Foreign Bodies in the Nose



Any chronically discharging or unpleasant-smelling nose should be carefully inspected (ideally by the doctor) for a deeply placed foreign body. It’s a fairly common childhood problem. The symptoms may mimic a common cold, but it usually persists.

One investigation not long ago indicated children had stuffed bits of tightly rolled-up cotton into their noses, causing a persisting, vile, pus-filled discharge. Removal of the debris rapidly resulted in a magical cure.



Foreign Bodies in the Nose Treatment

Any persisting nasal discharge requires a proper examination, both from the front, as well as from the far end of the nasal passages. Often this is in the realm of the specialist who has the equipment for such examinations. It also needs special devices to remove. Sometimes hospital and a general anesthetic may be necessary, particularly with deeply placed debris.

Children are the worst offenders, and it is amazing the nature and variety of objects they will poke into the nasal canals. Pieces of gravel, bits of plastic toys, peanuts, peas and beans, bits of Indian-rubber, they have all found their way there.



When practicing in a country town some years ago, a patient complained of a “big white worm” in his nose. This moved with breathing or any facial movement. It proved to be several grains of wheat poked into the nostril several days beforehand. These had subsequently absorbed moisture and germinated. The “worm” was the growing wheat grain, which naturally started to protrude from the nostril and moved along with normal facial movements.

The prompt removal of the foreign body brought great relief to the patient and his parents who believed lie was being internally devoured by some foul monster.



Foreign Bodies in the Nose Symptoms

These usually include nasal obstruction on one side, together with a foul-smelling discharge that often contains pus. There may be a known history of having inserted a foreign body, but children may be afraid to admit this.

In adults, the symptoms are the same but there may also be a history of previous nasal difficulties, such as nosebleed and nasal gauze packing. It is possible for bits of gauze to have remained, and slowly become calcified forming larger bodies (rhinoliths) that suddenly produce obstruction.