‘Foul-smelling’ in girl’s nose had been growing for a decade

Doctors remove a ‘foul-smelling’ nasal stone from 15-year-old girl’s nose that had been slowly growing for around a decade

  • Medically a rhinolith, it grows when mucus builds on an object stuck in the nose 
  • The teenager’s was caused by a piece of rubber that got stuck as a child
  • She was unaware of the stone, but had experienced discharge and bleeding 

A teenage girl had a ‘foul-smelling’ nasal stone removed from inside her nose that had been slowly growing for a decade.

Doctors revealed the girl, who has not been named, had been suffering from nasal discharge and bleeding for many years.

After X-rays and CT scans, it was eventually discovered that there was a strange webbed shape within her sinuses.

Inside her nose doctors found what is medically called a rhinolith, which slowly develops when deposits build up over a foreign object.

In the 15-year-old’s case, a piece of mucus-covered rubber around 2cm-long was retrieved.

It had most likely got stuck in her nose as a child, the doctors in the United Arab Emirates said. However, the girl didn’t have any recollection of putting it there. 

A 15-year-old girl had a ‘foul-smelling’ nasal stone that had been slowly growing for over a decade caused by a small piece of rubber (left)

The rhinolith had to be removed with surgery by doctors from United Arab Emirates

Rhinoliths are rare, accounting for one in 10,000 patients who are treated at an ear, nose and throat unit, figures suggest.

The strange growth can often go misdiagnosed, the doctors, led by Dr Mohiyuddin Ali at Ain Alkhaleej Hospital, said in BMJ Case Reports.

The girl had no other symptoms of a rhinolith, such as headaches, but had been given antibiotics many times.

CT scans showed ‘clearly quite a large, irregularly shaped object with lots of spicules and wings’, which the doctors described as a ‘staghorn’.

The next step was to remove the stone, which was large enough to require general anaesthetic. 

Doctors first did X-rays (left), before finding the ‘large irregularly shaped object with lots of spicules and wings’ in CT scans (right)

Unsurprisingly, the girl felt better immediately after the surgery, and within three weeks, after using antibiotics and saline spray, she had no symptoms at all.

A rhinolith is ‘not a foreign body per se as it is not introduced from outside but it develops inside the nasal cavity,’ the authors wrote.

It can be caused by an object, such as fruit seeds, plant material, beads, cotton wool or a bit of paper, or an external object, such as bone fragment.

Deposits of calcium and magnesium salts, as well as nasal mucus, cover the piece of material over many years.


A 59-year-old man had a tooth growing in his nostril because of a rare condition which left him with a blocked nose for two years. 

The strange growth, called an intranasal retained tooth, can be caused by physical damage or development problems but doctors couldn’t explain this case. 

After doing scans and investigations to try and work out what the growth was, doctors removed it during surgery and discovered it was an entire tooth.

 Growing a tooth in the nostril is rare and thought to affect somewhere between 0.1 per cent and one per cent of the population but can go unnoticed.

The man, who saw doctors at the Ear, Nose and Throat unit at University Hospital Aarhus, had been suffering from a blocked nose and loss of sense of smell over the past couple of years. 

He had also had a regular milky discharge, particularly coming from the left nostril. 

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