep it moist and stop drying out.

I have a large hole and just been to ent...he thinks the buttons are more problematic than not having one. Keeping nose clean and moist is paramount

I have recently been diagnosed with a hole in my nasal septum. The resulting whistling is making it difficult to sleep and driving me crazy! Would a button solve this problem and are there any other pprocedures to help this?





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I developed the hole right at 50 years ago. It started as a pinhole and of course it was whistling. It actually enlarged rather quickly and the doctor cauterized it. The whistling stopped as it enlarged. At that time I was told surgery did not have a high success rate and I might have problems with extreme cold weather. Mucus does form, sometimes hardening, but I try and keep everything moist so that cleans out.

I have just had a button placed for my perforated septum and I have got to say I don't think it is worth it, my nose is more clogged up that it was before the button, the pain afterwards is unbearable and because of my nose being more clogged I cannot sleep properly either





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.



Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

It looks like no one else has asked this question, so please fill in the rest of your details below.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.



Please don't swear or be rude in your questions, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting questions. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines


Important Notice

The information provided on this website (including any NHS Choices medical information) is for use as information or for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. We do not warrant that any information included within this site will meet your health or medical requirements. This Embarrassing Bodies site does not provide any medical or diagnostic services so you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.


If you want to embed our videos in your site, read our embedding T&Cs here


More Information

  1. Episode 2 - Kids

    In Episodes - This week's episode includes a young girl with vile verrucas that m…

  2. Consultation: Second Adult Circumcision

    In Videos - Dr Jessen examines a patient in need of a new circumcision

  3. James Russell

    Doctor Info - Find out more about James Russell.

  4. Dr Priya Manickavasagar

    Doctor Info - Find out more about Dr Priya.

  5. Consultation: Soreness on the Penis

    In Videos - A patient is examined for soreness around his penis

  6. In Detail: Urethral Reconstruction

    In Videos - An in detail look at an operation to reconstruct a man's urethra.

  7. How To Check Your Testicles

    In Videos - Dr Harper's guide to how to self-check your balls against testicula…

  8. Dr Pixie McKenna

    Doctor Info - Find out more about Dr Pixie.

  9. Dr Christian Jessen

    Doctor Info - Find out more about Dr Christian

  10. Dr Dawn Harper

    Doctor Info - Find out more about Dr Dawn.

  11. Bodies Behaving Badly

    In Episodes - Episode 1 of Embarrassing Teenage Bodies examines conditions includ…

  12. How To Check Your Breasts

    In Videos - Dr Dawn Harper explains how to self check your boobs for breast can…

  13. Breasts

    In Episodes - In this second of four specials, the Embarrassing Illnesses doctors…

  14. Men

    In Episodes - The EI Docs go in search of the most elusive creature in the doctor…

  15. Vaginas

    In Episodes - The EI team roll into Norwich to setup a clinic in one of the count…


Help Beat Cancer

Download our free mobile game to help Reverse The Odds in the fight against cancer.

Available on App Store, Google Play and Amazon App Store >