Empty nose syndrome

Empty nose syndrome is characterized by a nose that feels “stuffed” or “blocked” despite having nasal passages that are wide open. Take note that time and increased dryness of the nasal passages can worsen this sensation and the other accompanying symptoms.

What are the indications?

The usual signs of empty nose syndrome include:

  • At first, difficulty breathing via the nose occurs
  • Headache
  • Recurrent feeling of drowning
  • Need to gasp for air or breathlessness
  • Nosebleed
  • Nasal dryness and crusting
    Empty nose syndrome

    Difficulty breathing via the nose.

  • Dizziness
  • Reduced airflow
  • Lack of mucus
  • Diminished sense of taste or smell
  • Dense postnasal drip into the rear of the throat
  • Nasal pain and swelling
  • Heart palpitations
  • Lastly, tiredness, oftentimes leading to sleep disorders and daytime sleepiness due to the reduced flow of air via the breathing passages

Some of the psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression might be present prior surgery or start at the same time as the symptoms of empty nose syndrome.

It is also common for individuals with the syndrome to have difficulty focusing on daily tasks since they are distracted by the condition.

Management of empty nose syndrome

The treatment has several objectives such as:

  • At first, moisturizing the nasal passages
  • Eliminating the bad bacteria inside the nose
  • Lastly, increasing the size of the remaining turbinate tissue to improve the air pressure inside the nose

Some of the usual treatment options include:

  • Using a humidifier
  • Staying in a warm, humid climate, especially one with salty air
  • Antibiotic nasal applications to get rid of bad bacteria
  • Application of hormonal creams within the nose to improve the size of the turbinate tissue
  • Drugs such as sildenafil and other phosphodiesterase inhibitors
  • Surgical implantation of bulk materials to increase the turbinate size

Empty nose syndrome is not fully understood but research made progress on understanding its cause.

Overall, the latest treatments are effective in minimizing the symptoms of empty nose syndrome.


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