After a road race last weekend, I had what felt like an allergic reaction to some wood smoke and was stuffed up for hours. I relieved the blockage with Afrin. Since then, I haven't been producing an mucus or had a runny nose, but have felt a slight tickling in my nasal passages when I inhale. It's not painful, just sort of weird-feeling, and has persisted for over a full week now. No other symptoms or illness.
On Monday, I went to my doctor, and he said I probably just had "a very low-grade cold." However, because of some issues in my past - I was a nose-picker as a kid, used to snort drugs, hit my head a few weeks ago - I asked him to look and see if there was any structural damage to the inside of my nose. He looked and said that it looked perfectly healthy. My question is, would he have been able to see signs of a "perforated septum" from a cursory look (maybe 3-4 seconds looking in each nostril with that light/magnifying tool)? Or would this require a more specific test?
The nasal symptoms could be due to a sinus infection, a cold or a chronic allergy. It could also be due to a deviated nasal septum. A nasal examination can detect problems with the cavity and the septum. For more detailed study a CT scan may be needed.
Thank you, Dr. Anitha. I have had three different doctors do a visual inspection now, and all three have declared that my nasal cavity looks absolutely healthy. After 3 weeks, the symptoms I described disappeared. I never had any bleeding. Do you think a CT scan would be a good step, or does it sound like that would be extraneous at this point?
Also, 2 months ago I had a CT scan for unrelated reasons, to check for head trauma after the fainting incident I described above. Would that have detected any serious problems, or would a scan need to be done SPECIFICALLY to check for septum issues?
Any structural abnormalities in the nose will be visible on a CT scan. But your nasal symptoms appear to be related to allergens. In an entity called allergic rhinitis, the symptoms are similar to a common cold, but they are usually more persistent and show seasonal variation. The individual responds to an allergen, which can be in many forms like dust and household mites. It appears that you are suffering from such a phenomenon. It can be controlled with steroid nasal sprays.
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