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Headache, plugged ears, runny nose. Sinus is clear. Worried about brain tumor. Reason to panic?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 2349 Questions
I was just in to see an ENT today for what I thought was a continuting sinus infection. Turns out my sinuses are prefectly clear. I'm having problems with headaches and my ears having the plugged up feeling. Still have a runny nose from what I thought was the sinus infection (I did have a slight cold recently).

I'm panicking because I've been looking on the internet and I'm worried I have a brain tumor! I know this is not a lot of information, but do I have a reason to panic?
Posted Sun, 15 Apr 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 1 hour later

Thanks for the query

Running nose could be due to various reasons including sinusitis. Relax! It is very unlikely that you could be having a brain tumor.

Running nose or stuffy nose could be commonly due to either Allergic Rhinitis or Vasomotor rhinitis.

Allergic rhinitis also known as Hay fever is one of the common conditions of the nose wherein there are symptoms of watery discharge from the nose and eyes, with or without sneezing which is noticed on exposure to certain allergens such as dust, smoke, pollen, etc.

Vasomotor rhinitis is a non-allergic condition that involves a constant runny nose, sneezing, and nasal congestion. It is neither caused due to infection nor allergy. And, the cause is unknown.

The sinus infection can be secondary to either of the above conditions where in, the sinus ostia get blocked due to the presence of the edematous mucosa in the opening of the sinus. The blockage of the sinus opening leads to accumulation of the secretions in the sinus cavities, leading to headache and infection. As your CT scan does not show any features of sinusitis, the probable cause could be either allergic rhinitis or vasomotor rhinitis.

The plugging of the ears is due to blockage of the Eustachian tube (the tube connecting the nose and the ear) which is again, secondary to the above conditions.

For both the above conditions the treatment remains the same, steroid nasal spray, antihistaminic, oral or topical decongestant with or without oral steroids.

Also, drink plenty of warm water, to keep yourself hydrated adequately and do steam inhalation for relieving the blocked Eustachian tube.

Hope I have answered your query; I will be available for the follow-up queries.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
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