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ANATOMIC CAUSES OF A NON-ALLERGIC RUNNY NOSE

October 25th, 2010

If you or your children suffer from a chronic runny nose, you may have one of the five disorders listed below. Surgical correction of each is frequently required.

Adenoid hypertrophy
Lymphoid tissue (immune protection cells) lines the back of the throat and extends up, behind the nose. When bacteria, viruses, or other agents stimulate the cells of this tissue, the cells multiply, and the amount of tissue increases significantly (hypertrophy). This increase can be large enough to interfere with the passage of air through the nose.
Choanal Atresia (Unilateral)
While bilateral choanal atresia affects both sides of the nose, people with unilateral choanal atresia have one nasal passageway that is incompletely formed and fails to connect with the back of the throat. For them, nasal congestion is not a major symptom, as you might think it would be, because people with this abnormality have had it since birth. To them it is “normal” to breathe through only one side of the nose, the blockage of the other side goes unnoticed.
CSF Rhinorrhea
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is the fluid that circulates in and around the brain and spinal column. Rarely, following certain infections and injuries, the CSF can actually leak into the nasal cavity. When it does it usually runs out the front of the nose, thus causing a “runny nose.” Hence the term CSF rhinorrhea. It is not unusual for someone with this disorder to be able to produce a runny nose simply by looking down and leaning over.
Foreign Bodies
Anything that can fit into the nose may someday be found in a nose. Children often place objects in the nose, and may push them in too far to get them out. If you discover that your child has done this, the object should be removed by a doctor right away. If an object put into the nose stays there a while, it will cause an inflammation and perhaps an infection of the lining of the nose where it is lodged. This will cause an oozing of fluid from the lining of the nose, and that will cause a runny nose from the side involved. A foul odor arising from the nose is also frequently present.
Tumors (Cancer)
Cancerous tumors can and do occur in the nose and, when they cause symptoms, a runny nose is common. Such tumors are rare in children.
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