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Nasal Ulcer

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Last updated March 15, 2021

Nasal ulcer quiz

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Nasal ulceration can be commonly caused by trauma or irritation from picking or blowing the nose to roughly, or foreign bodies inside the nose. Other causes of sores in the nose include chronic allergies, acne, or skin conditions like abscess or pimples.

9 causes of nasal ulcers

This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Skin abscess

A skin abscess is a large pocket of pus that has formed just beneath the skin. It is caused by bacteria getting under the skin, usually through a small cut or scratch, and beginning to multiply. The body fights the invasion with white blood cells, which kill some of the infected tissue but form pus within the cavity that remains.

Symptoms include a large, red, swollen, painful lump of pus anywhere on the body beneath the skin. There may be fever, chills, and body aches from the infection.

If not treated, there is the risk of an abscess enlarging, spreading, and causing serious illness.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination.

A small abscess may heal on its own, through the body's immune system. But some will need to be drained or lanced in a medical provider's office so that the pus can be cleaned out. Antibiotics are usually prescribed.

Keeping the skin clean, and using only clean clothes and towels, will help to make sure that the abscess does not recur.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: rash with bumps or blisters, red rash, red skin bump larger than 1/2 cm in diameter, pus-filled rash, rash

Symptoms that always occur with skin abscess: rash with bumps or blisters

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Relapsing polychondritis

Relapsing polychondritis is an episodic, inflammatory and destructive disorder involving primarily cartilage of the ear and nose. It can also potentially affect the eyes, tracheobronchial tree, heart valves, kidneys, joints, skin, and blood vessels.

You should visit your primary care physician for mild severity of relapsing polychondritis. Medications such as NSAIDs and steroids are generally prescribed.

Pimple

Pimples are also called comedones, spots, blemishes, or "zits." Medically, they are small skin eruptions filled with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria.

Pimples often first start appearing at puberty, when hormones increase the production of oil in the skin and sometimes clog the pores.

Most susceptible are teenagers from about ages 13 to 17.

Symptoms include blocked pores that may appear flat and black on the surface, because the oil darkens when exposed to the air; blocked pores that appear white on the surface because they have closed over with dead skin cells; or swollen, yellow-white, pus-filled blisters surrounded by reddened skin.

Outbreaks of pimples on the skin can interfere with quality of life, making the person self-conscious about their appearance and causing pain and discomfort in the skin. A medical provider can help to manage the condition, sometimes through referral to a dermatologist.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination.

Treatment involves improving diet; keeping the skin, hair, washcloths, and towels very clean; and using over-the-counter acne remedies.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: pink or red facial bump, small facial lump, painful facial bump, marble sized facial lump

Symptoms that always occur with pimple: pink or red facial bump

Urgency: Self-treatment

Head and neck cancer

There are five main types of head and neck cancer, which are all named according to the part of the body where they develop: laryngeal (voice box), nasal cavity and sinus, nasopharyngeal (air passage way behind the nose), oral (mouth), and salivary gland cancers. Most of these cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), meaning they begin in the flat (squamous) cells that make up the thin surface layer of the structures in the head and neck.

You should visit your primary care physician who will coordinate your care with a cancer specialist (oncologist) for further testing. It is impossible to definitively diagnosis head and neck cancers without lab testing and biopsy. Treatment is likely to include surgery and chemotherapy.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: loss of appetite, unintentional weight loss, hoarse voice, neck bump, ear canal pain

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis, or shortened GPA, was formerly known as Wegener's granulomatosis. It is caused by inflammation of the blood vessels by the body's immune system. The inflammation can happen anywhere, but often affects the sinuses, lungs, and kidneys.

You should visit your primary care physician soon to provide an early diagnosis. Treatment of inflammatory diseases commonly involve prescription medications such as a steroid to decrease inflammation, and a cell-damaging medicine to kill abnormal cells.

Chronic allergies

New-onset seasonal allergies, also called adult-onset seasonal allergies, are sensitivities to pollen, mold, and other irritants that cause nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, and sore throat.

Seasonal allergies commonly begin in childhood but can start at any age, especially among those with a family history. Moving to a different geographic location may trigger the allergy in someone with a genetic predisposition. Anyone with asthma is more likely to experience adult-onset seasonal allergies.

Sometimes the symptoms are actually from "pregnancy rhinitis" – nasal congestion and sneezing due to the effects of pregnancy hormones on the nasal tissue.

A new-onset allergy is often thought to be a cold, but a cold will clear up without treatment. Allergies persist, never getting better or worse, and can interfere with quality of life.

Diagnosis is made by an allergist, who will use skin tests and blood tests.

There is no cure for seasonal allergies but the symptoms can be managed for greater comfort and relief. Antihistamines, corticosteroid nasal sprays, and immunotherapy or "allergy shots" can be very effective.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fatigue, irritability, trouble sleeping, runny nose, congestion

Symptoms that never occur with chronic allergies: fever, yellow-green runny nose, chills, muscle aches

Urgency: Self-treatment

Blistering disease (pemphigus)

Pemphigus is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the immune system attacks healthy cells in the skin and mouth, causing blisters and sores. This is a rare disease, and doctors are not completely sure of the cause.

You should visit your primary care physician. Pemphigus is a disease of the immune system, and is treated with prescription medication like corticosteroids.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: nasal ulcer, skin peeling, hoarse voice, painful rash, red or pink, rough patch of skin

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Allergic contact dermatitis of the nose

Allergic contact dermatitis means the skin has touched something that provoked an allergic reaction, causing inflammation and irritation.

"Contact" means the allergic reaction came from touching something, not from consuming something. The first exposure to the substance sensitizes the immune system, and then the second exposure actually causes the symptoms.

The most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis are:

  • Nickel, a metal often used in belt buckles, the buttons on pants, and jewelry, including piercing jewelry.
  • Poison ivy.
  • Various types of perfumes, including those founds in soaps, fabric softeners, and detergents.
  • Of course, there are many more.

Symptoms include red, itching, scaling, flaking skin that may be painful due to the irritation and inflammation.

Diagnosis is made through first avoiding contact with any suspected substance, to see if the dermatitis clears. Patch testing can be done if the results are not certain.

Treatment involves fully avoiding the allergy-provoking substance and using topical steroid cream as prescribed. Cool compresses and calamine lotion can help to ease the discomfort.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: nose itch, nose redness, scabbed area of the nose

Symptoms that always occur with allergic contact dermatitis of the nose: nose redness

Urgency: Self-treatment

Acne rosacea

Rosacea is a long-term disease that affects the skin and sometimes the eyes. It causes redness and breakouts. Acne rosacea is the type of Rosacea that causes pimples. Rosacea is most common in women and people with fair skin. It most often affects middle-aged and older adults.

You should visit your primary care physician, who could help with a treatment plan (no diagnostic testing necessary). Treatment can't cure you, but helps the symptoms and includes brimonide gel, laser therapy, and even an antibiotic.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: facial redness, rough skin on the face, pink or red facial bump, nose redness, raised rash

Symptoms that always occur with acne rosacea: facial redness

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Wegener's granulomatosis

Wegener's granulomatosis, more recently re-named granulomatosis with polyangiitis, is a disorder in which a dysregulated immune system causes widespread inflammation of small blood vessels throughout the body. This results in slower or impaired blood flow to your nose, sinuses, throat, lungs, and kidneys.

Symptoms can be widespread and affect various parts of the body such as the eyes and ears or respiratory system, yet usually begin more generally with fever, fatigue, a loss of appetite, and weight loss. With treatment, a full recovery is possible; however, this condition can be fatal.

Treatments include immunosuppressive medications in order to control the disease in the short- and long-term.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, loss of appetite, joint pain, shortness of breath, fever

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Questions your doctor may ask about nasal ulcer

  • Have there been changes in your voice?
  • Have you lost your appetite recently?
  • Have you had any changes in your weight?
  • Is the skin on your face asymmetrical?

Self-diagnose with our free Buoy Assistant if you answer yes on any of these questions.

Nasal ulcer symptom checker statistics

People who have experienced nasal ulcer have also experienced:

  • 4% Nose Pain
  • 4% Bump In Or On The Nose
  • 4% Congestion

People who have experienced nasal ulcer were most often matched with:

  • 44% Blistering Disease (Pemphigus)
  • 44% Head And Neck Cancer
  • 11% Pimple

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant.

Hear what 1 other is saying
Have a bumpPosted December 17, 2020 by M.
Just getting over herpes complex 1 in my eyes. First in my left, then two weeks later and 10 times worse in my right eye. While all this was going on I also developed a red sore bump on the right end of my nose. Under the bump, inside my nose, it was sore, but then it's been sore for months. I have severe allergies, live in MI, and dealing with very dry conditions inside the house due to the heat being on. This makes for constant sores in my nose and sometimes blood when I blow my nose. I take prescription allergy pills and use Flonase that doesn't seem to help. At a loss. My nose is still sore inside and although my bump has gone down it's still there. Eyes are better, but because of dry eyes and my allergies my ophthalmologist has put me on steroid drops twice a day for a period of 3 weeks until I see her again

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