'As If Lungs Aren't Big Enough To Fit A Breath': Texas Mom Suffers From Empty Nose Syndrome

Date April 4, 2018 17:10

Heather Schwan had always had some health problems with her nose. With the change of seasons, she had struggled with sniffling, itchy eyes, and runny nose. So, she took decongestants on a daily basis.


But not long ago, the woman decided to put an end to her breathing problems and scheduled an appointment with an otolaryngologist. What he suggested was a three-pronged approach, including a balloon sinuplasty, a turbinate reduction, and a septoplasty.

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But after the surgery, Heather realized something was wrong. She could no longer sleep because she was constantly feeling as if she was suffocating. She turned to doctors who told her that her nose looked perfectly fine.

Then, the woman rushed to the Internet and found out that she had Empty Nose Syndrome (ENS). The condition is extremely rare and is caused by medical treatment that results in damage to the turbinates. This is how Heather describes her symptoms:

It’s like you are trying to take a breath of air but your lungs aren’t big enough.

Unfortunately, the woman had to leave her job. She has an 8-year-old son with her husband, and the two were expected to adopt a little girl. After moments of doubt of whether she could take this responsibility given her condition, Heather picked up daughter Maya. And she doesn’t regret it.

What can be done?

The condition is not formerly recognized by the medical community. Most surgeries end up to be successful, with ENS developing in 1 in 1,000 turbinate operations. Fortunately, there are advanced therapies that can help ENS patients.


They can get injections that stimulate nerve growth and fillers that help alter the nasal cavity contours.

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