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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Cause of stuffy right nostril

12/28/2009

Question:

I`ve had allergies all my life. I have been on allergy shots for a year along with daily Veramyst & occasional Zyrtec. The treatment seemed to begin to work almost immediately & I have spent the last year living like an allergy-free person. I got a cold or some type of virus in mid-October which turned into a sinus infection. My right nostril has been partly swollen a great deal of the time. I had to take 3 rounds of antibiotics for the infection. A CT scan was basically normal & the radiologist noted no structural abnormalities but after finishing antibiotics I still have a partly swollen right nostril off & on throughout the day & night. Neither my allergist nor my family doctor can tell me why. That nostril also bleeds a little right at the front but I get minor bleeds every winter from dry indoor air. I also use saline rinse twice a day. What could be keeping my nostril swelling from going away?

Answer:

By swollen presumably you are referring to the inferior turbinate, a structure located along the outside wall of you nasal cavity.  This structure will congest and decongest in response to environmental conditions, and to certain exposures or other possible sources of inflammation. Sometimes it can become chronically swollen or congested, or remain enlarged.  It is also possible you have some deviation of your nasal septum (the structure that separates your two nostrils), and this narrows the right side of your nose, making it seem more swollen.  I suggest an evaluation by 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