Empty Nose Syndrome: Top 5 Things You Need To Know

  1. Empty Nose Syndrome Should Be Taken Seriously

Empty nose syndrome (ENS) is a disorder affecting the nose and nasal passages. As the name of the condition suggests, patients often describe having the feeling of a dry, empty nose, along with shortness of breath.

ENS severely limits the nose’s functionality, disrupting natural nasal breathing and healthy lung function.

The physical, psychological and emotional effects can be enormous, and majorly impact your physical and overall well-being.

  1. What Causes ENS

ENS can develop after turbinate reduction surgery, or in some cases, occur after an improper septum correction surgery.

The nasal turbinates act to warm, humidify, and filter the air we inhale by producing nasal mucus and moisture. They play a vital role in nasal breathing and also serve to help regulate air flow within the nose.

If the turbinates are over-reduced or removed completely, there may not be enough tissue left to  humidify the air, causing the nose to dry out. Excess reduction or surgical removal of the turbinates can also interfere with the regulation of air flow.

The turbinates contain tiny pressure sensors that signal to the brain enough air is passing through the nose. When the turbinates are altered, it can disrupt this process. Because the brain does not receive enough information about the airflow, this causes the feeling of not getting enough air.

  1. Symptoms To Look For

Although the nasal passages will appear normal and clear, those with ENS, will experience a wide range of symptoms.

Some typical signs include chronic dryness in the nose and/or throat, a sensation of not getting any air, nosebleeds, crusting of the nose, and headaches. Patients may often notice these symptoms improve when they have a cold, as the nasal mucosa swell up and temporarily restore a degree of moisture.

In many cases, psychological and functional difficulties occur along with the physical symptoms. These symptoms often include depression, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and sleep disorders.

  1. It Can Be Prevented

Of course, not every nasal and sinus surgery leads to developing ENS.

Turbinate reduction and septal correction procedures can be extremely beneficial to many patients and performed safely.

When it is necessary to reduce the nasal turbinates or perform a septal correction, ENS can be prevented.

Minimally invasive surgical techniques and the assistance of advanced technical options enable the surgeon to carry out a gentle, yet effective procedure, preserving the nose’s function.

Using modern laser or radio frequency techniques eliminates the risk of excessive reduction of the turbinates.

  1. You Have Treatment Options

Empty nose syndrome is a rare condition, but research continues to broaden the understanding of this disorder and new and effective treatment procedures for continue to emerge.

There are both surgical and non-surgical treatment options. The aim of treatment is to relieve the symptoms of ENS and help restore natural breathing by bringing the air flow in the nose back into balance.  

With non-surgical forms of treatment, the focus is on the preservation and care of the remaining nasal mucosa. Various non-surgical methods can help to keep the nose as moist and free of irritation as possible, while preventing infections.

Injections of hyaluronic acid or PRP have proven to be very effective in many patients.These work to improve the structure of the turbinate and retain their form and volume, helping to restore function.

There are also certain medications available that can help, along with measures such as the use of a humidifier, a daily nasal rinse, and making beneficial dietary and lifestyle changes.

The latest modern implant technology may also offer hope. The goal of these treatments is to restore and reconstruct the missing nasal turbinates using implants. There are several other surgical treatment options that can also be considered.

Do you think you might suffer from ENS? Contact our office today to schedule an examination.  At The Ohio Sinus Institute, we offer both the experience and state-of-the-art technology that can help you achieve relief.