HomeENTForeign Body In Nose – Diagnosis And Treatment

Foreign Body In Nose – Diagnosis And Treatment

A foreign body in the nose is sometimes seen in children and rarely in adults . It may cause problems, especially if it is a sharp object, hence it is better to get medical attention promptly.

Causes of foreign body in nose

  • Curious children may stuff peanuts, buttons or other small objects up their nose or they may copy other children in the school doing it.
  • A bullet or stone may enter the nose.
  • A person suffering from schizophrenia may try to insert a small object into one of the nostrils.
  • When a person vomits, a food particle like a pea may enter the nose from the opening at the back.
  • Sometimes, during surgery of the nose, a cotton swab may be accidentally left inside the nose.

Symptoms and signs

  • Pain will be a symptom if the object is slightly big in size, there may be bleeding.
  • There will be swelling of the affected nostril and it will be tender to touch.
  • There may be nasal discharge, if infection is present, pus may be seen and a foul smell may accompany it.
  • The patient may breathe through the mouth if both nostrils are obstructed.
  • Sometimes, a concretion called rhinolith forms around a foreign body. It may be one or more than one and could be soft or hard. It is made of calcium and magnesium salts and can be seen on an X- ray.

Diagnosis of foreign body in nose

If the child is crying or very young, he/she may be unable to communicate to an adult that something is stuck in his nose. In such cases, it is better to first calm the child and then ask him or an older child who was nearby to say what happened. If the child just points to his nose and appears to be in pain, it is best to get him examined by an E.N.T surgeon.

If the patient is an adult, a full history and examination should be done. An anterior rhinoscopy can be done by a doctor to visualize the object.

An X-ray of the nose can be taken in chronic cases.


  • If the object is partially in the nostril, try to grasp it with fingers or tweezers and guide it out. Do not push it further inside the nostril.
  • If the object is in one nostril, gently close the unaffected nostril and try to breathe out this may dislodge the foreign body.
  • If it is a long standing case, the object may not be visible if there is discharge or tissue growth over it. This must be removed so that the object can be identified and removed.
  • If there is moderate pain even after removing the object, it is better to seek medical attention as there may be more than one object inside the nostril. If there is bleeding after removal of object, firm pressure should be applied with fingers and both nostrils kept shut and the person is asked to breathe through his mouth for ten minutes.

A rhinolith must be removed in the operation theatre under general anaesthesia.

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