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Atrophic rhinitis: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About atrophic rhinitis

Atrophic rhinitis, also called ‘rhinitis sicca’ is characterised by inflammation of the nasal passage which may result from excessive thinning of nasal membranes.

Atrophic rhinitis: Incidence, age and sex

Atrophic rhinitis has a very low incidence in the general population. Adolescents are more predisposed to this condition.

Signs and symptoms of atrophic rhinitis: Diagnosis

The typical and most distressing clinical feature of this disease, is foul-smelling nasal discharge. The affected individual also suffers from a lack of sense of smell. The nasal mucous membrane produces greenish coloured mucous which may form crusts. These crusts may cause bleeding on removal. This condition may also be associated with sinusitis.

Causes and prevention of atrophic rhinitis

Atrophic rhinitis can be primary or secondary in type. Atrophic rhinitis arising as a result of nasal sinus surgery, injury or radiation to nasal tissues is termed as secondary atrophic rhinitis. When no other underlying cause of this condition is detected, then it is called primary atrophic rhinitis which is assumed to be autoimmune or genetic in origin or caused by an organism called Klebsiella ozenae.

Atrophic rhinitis: Complications

There seems to be no health related complications of atrophic rhinitis except for the fact that it has a tendency for frequent relapses. At times, an affected individual may face social embarrassment due to the highly offensive odour of nasal discharge which emanates from him/her.

Atrophic rhinitis: Treatment

Unfortunately atrophic rhinitis is an incurable condition. The treatment modalities both medical and surgical may help in improving the distressing symptoms to a certain extent. Frequent nasal irrigation is recommended for preventing the crust formation. The doctor may prescribe some nasal drops which helps in reducing the obnoxious nasal smell. Occasionally antibiotic drugs may be needed to manage this condition. It is advisable to consult a specialist to discuss the pros and cons of surgical measures used in managing atrophic rhinitis.