Where did my snot go? Atropic Rhinitus mystery case

Posted by stephenjohn @stephenjohn, Mar 15, 2019

I’m 33 years old from the midwestern area of the USA. *I have not had any turbinate reduction or any surgery whatsoever.*

2 months ago I woke up in the middle of my sleep from a lack of air resistance in my nose. My sensation went back and forth from normal to bad for about 4 days. One day my breathing sensation completely went away. Of course I look to google scrambling for information on “too much air” and “no nose resistance when breathing” etc. it led me to the symptom of Empty nose syndrome.

So 2 weeks go by with absolutely 0 sensation of nose breathing. Impossible to sleep, hard to put together a sentence due to “forgetting” how with this new sensation. Even hard to walk without hyperventilating. About a week into this I went to my dr who prescribed anxiety pills (Buspar) and topical gel for inside of the nose (Mupricin). They check my oxygen and it’s 98%.

After 2 weeks of this – I had a pop in my ear and a little phlegm production. OMG- did my body/ nose just fix itself?? Well no, because the normal breathing sensation lasted for about 2 hours and went away to completely nothing.

Another week goes by with these ups and downs. All of a sudden I notice my “baseline” breathing is about 25% of normal. I’m not always suffering and have a *glimpse* of nose resistance. And randomly- I have small periods of “normalcy” aka phlegm production, moisture in nose, buggers, swelling of turbinates. I’ve seen 2 separate ENTs at 2 separate hospitals (one of the top ent in the nation) They both said turbinates are there and that mucus is also there. Things look normal but maybe dry. I was sent to a rheumatologist to check for sjegeons syndrome. Had 19 blood tests, urine, and lung x Ray. Things look normal. I had high celiacs and 160 speckled ANA.

I’ve got a ct scan tomorrow. I had a phone consult with a highly respected ENT/ENS doctor. He mentioned due to my alopecia barbae and high ANA blood test that he believes auto immune may be eating at my mucosa glands/cells.

I’ve suffered and still am for the most part with breathing/anxiety/depression/sleep sensations due to this. Things are slightly getting better I think. But occasionally my nose will go back to being “completely open” without any resistance.

The only thing I can pinpoint with this whole thing is I have ALWAYS had non-allergic rhinitis my entire life (phlegm, post nasal drip, etc.) and all of a sudden one day it changes to completely dry! I don’t know if it’s mucusa damage, or just my body getting used to not having moisture/allergies. I could take a decongestant when sick and never get dry and have ENS symptoms at all. Whatever it is, it’s not normal. It’s hard/impossible to lead a normal life. Hoping that something “switches” in my body soon, or that a Dr. can not just automatically assume it’s in my head and prescribe pills (which I am not taking)

The only things that are helping are:

Ayrgel in nose
Going for walks (when breathing feels good)
Talking with friends/family.

Thanks for listening. Hoping that there are some others out there with some ideas. If you have made it this far, congratulations 😬 feel free to comment or message me if you have any ideas/insight/advice!

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) group.

Hi, @stephenjohn – wanted to check in with you and see how things are going with your nose, breathing and some of the anxiety you were experiencing? Are you still having the dryness you mentioned?


Hey there! Sounds like you’ve have a rough go of things. Just wanted to check in with you and see if you were doing any better!


Hey I had similar symptoms appear suddenly as well. I had a turbinate reduction 3+ years ago and then symptoms suddenly showed up. I was suspecting diet related factors. Try changing your diet/fasting and see if things change. Reduce sugars, fats and nightshade vegetables.
Also if you feel too much airflow try putting in your nose an earbud from the earphones to reduce airflow.
Let me know how your situation is and if you have improvement.

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