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Acquired Disorders of the Nose

Published on Aug 09, 2022 and last reviewed on Nov 23, 2022   -  6 min read


Acquired disorders of the nose are the abnormalities or disorders of the nose that occur due to non-congenital factors. Read the article below to know more.

What Are the Acquired Disorders of the Nose?

The nose is the primary organ for smell, and it is the first part of our respiratory system. It plays a vital role in filtering the air that enters the respiratory tract. The nose, along with the paranasal sinuses present, helps moisten the air. Paranasal sinuses are the hollow cavities around the nose. The upper part of the nose is mostly bone, and the lower part gets support from the cartilage. The two nasal cavities are separated by the nasal septum inside the nose. The cavities are lined by mucous membranes. There are various disorders of the nose associated with congenital and acquired etiology. Congenital disorders are those which are present from birth. The congenital disorders of the nose include nasal dermoids, gliomas, nasal clefts, arrhinia, etc.

The various acquired disorders that affect the nose include;

  • Common cold.

  • Deviated septum.

  • Nasal polyps.

  • Nosebleeds (epistaxis).

  • Rhinitis.

  • Nasal septum perforations.

  • Sinusitis.

  • Bacterial nasal infections.

  • Tumors of the nose.

  • Acquired deformities of the nose.

Depending upon each disease condition, the diagnosis and treatment will vary.

What Causes the Acquired Disorders of the Nose?

The acquired disorders of the nose can be due to the following factors;

Common Cold

What Is Common Cold?

A common cold is a viral infection that affects the nose and throat. It can quickly spread from one person to another by inhaling the germs or coming in contact with droplets from the affected individual. It is not a very serious condition.

What Are the Symptoms of Common Cold?

The common cold symptoms usually begin two or three days after coming in contact with the pathogen and can last up to two weeks. The main symptoms include sneezing, sore throat, coughing, and blocked nose.

How to Diagnose and Treat the Common Cold?

The diagnosis is made by clinical examination and the history of the patient. There is no proper cure for the common cold. Supportive measures like drinking lots of fluids, taking adequate rest, steam inhalation, saltwater gargle, over-the-counter drugs, etc., can provide relief to the symptoms of the common cold.

Deviated Septum

What Is Deviated Septum?

Deviated septum is the condition in which the nasal septum is displaced to one side. This condition can cause one of the nasal cavities to be smaller. This condition can be due to trauma or birth defects.

What Are the Symptoms of Deviated Septum?

If the deviation is minor, then it will not cause any symptoms. However, in severe cases of deviation, it can cause nasal congestion (nose block), facial pain, bleeding of the nose, noisy breathing during sleep, and headaches.

How to Diagnose and Treat Deviated Septum?

The diagnosis can be made by clinical examination by the doctor. When the deviation is minor, it requires no treatment. However, if the deviation is causing severe symptoms, then it may require surgery. A procedure known as septoplasty is done to correct the deviated septum.

Nasal Polyps

What Are Nasal Polyps?

Nasal polyps are the small fleshy growths on the mucous membrane of the nose. They are generally soft and painless. They do not progress to cancer. It can occur if there are any infections and foreign bodies in the nasal cavity. It can also occur as a reaction to certain drugs like Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

What Are the Symptoms of Nasal Polyps?

The symptoms of nasal polyps include;

  • Nose block.

  • Sneezing.

  • Postnasal drip (drainage of fluid down the throat).

  • Loss of smell.

  • Sinus infections.

  • Discharge from the nose.

How to Diagnose and Treat Nasal Polyps?

The diagnosis of nasal polyps includes clinical examination and biopsy in some cases. The biopsy is done to ensure the growth is not cancerous. Treatment involves using corticosteroids in the form of oral tablets or nasal spray. If there is a severe block of nasal passage, then surgical removal of the polyp is necessary. Chances of reoccurrence are there if the allergens are not controlled.


What Is Rhinitis?

“Rhin” means nose, and “itis” means inflammation. So the inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose is termed rhinitis. It can be due to viral infections like the common cold and allergens like pollen, spores from indoor fungi, dust mites, etc. It is of two types – Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and non-allergic rhinitis. Non-allergic rhinitis can also occur as acute or chronic rhinitis. Chronic rhinitis is often accompanied by chronic sinusitis.

What Are the Symptoms of Rhinitis?

The main symptoms of allergic rhinitis include sneezing, runny nose, itching, and watery nose, whereas those of non-allergic rhinitis include postnasal drip, low-grade fever, sneezing, cough, pus-filled discharge from the nose, frequent bleeding, and congestion.

How to Diagnose and Treat Rhinitis?

The clinical examination and history of the patient is the main diagnostic tool for rhinitis. The treatment of allergic rhinitis includes avoiding substances that trigger the allergy, antihistamines, nasal corticosteroid sprays, and desensitization injections. The symptoms of acute non-allergic rhinitis can be controlled by using decongestants. Antihistamines can help prevent a runny nose. In the case of chronic non-allergic rhinitis, the underlying cause should be determined, and the treatment is given accordingly.

Perforations or Trauma to Nasal Septum

What Are the Causes of Trauma to the Nasal Septum?

The trauma to the nose can occur mainly due to;

  • Chronic nose-picking.

  • Cocaine usage as it decreases blood flow to the nose.

  • Accidents.

  • Cosmetic piercing.

  • Nasal surgery.

  • Exposure to toxins.

  • Frequent use of nasal spray.

  • Diseases like tuberculosis, leprosy, etc.

What Are the Symptoms of Perforations of Nasal Septum?

The main symptoms include epistaxis, formation of an ulcer, crusting, and in some patients, they make a whistling sound while breathing.

How to Diagnose and Treat Perforations of Nasal Septum?

Along with clinical examination, an endoscopy will be helpful for proper diagnosis in some cases. The treatment includes the use of medicated ointments or nasal sprays for ulcers. If there is severe crusting and bleeding, surgery is the preferred treatment option.


What Is Sinusitis?

Sinusitis is the inflammation of paranasal sinuses that surrounds the nose. It can be due to bacterial infection or allergy. In some cases, the bacterial infection can spread and cause swelling around the eyes. Rarely it can also progress to meningitis.

What Are the Main Symptoms of Sinusitis?

Severe headaches, nasal congestion, bad breath, pressure on the face, and sinus tenderness are the main symptoms of sinusitis.

How to Diagnose and Treat Sinusitis?

The diagnosis can be made with a proper clinical examination based on the symptoms. In some cases, imaging tests like computed tomography will be required. The treatment of sinusitis includes improving sinus drainage by steam inhalation, hot wet towels over the affected sinus, nasal corticosteroids, saline nasal irrigation, antibiotics, etc. The underlying cause should be determined, and treatment is given accordingly.

Tumors of the Nose

Lymphomas, melanomas, adenocarcinomas, squamous cell carcinoma, etc., are the major cancers that affect the nasal cavity and paranasal sinus. Most of them occur mainly due to smoking and tobacco usage. The major symptoms are loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, postnasal drip, persistent nasal congestion, etc. Along with clinical examination, diagnosis may involve imaging tests and biopsy. The treatment methods may include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

Acquired Deformities of Nose

The most common cause of acquired deformity of the nose is facial trauma. Due to the prominent location of the nose, it is prone to fractures. Trauma can cause nasal blockage, bleeding, and other symptoms, along with deformity. So treatment should be given at the earliest to prevent worsening of symptoms. The main treatment option is surgery. Surgical procedures like septoplasty, septorhinoplasty, and rhinoplasty are done depending on the damage.


The acquired disorders of the nose can vary from mild to severe conditions, as mentioned above. Treatment should be given at the right time to prevent the worsening of the symptoms. If not, the disorders can be life-threatening.


Last reviewed at:
23 Nov 2022  -  6 min read




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