Nose - Structure, Functions, Disorders, Precautions
Know your Body

Delving into the nosey facts

Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi profile Authored by Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi on 13 Feb 2014 - 13:57.

It's strange that something we can't live without, is barely thought of. We wake up smelling the fresh cool breeze, enjoy the flavors, fragrances and the beauty it adds to our face, yet we hardly appreciate its value. That’s the Nose!

Let’s find out more about this important organ and study its anatomy here.

Nose structure: The external portion of the nose that is visible on the face is much smaller than the internal portion, which lies above the roof of the mouth. The external openings in the nose at its lower most end are called the nostrils that measure around 1 to 1.5 cm. They continue inside and go upwards to end as the posterior nares and open up at the breathing tree to communicate from and to the lungs.

The interior of the nose is divided into two equal hollows by means of a partition called the nasal septum, which is formed by a membrane at the upper end and a cartilage at the lower end. Four pairs of sinuses drain into the nose. Mucous membrane similar to cilia lines the nose which contains cells meant for carrying the smelling that connects the nerve called Olfactory nerves, the pair of first cranial nerves to the brain.

Functions: The nose is a passageway for the air moving to and from the lungs. The nose filters the air and ensures that no foreign bodies are allowed to pass through it. It acts like a watchman and expels anything trying its entry into the nose by sneezing, preventing anything that might irritate the lining of the breathing tract. It religiously checks for warmth and moisture and. The nose is primarily an organ for smell but also contributes immensely to the act of speaking.

Nose disorders: Loss of smell, decreased power of smell and inability to smell anything are problems resulting from damaged olfactory nerve. Other problems are related to the parts of the nose affected. In some cases, extreme nose blocks can cause breathing problems, forcing the person to breathe through the mouth.

Common cold is the commonest problem where the nose is highly congested. Other problems are related to the parts of the nose, which are affected. Problems related to the septum are deviated nasal septum to either side making breathing very difficult from the affected side. Sinusitis, polyps and perforation of the septum are other problems encountered.

Nose bleeding is a common problem resulting from the rupture of vessels at the base of the nostrils called Circle of Willis, if scratched with a finger. Injuries to the nose and foreign bodies are the most common problems in children. Bleeding from nose if continuous may mean gross injury to the base of the skull. Congenital defects like micro or macro nose, clefts, tumors and deformities are some of the problems commonly encountered.


  • Avoid scratching of nose with fingers.

  • Blow the nose regularly to clean the pathway clear.

  • Never use any obnoxious materials like snuff.

  • Avoid being nearer to areas where there is smoke or else it may cause suffocation.

  • Follow the doctor’s advice when you have acute or acute-on-chronic sinusitis to avoid involvement of the lungs and occurrence of bronchial asthma.

  • Always keep the nose clean. Use nose drops only when it is a must. If possible practice hydrotherapy on the nose.

  • To stop bleeding nose, use an ice cube by applying over the nostril. If it doesn’t stop, consult a doctor at once, to rule out any blood disorders.

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.