Too much cold air entering the nostrils

Posted by learningstudent @learningstudent, Apr 16 10:32am

Well…Recently I have developed a weird symptom. I think I have had it for a month. My nose has no mucus, booger and when I inhale, I feel like there is too much air entering my nostrils so I have to use something to block part of it. Otherwise I feel so uncomfortable and suffocated. My right nostril is getting worse, there is no congestion or anything and sometimes my face or nose seems to lose sensation. When the turbinates work normally, they will shrink and swell up and provide warm air but this does not happen to my nose. All the air I breathe in is cold and is not warm at all. I am just wondering what causes it because for people who have atrophic sinusitis, they will have nose blockage. But I do not, I feel my nose is so empty and too much air entering them when inhaling even my nose is not dried. I hope somebody could help.

I have checked my nose, I do not see any turbinates, only hair and the holes of my nose. I have never done any turbinate reduction or nasal surgery.

Hello @learningstudent. Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect!
I have had similar experiences in the past that matches your description. Most of these instances happen during winter, and early spring for me. When breathing, I'd feel cold air entering my left nostril that will cause a sharp headache, numbing on the left-side of my face.
Here's a bit of my background so you can understand my situation/solution to these symptoms better. I was diagnosed with mild asthma, sinusitis, and I also have a deviated septum that cause some difficulties in my breathing. When the symptoms above first started, I went to the doctors and was told that any of my preexisting conditions could have caused them, essentially saying that the cause of my symptoms was unidentifiable.
However, he did recommend some solutions that I found helpful to alleviate the pain, and reduce the frequency of these symptoms. Firstly, having a humidifier placed next to my nightstand while I'm sleeping had stopped the cold-air-breaths at night, and lessen the symptoms during daytime somewhat. Secondly, I've been steaming my face with hot water + a few drops of lemongrass oil for 5-10 minutes almost every night, and I found that this works the best to lessen the symptoms.
Please keep in mind that while these solutions work for me, they might not deliver the same result to you. It's best to consult with your physician before trying new solutions.
@learningstudent, how long does each experience last? Do you also experience headaches during those times? Have you mentioned these symptoms to your doctor?

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Thank you, Juli. I have been having somewhat similar symptoms and have similar problems. I was told I had mid segment pain and prescribed amitriptilline 10mg. But the problem isn't really pain it is pressure over the bridge of my nose and nose "sensitivity". Often my nose would feel very cold. So I have stopped all nasal sprays, even saline spray, for a while, and started, like you, inhalation in the morning and nasal irrigation in the evening. I add a drop of peppermint or eucalyptus, but not too much. I will try lemongrass also. .And this seems to have helped somewhat although I do find it frustrating not to really understand what the problem is. That is why I find Connect so helpful. Just knowing these symptoms are not unusual helps a lot.

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@julinguyen

Hello @learningstudent. Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect!
I have had similar experiences in the past that matches your description. Most of these instances happen during winter, and early spring for me. When breathing, I'd feel cold air entering my left nostril that will cause a sharp headache, numbing on the left-side of my face.
Here's a bit of my background so you can understand my situation/solution to these symptoms better. I was diagnosed with mild asthma, sinusitis, and I also have a deviated septum that cause some difficulties in my breathing. When the symptoms above first started, I went to the doctors and was told that any of my preexisting conditions could have caused them, essentially saying that the cause of my symptoms was unidentifiable.
However, he did recommend some solutions that I found helpful to alleviate the pain, and reduce the frequency of these symptoms. Firstly, having a humidifier placed next to my nightstand while I'm sleeping had stopped the cold-air-breaths at night, and lessen the symptoms during daytime somewhat. Secondly, I've been steaming my face with hot water + a few drops of lemongrass oil for 5-10 minutes almost every night, and I found that this works the best to lessen the symptoms.
Please keep in mind that while these solutions work for me, they might not deliver the same result to you. It's best to consult with your physician before trying new solutions.
@learningstudent, how long does each experience last? Do you also experience headaches during those times? Have you mentioned these symptoms to your doctor?

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Well I do not have any nasal pain but instead the nose or nostrils feel so empty. When I inhale there seems to be a force of airflow entering my nostrils, making me feel so uncomfortable band hard to breathe. My nose seems to lose function of how to stop the air, humidifies and moisturize the air I inhale.

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Does anyone know what causes these symptoms and if they are very unusual?

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Hello @bride, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect! I agree with you that it's always reassuring to know that you're not alone with these symptoms. It certainly makes the journey of finding answers to your health concerns easier, and more bearable when you have a supportive community like Connect to share with.
@learningstudent, @bride: I've found a discussion thread about Empty Nose Syndrome that shares some similar symptoms with what you're describing.
– Facial Pain – Empty Nose Syndrome https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/facial-pain-empty-nose-syndrome/

Here are some additional discussions about Empty Nose Syndrome that you might find useful:
– Vivaer nasal valve remodeling and Empty Nose Syndrome?
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/vivaer-nasal-valve-remodeling-and-empty-nose-syndrome/
– Where did my snot go? Atropic Rhinitus mystery case
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/where-did-my-snot-go-atropic-rhinitus-mystery-case/
Do any of these discussions describe the issues you are having and provide some answers?

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Thanks Juli. I don't have the symptoms of empty nose syndrome although I sympathise with the problem. My nose feels, I suppose, very sensitive to air as if all the nerve endings are on high alert. I get some pressure over the bridge of my nose and the whole nose seems "thick". I don't have nasal drainage but I have thickish post nasal drainage. I have always had non allergic rhinitis and this is as always. My nasal passages were sore but I stopped all nasal sprays, even saline spray and this has helped. I stick to inhalation in the am and nasal irrigation before bed. As of now I feel I am managing the situation but I wish I understood the underlying reasons.

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Yes same here except mine is worse than that and I do not have any other symptom that triggers this empty nose syndrome. It is very hard and difficulty to breathe when u have that and it is terrible and ruin ur life.

Liked by bride

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@learningstudent and @bride. It's definitely frustrating feeling that a certain health problem has interfered with daily life. Please don't give up on finding answers and treatment that work for you!
@learningstudent What have you been doing to help alleviate the symptoms? Have you had the chance to check in with your doctor?

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No doctors are willing to see patients in person due to this pandemic. I suffer everyday with this syptoms. By putting gel into the nostrils and then wear mask make it slightly better. What is scary is the fact that when doc cannot diagnose what is wrong.

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I think I know what happens. I think my lowest turbinates dysfunction. Is there a way to fix it?

According to the article snippet. "Inferior nasal turbinates are located inside your nose on either side of your nasal septum. They are bone covered with erectile soft tissue that helps create turbulence inside the nose to warm, purify and humidify the air that we breathe. The soft tissue covering expands and contracts which can give you the sensation of congestion and clear breathing, respectively."

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@learningstudent

I think I know what happens. I think my lowest turbinates dysfunction. Is there a way to fix it?

According to the article snippet. "Inferior nasal turbinates are located inside your nose on either side of your nasal septum. They are bone covered with erectile soft tissue that helps create turbulence inside the nose to warm, purify and humidify the air that we breathe. The soft tissue covering expands and contracts which can give you the sensation of congestion and clear breathing, respectively."

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@learningstudent good for you for persisting in trying to find answers. This sounds like something you should take to a medical professional for further discussion and/or investigation. You mentioned in an earlier post about restricted access to health care because of COVID-19. Many facilities are opening up again. Necessary medical care should not be deferred. Mayo Clinic, for example, is taking appointments again. Where possible teleconsults are being used and face-to-face appointments where an in-person consult is required. Here's more info: https://www.mayoclinic.org/covid-19

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I think my turbinates dysfunction. Just wonder what insurance they take cuz I live in Seattle wa.

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@learningstudent– how long have your symptoms been going on?

1. Ask yourself, prior to this were/are you completely healthy? What were you going through when you started to be aware of this? Different weather, food, cold, anything new in your living environment?

2. Educate yourself on the anatomy of the nose and how it functions. The nasal mucosa is richly innervated with nerves. It is easy for turbinates and nasal mucosa to become very sensitive due to external, environmental causes. You may or may not have thinner mucosa than someone else, which IS NORMAL. The mucosa can respond to food, hormones, emotions, and stress.
Nasal inflammation and inflammation in the body of what you see a Rheumatologist for, are not one in the same.

3. Do not start reading/googling about dysfunction or you will start convincing yourself you have a problem, which will then cause you to focus on it, especially when it is your breathing area. Everyone will experience irritated turbinates at some point in their lives. It is common.

4. Keep in mind, if you go to an ENT, they are surgeons. Most (not all) will be looking at you through their own narrow lens of what or how they can cut something out.
Everything in the body is connected. ENTs have little information outside of the anatomy they work on, on just how much that part of anatomy is affected by so many other things that could be a simple solve.

5. Natural Path/Functional Medicine doctors know a lot about the nasal passages and cavity. They are not covered by insurance but they will help you in a different way than a surgeon would know how.

6. – Best advice I could give, because I know first hand with how important the nose function is, is to not start telling yourself you have something wrong with you before you have an appt. Your energy will go to that spot and bring hyper focus to it.
Look at your internal environment; nutrition, sleep, hydration, exercise.
Look at your external environment; temperature, allergens, anything new in the home.

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The docs just do not take the patients seriously and they do not investigate and study the case and the answer I receive is I do not know and offer some common and stupid advice or simply could not diagnose or help at all. Even the med or things they told me did not work.

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@learningstudent

The docs just do not take the patients seriously and they do not investigate and study the case and the answer I receive is I do not know and offer some common and stupid advice or simply could not diagnose or help at all. Even the med or things they told me did not work.

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@learningstudent -try a naturopathic doctor. They know a lot about what can help mucous membranes. ENTs will only want to cut things out. Other than that, they don’t want you to waste their time. Many external factors can cause the dryness in nose, so there is nothing a doctor, especially a surgeon or a pill can do for you when it comes to external irritants. You could also try allergy testing.

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