What are Inferior Turbinates?

The inferior turbinates are the hot dog look-alike structures that sit on the floor of the side wall of the nose. It is the lining of the inferior turbinates that swell and shrink throughout the day causing us to be stuffy on one side, sometimes both. Within the lining of the inferior turbinates are numerous mucinous glands which make… you guessed it… mucus!


Our nose makes a normal amount of mucus that we really don’t even notice. This is swept backwards, and we swallow it. However, sometimes the mucinous glands go into overdrive and make too much mucus which overwhelms our nose. This is when it starts driTpping out the front and/or we start having to swallow or spit out the excessive mucus draining backwards into our throat.

Inflammation in our body causes swelling and drainage of tissues, and this includes the mucinous glands of the inferior turbinates. The most common causes for inflammation within the nose are allergy and viral upper respiratory tract infections (colds). As we mature, a condition called Vasomotor Rhinitis may develop in which the nose drains excessively, especially during meals. We know what is happening with this situation, but we don’t know why.
Less common causes

Less common causes of excessive nasal drainage, called rhinorrhea, are situations where mechanical blockage prevents the proper flow of mucus. Examples of this situation are a severe deviated septum, nasal polyps, and nasal tumors

The more common causes of rhinorrhea (allergy, colds, vasomotor rhinitis) are usually treated successfully with allergy medications in the form of tablets and/or sprays. If you do suffer from excessive rhinorrhea, and the over-the-counter remedies are not resolving your symptoms, it’s best that you get your nose examined to make sure there’s nothing odd going on!
Call us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Weiss at 770-971-1533!