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Will using Mentholatum inside your nose cause problems?
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Will using Mentholatum inside your nose cause problems?

My family has used Mentholatum for years to help with nasal congestion.  I know it says on the bottle for external use only, but we have always applied to the inside of the nostrils.  My grandmother used it inside her nose daily until the day she died at 86.  My wife has convinced me that using it this way is probably not a good idea so I have recently stopped.  My concern is whether using Mentholatum inside the nose can cause any long term problems with your nose or nasal passages?

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Using Mentholatum inside your nose would cause no long-term problems with your nose or nasal passages.  However I would not recommend its use in this fashion.  From the nose it could get into your lungs.  Mentholatum in the lungs could cause pneumonia.
3 Comments
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I have read that it's best to only use water-based products in or near our nose because petroleum based products CAN be inhaled and end up in our lungs cause nasty problems.  Some names of these products include Ayr (made in a gel form), as well as KY jelly.  It's also very useful to use a saline nasal wash.  For more information about saline nasal washes, see this webpage:

http://www.nationaljewish.org/medfacts/nasal.html

Best of luck!
Starion
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Here's the article abaout Lipoid Pneumonia I had been thinking of when I posted the earlier comment.  Aloha, Starion

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/gott010600.asp
DEAR DR. GOTT: I was recently found to have a mass in my left lung. After an array of CT scans and other tests, I underwent a biopsy. Apparently, the doctors expected to find lung cancer, and they were surprised that the biopsy showed lipoid pneumonia. What is this disease?

DEAR READER: While being swallowed, oily substances -- most often mineral oil, which is present in some laxatives -- sometimes trickle down the wrong tube and enter the trachea (windpipe), after which the stuff settles in lung tissue. There the oily material causes both acute and chronic inflammation, hence the name lipoid pneumonia.

This unusual condition was first discovered in 1925, when the use of petroleum-containing nasal medication was popular medical therapy. Lipoid pneumonia continued to be a health problem until the 1950s; now it is a rarity. The most common cause of lipoid pneumonia these days is the aspiration of mineral, vegetable or animal oil -- or the use of nasal petroleum jelly. The condition has also been seen in people who use excessive quantities of lip balm. It has been reported in a pilot who sealed his high-altitude oxygen mask with petroleum jelly, in a singer who lubricated his vocal cords with mineral oil, in an elderly woman who sprayed household lubricant on her skin to relieve stiff joints, and in tobacco chewers in Guyana (where tobacco leaves are coated with petroleum jelly to moisturize them and enhance their flavor).

Lipoid pneumonia causes cough and fever. The most successful treatment is surgical resection of the inflamed area.  
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