Nose Disorders. This reference summary explains common nose disorders, including symptoms and treatment options. Sinus

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1 Nose Disorders Introduction Your nose is important to your health. It filters the air you breathe and removes dust and germs. It warms and moistens the air to keep your lungs and the tubes that lead to them from drying out. Your nose also contains the nerve cells needed for your sense of smell. When there is a problem with your nose, your whole body can suffer. There are many common disorders that affect the nose. Treatment depends on the disorder. This reference summary explains common nose disorders, including symptoms and treatment options. The Nose The nose is the organ involved in smelling and breathing. The nose includes the: External nose. Nostrils. Nasal passages. Septum. Sinuses. Sinus Septum The external nose is the part of the nose you see on your face. The nostrils are the 2 openings External Nose at the bottom of the nose. The Nostrils nostrils open into the nasal passages. These passages are lined with mucus membranes and cilia. Cilia are tiny hairs that help to filter the air a person breathes in. They also move mucus to the back of the throat. The two nasal passages are separated by the septum. The septum is made up of cartilage and bone. It supports the nose. 1

2 Sinuses are empty pockets filled with air in the head. There are 4 pairs of sinuses that connect with the nose. Sinuses circulate air and lubricate the nose. They keep the nose free of bacteria and dust. The sinuses are also lined with mucus membranes and cilia. These four pairs of sinuses are connected to the nasal cavity through small tubelike openings. The opening where the sinuses join together in the nasal cavity is called the middle meatus. Symptoms Many nose disorders have similar symptoms. The main symptom is nose or facial pain. You may also experience headaches and pain in the upper teeth. In some cases, the pain may feel like pressure in the forehead and face. Other common symptoms of nose disorders are: Breathing problems. Noisy breathing, especially while sleeping. A runny nose or postnasal drip. Some nose disorders may also cause: Nosebleeds. Frequent sinus infections. Snoring. Itchy eyes. Decreased sense of smell. Talk to your health care provider if you notice any of these symptoms or other changes. Finding a problem early makes treatment easier in most cases. Deviated Septum A deviated septum happens when the nasal septum shifts to one side. This makes one nasal passage smaller than the other. When a deviated septum is severe, it can cause problems breathing. It may even block airflow on one side of your nose. A deviated septum may be present at birth. It may happen when the baby is growing inside the womb. Deviated Septum 2

3 In other cases, a deviated septum can happen after an injury to the nose. In babies, the nose may be injured during childbirth. In children and adults, accidents may lead to a nose injury and deviated septum. Treatment for a deviated septum first focuses on controlling symptoms. This can be done with medicines that: Prevent allergy symptoms, including runny nose and swelling. Reduce swelling of the nasal tissue. Medicines only treat symptoms and do not cure a deviated septum. To fix a deviated septum, surgery is needed. During surgery, the septum is straightened and repositioned. Surgery may be done if medicines do not help control symptoms. Nasal Polyps Nasal polyps are soft growths that develop on the lining of the nose or sinuses. These polyps are non-cancerous and often painless. Small nasal polyps may not cause symptoms. Larger nasal polyps or groups of polyps can block your nasal passages. This can lead to breathing problems and other symptoms. Nasal polyps are most common in adults, although they can affect anyone. Nasal polyps are often caused by chronic inflammation in the nose or sinuses. Nasal polyps often develop if you have inflammation in your nasal passages or sinuses that lasts 12 weeks or longer. There are many causes of chronic nasal and sinus inflammation. Common causes of nasal and sinus inflammation include: Allergies. Asthma. Certain immune disorders. Drug sensitivities. Frequent infections. 3

4 Treatment for nasal polyps often involves medicines. The goal is to shrink the polyps or eliminate them. Different medicines may be used to treat nasal polyps. Corticosteroids are often given to help shrink the polyps and reduce inflammation. These medicines may be given through a nasal spray or an oral medicine. In some cases, the medicine may be injected directly into the polyps. Other medicines can also be used to treat underlying causes of nasal or sinus inflammation. For example, antihistamines may be given to treat allergies. If you have an infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. If medicines are not helping, surgery may be needed. The type of surgery depends on the size and number of polyps, as well as their location. The surgery removes the polyps. But polyps may re-grow after being removed. To prevent nasal polyps, use a humidifier in your home to keep air moist. Also avoid breathing in irritants, such as cigarette smoke and dust. Make sure to manage any conditions that contribute to polyps, including asthma and allergies. Hay Fever Hay fever is another name for a pollen allergy. Trees, weeds and grasses release tiny pollen grains into the air. When pollen gets into your nose and throat, it can cause an allergic reaction commonly known as hay fever. Hay fever does not mean you are allergic to hay. In fact, hay fever is almost never triggered by hay. It also does not cause a fever. A better term to describe the real cause of hay fever is pollen allergy. Although many people refer to a pollen allergy as hay fever, health care providers usually refer to it as seasonal allergic rhinitis. It is an allergy to pollen that causes a runny or clogged nose during certain seasons. 4

5 The people most at risk for developing hay fever are people with other allergies or asthma. If you have a blood relative, such as a parent or sibling, with allergies or asthma, you have a greater risk of developing hay fever. Being regularly exposed to allergens also raises your risk of developing hay fever. This may be the case if you live or work in an area with large amounts of pollen in the air. Hay fever can cause: Sneezing. Coughing. Itchy eyes, nose and throat. It can also cause dark circles to form under your eyes. Treatments for hay fever are available for both immediate and long-term relief. The best treatment for any type of allergy is to avoid the substances that cause a reaction. But with hay fever this can be hard. The pollen that causes the reaction is carried in the air. If hay fever is not severe, over-the-counter medicines may be enough to treat your symptoms. For example, antihistamines can help relieve itching, sneezing and runny noses. Prescription medicines are available for symptoms that are more difficult to treat. These medicines may come in the form of a pill, nasal spray or eye drop. Other treatments for hay fever include: Allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy. Rinsing your sinuses. Allergy shots may be used when medicines do not relieve your symptoms. They are often given over a period of 3 to 5 years. During that time, you receive shots on a set schedule. The shots contain a tiny amount of the allergen. They help your body get used to the allergens that are causing your symptoms. This reduces your need for medicine. 5

6 Many people rinse their sinuses to treat hay fever symptoms. This involves pushing or pouring water into one nostril to clear the allergens from your nose and throat. You can rinse your sinuses at home using a squeeze bottle or a neti pot. A neti pot is a small container with a spout designed for nose rinsing. It is important to follow the directions about proper use and cleaning of the bottle or pot to prevent infections. Summary Your nose is important to your health. It filters the air you breathe to remove dust and germs. It warms and moistens the air to keep your lungs and the tubes that lead to them from drying out. Your nose also contains the nerve cells needed for your sense of smell. When there is a problem with your nose, your whole body can suffer. There are many common disorders that affect the nose, including: Deviated septum. Nasal polyps. Hay fever. Many nose disorders have similar symptoms. The main symptom is nose or facial pain. Other common symptoms of nose disorders are: Breathing problems. Noisy breathing, especially while sleeping. A runny nose or postnasal drip. Treatment depends on the disorder and may include medicines, surgery or other therapies. Talk to your health care provider if you have the symptoms of a nose disorder. Your health care provider will determine the best course of treatment. 6

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