Chris Martin’s Empty Nose Syndrome Book
Chris Martin’s book, Having Nasal Surgery? Don’t You Become an Empty Nose Victim! Is the best resource out there for ENS sufferers. The author, an ENS patient himself, discusses the function and physiology of turbinates, and describes the experience of Empty Nose Syndrome:
“A perplexing symptom of ENS is the sensation of shortness of air or as though one cannot breathe adequately despite the nasal cavity being wide open, a phenomenon called paradoxical obstruction. Other symptoms include a chronically dry nose, difficulty concentrating, shallow sleep, frequent headaches, increased pulmonary reactivity to volatile compounds or airborne irritants, a diminished sense of smell, thick, sticky mucus, occasional crusting (dried mucus), occasional nosebleeds, sometimes recurrent sinus infections, and fatigue, all of which might lead to anxiety and depression.”
Chris Martin talks about the difficulty ENS patients have in finding doctors who understand our suffering:
“Compare ENS with the following breathing disorders:
- A chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) sufferer cannot get enough oxygen because of damage to his lungs. But at least with the oxygen tank he feels better.
- A severe asthmatic suffers from less air to his lungs during an attack, but prescription medication or environmental changes help him feel better and he can return to a regular life.
Now imagine a condition where for 24-7 he feels like he is not getting enough air and neither oxygen nor medication helps improve his breathing difficulties. Worse yet, the doctors ignore him because his nose is ‘wide open.’ That is ENS.”
He discusses the relationship between sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, asthma and ENS. He explains mucociliary clearance:
“Healthy ciliated cells beat at a rapid rate of 16 pulses per second and help move the mucus blanket along the mucous membrane to the throat, esophagus and stomach. Stomach acid kills the bacteria, viruses, molds or fungi, the mucus is broken up, and it is ultimately excreted.”
“When functioning properly, MCC happens without our notice. During times of mucosal inflammation, however, the mucous glands secrete even more mucus to fight off infections. The cilia slow down and mucus does not drain properly. For example, one study demonstrated nasal cilia of people with chronic sinusitis and postnasal drip beat at 6 pulses per second, which is much slower than the healthy cilia rate. * Consequently, stagnant mucus remains, bacteria multiply, and infection takes hold. Ultimately, longterm decreased mucociliary flow can make someone at increased risk for sinusitis and even lower respiratory problems such as asthma.”
Chris shares his journey through Empty Nose Syndrome, acquired from a turbinectomy, his research, his search for treatment, and his hopeful perspective.
* Bleeker, J.D., & Hoeksema, P.E. (1971). A simple method of measure the ciliary beat rate of respiratory epithelium. ActaOto-Layrgologica, 71, 426-429.