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Empty Nose Syndrome Symptoms, Treatment, Causes, & Diagnosis

Aug 28, 2023

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Cause Of Empty Nose Syndrome

Symptoms Of Empty Nose Syndrome

Diagnosis Of Empty Nose Syndrome

Treatment Of Empty Nose Syndrome

Empty Nose Syndrome

Empty Nose Syndrome (ENS), a controversial and uncommon condition, is most common in people who have had nasal surgery. In spite of the fact that nasal surgery is meant to widen the nasal airways, a very small percentage of people actually have the opposite outcome. ENS therapy also includes the debridement of microorganisms and nasal moisturization.

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Cause Of Empty Nose Syndrome

Experts don't know why ENS occurs. Many doctors think that too much tissue from inside your nose was removed during the nasal surgery, though further research is needed to confirm this.

Even while imaging scans may indicate that your nasal cavity has enough room for you to breathe in and out, having ENS may make it difficult for you to properly inhale. Many people express feeling "suffocated," "hungry" for air, or "emptiness." According to studies, your nose may change physically and functionally following surgery, which may be the cause of ENS. They consist of:

  • Alteration in the air pressure inside your nose. Your body might sense different temperatures or pressures on either side of your nose after nasal surgery. It could be challenging to tell if you're breathing normally as a result. This could make you feel deprived of air
  • Nasal receptor problems. Small chemicals commonly present in the air you breathe interact with particular nerve fibers. Pressure, temperature, and scent variations are detected by these fibers. On your turbinates are where you can find some. These receptors may be injured or destroyed during or after surgery, which could have an impact on how well you can feel your breath.
  • Infectious bacteria. In addition to removing excess mucus buildup in your nose, nasal surgery also removes beneficial microorganisms. Your chances of having an unbalanced bacterial population or its growth can rise as a result. Because of this, ENS symptoms may develop.
  • Turbinate surgery- Inside the nose, the turbinates are attached to two shelves of bone. The septum, a segment of bone and cartilage running along the middle of the nose, divides these shelves.

The turbinates are attached to the ends of each of these bony ledges, which aid in separating the sinuses from the nasal cavity. Turbinates are intricate structures that serve numerous purposes. There are a total of three turbinates present on each side of the nose. These turbines' ability to swiftly exchange heat as air is inhaled is one of its main purposes. As a result, breathing cold air through the nose feels warmer.

Turbinates also contribute to adjusting the humidity of the air that is breathed in. In addition, tissue in the turbinates expands and contracts to control the flow of air through the nasal passages. These processes have an impact on air entering the body, but they are also crucial for air leaving the body. The turbinates aid in regulating how much heat or liquid is lost during exhalation.

In more harsh temperatures, turbinates aid the body in maintaining steady amounts of heat, fluids, and oxygen. The turbinates and the nerves that supply them play intricate roles, therefore altering them could result in severe symptoms.

Turbinate surgery is frequently effective in decreasing turbinate size and improving a patient's airflow without any problems. But even mild turbinate operations can result in ENS symptoms. 

Also Read: Nasal Fracture (Broken Nose): Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Symptoms Of Empty Nose Syndrome

Most ENS sufferers experience difficulty taking full breaths through their nostrils. Other signs of empty nose syndrome include:

  • Nasal congestion despite the fact that your airways are clear.
  • Nosebleeds.
  • Feeling that the air you are breathing in is too cold or dry.
  • Dizziness.
  • Mucus production is decreased.
  • Extremely dry nose.
  • Decreased awareness of breathing.
  • Headaches.
  • A feeling of drowning.
  • Nasal drip after.
  • Pain.
  • Inflammation.
  • Issues with smell (anosmia) or taste (ageusia).
  • Insomnia.
  • Tiredness.

Everybody has a different set of symptoms. After a nose surgery, they could appear weeks, months, or even years later. Many people find it difficult to concentrate on ordinary work because the symptoms of empty nose syndrome might be distracting. In addition to having ENS, people with ENS may also experience anxiety and sadness.

Also Read: Earwax Blockage: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

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Diagnosis Of Empty Nose Syndrome

It can be challenging to diagnose ENS because of its lack of understanding. There aren't any established examinations or tests that can determine if you have the condition as of now. After ruling out other illnesses that elicit comparable symptoms, your healthcare professional can then establish a diagnosis. An endoscope, a flexible tube with a tiny camera and light at the end, may be used to examine the inside of your nose to accomplish this.

Also Read: Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Treatment Of Empty Nose Syndrome

Various objectives for treatment include:

  • Nasal lubrication
  • Kill harmful microorganisms in the nose
  • Enlarging the remaining turbinate tissue in an effort to boost nasal air pressure

Typical therapies include:

  • Living in a warm, humid area, especially one with salty air, using a humidifier at home, and applying antibiotic nasal sprays to destroy harmful bacteria
  • Increasing the growth of the turbinate tissue inside the nose by administering hormone creams
  • Using sildenafil (Viagra), which can worsen nasal congestion, and other phosphodiesterase inhibitors,
  • Having surgery to implant bulking materials to enhance turbinate size

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