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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Red swelling inside nose

12/18/2007

Question:

I have a red swelling on the inside (toward bone) doesn`t bleed, hurt. It does make it hard to breath at times. dr. (MD)told me to use nasonex, saline (burns), and humidifier. I don`t know for sure how long it`s been there. He thought it may be a polyp. It not jelly like, or grape like. it`s red (not real deep red) have any idea what it might be?

thank you!

Answer:

On the lateral or outside wall of each nostril are three turbinates, a lower (inferior), middle, and upper (superior).  These turbinates have an inner shelf of bone covered by very vascular tissue.  This is particularly true of the inferior turbinate, the largest of the three, that extends the entire length of the inside of the nose.

The inferior turbinate can swell quite a bit as it fills with blood.  It does this periodically to condition the air that passes into the nose.  However, it may also do it in response to allergies or other irritant exposures, or it may simply become persistently enlarged.

To the inexperienced eye, an enlarged or congested inferior turbinate can appear like a red ball (this would be the very front end of the turbinate).  It is often mistaken for a polyp or other growth in the nose.  This most likely is your "red swelling".  The easiest way to confirm this is to consult an ENT physician.

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Response by:

Allen M Seiden, MD Allen M Seiden, MD
Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Division of Rhinology and Sinus Disorders, Director of University Taste and Smell Center, Director of University Sinus and Allergy
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati